Follow the bouncing ball. Four teams-- and millions of fans-- did just that around 6:10 pm on Sunday. Indiana, Ohio State, Michigan State, and Michigan had their 2013 Big Ten fates determined by a bouncing ball. The ball was round and brown, and it hung on the rim-- put there by a rebound tip by Michigan's Jordan Morgan.
Let's quickly recap how we got to this point. In what may have been the best Big Ten title chase in a long time-- with some of the best teams and college brand names in the nation-- these four teams took turns beating each other up. They also were beat down at times by teams below them-- like Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Purdue, and Iowa. Even Penn State-- 12th in the Big 10-- took out Michigan at home.
Even the last Big 10 game of the year-- the Indiana-Michigan game-- was a tense affair. Each team had a good lead, with the other coming back. Michigan was up six with under a minute left, only to see Indiana score seven straight. But it was that final tip that rolled out-- instead of in-- that gave Indiana its first outright Big 10 title in 20 years.
How brutal was that loss for Michigan? If the ball rollis in, four teams tie for the title, and Michigan is a 3 seed in the Big 10 tournament. Instead, Michgan-- Number 7 in the nation-- is a 5 seed in the tournament. Indiana was the Number 1 seed regardless, but they needed that victory to right the ship.
A basketball... balancing on the rim... the perfect symbol for one of the most balanced races in Big 10 history. The nation's best conference showed why on Sunday. as four teams' fates were sealed with four seconds to go, when the ball rimmed.... out-- and put Indiana in as Big 10 champions.
That's my take... I'm Tom Lee.