Last week was the second to last week of the conference season. This means that conference championships are being declared and other teams are fighting for their NCAA tournament hopes. Here is a review of the winners and losers of the week.
The Kansas Jayhawks locked up their 12th straight Big-12 championship last week. For a power five conference that is loaded with talent this is quite an accomplishment for Bill Self and his program. They have been able to continue this streak by recruiting top talent and maintaining a major home court advantage. We will have to wait until December to see another run of 9 teams try to end their Phog Allen woes and the Kansas Jayhawk streak.
While we are talking about conference championships. The Indiana Hoosiers locked up a share of the Big-Ten conference title last week. They will have two chances to lock up the title outright this week against Iowa and Maryland. It is Tom Crean’s second regular season title in the past four years. This is extremely impressive for Tom Crean and his staff who were under strict scrutiny following their horrible showing in Maui and Cameron Indoor. Hats off to Tom Crean for pulling his team together even through the injury to James Blackmon Jr.
I cannot talk about conference champions without mentioning the Iowa Hawkeye’s fall from grace. Fran McCaffery and his Hawkeyes have lost 4 out of their last 5 games and are one more loss away from losing a share of the Big-Ten title. They seemed to have the title locked up until they dropped a game against Penn State. This has been a sudden fall from the top for the Hawkeyes who cannot seem to get a win when they need it most. Iowa’s resume is still impressive but as the losses keep racking up they will lose the faith of their supporters. Unless they turn it around soon they will be a trendy pick for an early exit in the tournament.
It seems like every week I end up with Grayson in my losers section because of his antics. He tripped another opposing player last week against Florida State. The sad thing is that the referee did not see it and Allen got away with it. After falling under a ton of hatred, the ACC and Duke have decided not to suspend Grayson and his punishment instead was receiving a strongly worded letter. This is inexcusable and the backlash that Allen has received is definitely valid. Stop putting other players in harms way Grayson. If someone did that to you or a teammate you’d be ready to throw fists. Show some class.