Color me stupid. In my NCAA pool, I had Wisconsin and Purdue in the Final Four. With North Carolina and Memphis. Holy Stephen Curry. After seeing them perform -- or is misperform the proper word? -- I have to wonder what it will take for the Big Ten to become competitive again.
At least I wasn't dumb enough to pick Michigan State over Memphis.
Against Davidson, Big Ten champion Wisconsin looked like a team that was struggling to learn how to play the game and Davidson was doing the teaching. Michigan State looked even worse.
Big Ten basketball teams, like their football brethren, are a step or two slower than their rivals. Unless you're competing against the Mid-American Conference. They look like they're still playing in the 1950s and 1960s, like they are running in concrete.
That's not all. They don't jump as high, they aren't as aggressive, they aren't as athletic and they seem to lack skills that their opponents take for granted.
Who's doing the recruiting around here? Who is evaluating the talent? Why do the SEC, the Big 12, the ACC, the Pac-10 and the Big East get all the good players? What happened to the Big Ten?
One Chicago sports columnist recently wrote that North Carolina's Tyler Hansbrough is vastly overrated. What game is he watching? Would you trade Hansbrough for Brian Butch?
When was the last time the Big Ten produced a truly great player? Magic Johnson? That was almost 30 years ago, wasn't it? Now the Big Ten builds its own television network to promote its product and this is what we get?
Is it because, as often has been hinted, that high standards at Big Ten schools weed out many outstanding prospects who don't qualify but are accepted at schools in the SEC and Big 12?
But the recent academic scandal at Minnesota and the revelations about preferential treatment being given to athletes at Michigan make you wonder if that's all a myth, just an excuse for failure to recruit as well as Kansas or Duke or North Carolina or UCLA or Georgetown.
When it comes down to it, only one Big Ten basketball coach, Michigan State's Tom Izzo, has a national reputation as a big-time recruiter. He earned it as an assistant to Jud Heathcote and hasn't lost his touch. Or has he?
After Memphis, even Izzo has to be wondering which direction the Big Ten is going. Or where it's gone.