… Then Big 10 basketball is for you. Ugh, watching last night's Penn State-Illinois game in Champaign was one of the most painful things ever.
If you didn't watch the game—and I'm sure the majority of self-respecting human beings didn't—be glad you're smarter than me. The first bucket of the game came 4 minutes and 3 seconds in. At halftime, the score was 17-15 Penn State. 17-15. In 20 minutes. Of a Division I college basketball game. Yeah, the teams averaged well under a point a minute for the entire half.
And the second half didn't get much better. In fact, it wasn't better at all. Penn State pulled off the upset by winning 38-33. That was the final score. True story. Read that again: 38-33. As a final. In 40 minutes of basketball. Played by young men who are going to school for free solely because of their supposed "basketball skill."
I'm honestly not lying, I played in more entertaining pickup games at the IM Building when I went to Penn State. Like the time this one guy was calling 3-point bank shots from the corner … and making them. This game was atrocious. I mean, it was so bad that at one point of a close game that had incredibly meaningful NCAA tournament implications for my alma mater, I switched to the Sixers-Nuggets game just to watch some players make baskets.
When I returned in the second half, there was 11 minutes left in the game and the score was 26-20 Illinois. 26-20 with 11 minutes left. That's fucking awful. Luckily for Penn State, freshman Chris Babb made some tremendous plays down the stretch, the masturbating madman finally made a bucket and came up with a huge block, Villanova transfer Andrew Ott had a strong game, and Talor Battle hit some shots and iced the game at the line.
But man, that was easily the worst basketball game I've ever watched. Including women's games, which are akin to Chinese water torture. Talor Battle finished as the high scorer FOR THE GAME with 11 points. No one else, for either team, finished with more than 7. The teams combined to shoot 28-96 from the field, 29 percent. Penn State was 13-46 (28 percent) and Illinois went 15-50 (30 percent). It was like watching Rashard Lewis in his last attempt during the 3-point contest.
The thing is, this 38-33 score isn't even that ridiculous for Big 10 basketball. I've watched portions of a few Big 10 games this year, and the scores are almost always in the 40s and 50s. And it's not because of good defense either. It's because these teams suck at offense, hit each other like they're playing football and really just cannot shoot. It's awful. And that's why I hate Big 10 basketball. Watching the Big 10 is like getting a root canal. Only worse.
Having said that, it was a huge win for Penn State. It improved them to 19-8 overall and moved them into fourth place in the conference at 8-6. The Lions have knocked off all three teams ahead of them (Michigan State, Purdue and Illinois) and the team right behind them (Minnesota), so a chance to dance is still there. But that doesn't mean you should watch. Because Big 10 basketball sucks worse than Duke. OK, maybe not worse than Duke, but you get the idea.