Did Tom Izzo cost his team its Big Ten opener Tuesday night? SB Nation makes the case in three parts. The first error -- calling a timeout that halted a potentially game-sealing fast break, and ended up with Matt Costello on the line in the final moments of regulation -- is genuinely glaring. The second (calling a timeout to set up his defense, giving the timeout-less Terps a chance to plan on offense) is less so, especially given how well-defended the Terps' last possession was. And the third -- not fouling Dez Wells when ahead by three just before Wells hit the game-tying shot with five seconds to play -- was probably the right call. Sure, Wells is shooting 53 percent from 3 this season, but that's on just 13 attempts; he has never been a prolific long-range shooter. The shot was awkward and tightly guarded and at the end of an absolutely horrific shooting night for the Terps (who finished 2-of-19 from 3-point range). It went in, which makes the result seem questionable in retrospect. But save the first timeout, Izzo can probably live with the process that preceded it. After the game, the coach said he was "open for a lot of criticism," but that he almost never fouled when up three in his career. "They went 2-for-19 from the 3, so I went with my odds," Izzo said. "If I'm criticized for that, that'd be fine."
Just under the wire, Gary Parrish submits a Rocky Analogy of The Year Award nominee from Virginia coach Tony Bennett: "OK," Bennett said. "So Apollo trains Rocky in that movie, and he keeps telling Rocky that he wants a favor at the end. So they end up in this little gym at the end, and Apollo wants a rematch because he couldn't live with [the loss to Rocky at the end of the previous film]. And then Apollo says to Rocky, 'You fight great ... but I'm a great fighter.' And it's a little like that for us. We don't look at ourselves as this great team. We look at ourselves as a team that, when things are right, we can play at an excellent level."
Wichita State opens its Missouri Valley season at Drake on Wednesday night, but the Shockers had a minor issue en route to Des Moines. On Tuesday evening, WSU's plane was forced to make an emergency landing after a minor sensor malfunction with its landing gear, according to KWCH. Shortly after takeoff, the pilots noticed the issue, rerouted back to Wichita's Mid-Continent Airport, and landed the plane safely with no injuries to anyone on board. Phew.
"My belief is that Kentucky's coach has planned, through recruitment and coaching tactics, to build a program that smothers and bullies opponents rather than play basketball the way it should be played. Inevitably, this corruption of college basketball will doom the sport at the college level. No team wants to play that kind of program. I don't understand how Kentucky's players tolerate the loss of athletic play in their present up-and-down routine where true competition is never achieved. The NCAA should reject this corrupted play before other schools reject submitting their programs to participate." That's University of Louisville emeritus professor Michael Cassaro, in a hilarious letter to the editor published by the Louisville Courier-Journal this week. He's wrong, of course -- not about the game itself, because it really was an aesthetic abomination -- but about the underlying causes. You don't need me to explain why. [Louisville's defense is just as smothering, if not more so; Louisville's offense had its share of open shots and made exactly none of them, etc.] This link is here only here because it reminded your author of his own comically overwrought college professors. Ah, memories.
If you think Wisconsin's inherent likability comes down to just Frank Kaminsky, think again. Just as they were last season, the Badgers are pretty chill from top to bottom. Today, ESPN.com's Myron Medcalf goes deep on star junior wing Sam Dekker, future first-round pick and local Sheboygan, Wisconsin, hero.