Coaches in every sport and every level love to take shots at the media and most of the time, it's probably justified.
Now it's time to turn the tables.
I have a number of problems with the Big Ten honors that came out Monday, but before we get to that, can someone please explain to me how the Badgers killed a bad Iowa team at home Wednesday and then dominated a desperate Illinois team on the road Sunday and fell in the ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll?
Badger fans often criticize the media for disrespecting Bo Ryan's teams, but I'd love to talk to one of the coaches that dropped UW on their poll. Forget the results of the games, did Jon Leuer not do enough to convince you that Wisconsin is a much better team it was just a week before?
OK, on to the All-Big Ten Men's Basketball Team that was released Monday (for reference you might want to review my choices). In the words of Bud Light's ridiculously confusing new slogan, here we go:
How in the world was Evan Turner not a unanimous selection for Player of the Year by the coaches?
Please tell me one of the coaches was not playing favorites when they filled out their ballot. Shall we go over the stats?
Turner finished No. 1 in points per game, No. 1 in rebounding, No. 2 in assists, and No. 2 in steals. How can you be a more complete player?
At the least the media got it right, voting him the UNANIMOUS player of the year. It was the easiest award on the ballot and somehow at least one of the coaches messed it up.
How did Bo Ryan not win Big Ten Coach of the Year?
This one is on both the coaches and the media. And actually, I already know the answer to this question. It's because of the anti-Bo Ryan sentiment that is out there among both the media and other Big Ten coaches.
They can deny it all they want, but I've heard from many credible sources behind the scenes that there are specifically two coaches -- I'm sure you can guess who they are -- that don't really care for Ryan too much. When the mic is on, they praise him, but the truth is that they can't stand playing against Ryan and they certainly can't stand losing to him.
Among the media, it's no secret that there is a division among supporters and detractors. You're either with Bo, or you're against him . Most of the former coaches and players (especially on the Big Ten Network) praise Bo Ryan's system, but you can routinely hear beat writers across the conference bash Bo for his "boring" type of play.
God forbid a team plays defense, right?
Anyway, I'm not shocked that the coaches went with Matt Painter and the media went with Thad Matta. They are two very respectable coaches and stand up guys who had great seasons.
But when you consider that Wisconsin was picked to finish as low as eighth in the conference and ended up only one-game out of first place with Jon Leuer missing half of the Big Ten season, how does that go unrewarded?
Of the four major injuries suffered by Evan Turner, Jon Leuer, Kalin Lucas and Robbie Hummel, none impacted the Big Ten race more than Leuer's fractured wrist. Long term, Hummel's injury hurts the most, but when you consider the timing and length of the absences in the Big Ten race, Leuer's injury was the worst of them all.
All the Badgers did was go 6-3 without their best player and both the coaches and the media should be embarrassed for not rewarding Ryan for one of his best coaching jobs.
Is this a misprint? Why is Kalin Lucas on the First Team All-Big Ten and Talor Battle isn't?
Believe me, I understand that records and team performance should have a big impact on individual awards at the end of the season, but did I miss something here? Last time I checked, Michigan State hasn't really lived up to expectations this season.
Talor Battle put a bad team on his back and even though Penn State finished in last place, the Nittany Lions were in almost every single game because of their star point guard. The junior was second in the league in scoring and third in the league in assists. I'm still trying to figure out how he averaged 4.2 assists per game when he had no one to pass the ball to.
Meanwhile, Lucas finished tied for eleventh in scoring and seventh in assists. He was no where near as good as he was last season when he was named Big Ten Player of the Year.
Let's put it this way: Is Talor Battle one of the top five players in the conference? If you can honestly tell me no and give me a good reason, then I will listen. But good luck with that.
How does a guy finish first in steals and third in blocks and not get named to the All-Defensive Team? Seriously?
OK coaches, you're back on the hot seat here because the media does not pick a defensive team.
Minnesota's Damian Johnson finished first in the conference in steals and third in blocks and he wasn't even put on the All-Defensive Team. Now, I named him my defensive player of the year, and it's very possible I overvalued the statistics in doing so, but HE LED THE CONFERENCE IN STEALS! How does he not at least get on the defensive roster?????
Is Demetri McCamey really a First Team All-Big Ten performer?
I'll be honest, I had him on my first team -- until Sunday. He led the conference in assists and was ninth in the conference in scoring, but Sunday he proved that he is not a good team leader and not one of the five best players in the conference.
Any guy who quits on his team and at least looks like they aren't listening to their coach, isn't on my first-team anything -- except for first-team cry babies.
After Illinois' loss to Wisconsin Sunday, I bumped Northwestern's Jon Shurna up to my first team in place of McCamey.
OK, I need to get on myself for the last one. Adam, how did you not give Trevon Hughes more credit for the season he had?
Yeah, I'll take the heat. I had nightmares last night where Dan Dakich was constantly yelling at me for disrespecting Hughes in my All-Big Ten selections.
Maybe I didn't want to come off as a homer, but I only had Hughes as a third-team selection. I'm still not convinced that he is a first-teamer, but I probably should have put him on my second-team instead of Manny Harris. Heck, I'd take Hughes any day over McCamey, which is why I'm really struggling with why I slighted Pop so much.
The assists aren't quite up to McCamey's level, but Hughes averaged more points per game and he is certainly a better defender, which brings me to what I'm really upset at myself for:
How did I leave Hughes off my All-Defensive Team?
This is almost as bad as Damian Johnson not making the actual All-Defensive Team. Dakich thinks Hughes is the best defender in the league. I'll say he is definitely one of the top five.
So who should I take off the team? I'm going to do it. I am. Bye, bye... Chris Kramer. He won the Defensive Player of the Year award based on reputation, not on actual performance.
Jordan Taylor made Kramer look like one of the worst defenders in the league in Madison Jan. 9 and it wasn't the only time Kramer had a bad game defensively.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: While he is a good defender, Kramer is not a shutdown defender and I think that was exposed this season.