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Mad IRL: Leave the Cornhuskers at home

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A team like Nebraska making the NCAA Tournament would be stupid beyond measure.

NCAA Basketball: Rutgers at Nebraska Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Nebraska beat Maryland in Lincoln Tuesday evening, the 20th win for Tim Miles’ Cornushkers this season. It’s been nothing short of a miracle year for Nebraska, as they have somehow found themselves in fourth place of the Big Ten Conference. Miles, who could well have found himself out of a job if this season went south, will be among the favorites for Big Ten Coach of the Year.

Good for Tim, and good for Nebraska.

Also, if they make the NCAA Tournament, I will rifle a decorative urn through my television.

The thing about the Big Ten is that it is a giant pile of rotting refuse that should be packaged on one of Elon Musk’s toy rockets and shot into low earth orbit.

It is home to the most radioactive forms of basketball in the country outside of Charlottesville. Two of the 10 slowest offenses in the country and three of the slowest 30 (Northwestern, Michigan, and Wisconsin) ply their trade in the Big Ten. Rutgers plays in the conference too. They have the second worst effective field goal percentage in the entire country. They’re not last in the conference (hello, Illinois).

There’s also the sieve that is Iowa’s defense and the disgusting program in Minneapolis that has quit on its season.

The average Big Ten game has a halftime score of about 27-21 with about 24 combined fouls and 13 turnovers. I could give a crap whether or not those numbers are accurate, because it feels right, and no one who has watched more than three Big Ten games and has an undamaged brain would defend this stupid conference’s honor.

No one in the Big Ten is any good, even Purdue, who will lose early in the NCAA Tournament to some athletic 8 seed. The Big Ten is currently the fifth-toughest conference in America by KenPom, and is only avoiding falling into sixth thanks largely to the dumpster fire that is the bottom of the PAC 12. This season will be the first time since 2007 that the Big Ten finishes behind the SEC.

And yet, we find ourselves inching closer and closer to a world in which five Big Ten teams will make the NCAA Tournament.

What a joke.

The good news is that the Huskers aren’t on the right side of the bubble yet. BracketMatrix.com puts them as one of the next four out, Joe Lunardi has them as one of the first four out. They’re close enough, though, that if they hold serve and win their remaining three regular season games, they’re going to be right on the line. Make the weekend of the Big Ten Tournament, and they’ll probably be in.

That would suck.

There is no less interesting brand of basketball team than the “middling power conference team.” They don’t move the needle, they almost certainly wouldn’t be a threat to make any kind of run, and they’re not fun.

Let’s play a thought experiment where New Mexico State loses to Utah Valley, a very competent team, in the WAC Tournament. That could absolutely happen. New Mexico State would be out of the tournament. Those two five-point losses against San Diego State and USC would be their death knell and we would be deprived of seeing an extremely good and fun team.

What if Nevada stumbled into the gate? Or if Boise State was left on the outside? Successful mid-major teams getting passed over by a team in a major conference whose best win away from Lincoln is against a Northwestern team that scored less than 60 points against Rutgers in 45 minutes? Not fun. Not good. It shouldn’t be allowed to happen.

Shoot, Vermont hasn’t lost a game since December and is still waiting for its best player to come back from injury. I won’t pretend the Catamounts’ resume, which includes losses to Bucknell and Northeastern, is better than Nebraska’s, but they’re way more interesting and good and fun, and if they lose to Albany in the conference tournament, you can bet I’ll be super disappointed.

For the love of all that is holy, do not let these trash teams given cushy conference schedules in bad power conferences into the tournament. I am begging you. Just leave the Cornhuskers at home.