2021 BTT VII: Mailbag Two
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I have about 45 minutes before our game starts. I'm back upstairs today - not turtle-y enough for the turtle club on the floor - so there's not much to report on environment-wise. I'm making jokes about my seats in the football pressbox, so I should probably clarify that I'm thrilled to be in the building and happy to write from up here. After watching games from up here all day Thursday and Friday morning, I'm used to it.
I even learned out to see if a shot is good by watching for how the ball drops directly to the floor (I can't see the net on the near basket). I wish I could report on the crowd interactions, but my press pass restricts me to stay in this exact spot (Covid), so I'm going to stay in this exact spot.
Until the game starts, though, three more mailbag questions.
Thirty man over the top rope battle royal between the 89, 04-05, and 20-21 teams...head coaches included, who wins?— Austin (@ajabs85) March 12, 2021
My brain first goes to "OK but could anyone guard Nick Anderson?" and then I realize that we're wrestling. We're not playing basketball.
Obviously, the first thought is Kofi. There's a 39% chance he goes the wrestling route after his professional basketball career is finished. Is Augie or Lowell Hamilton going to toss Kofi over the top rope? Zero chance.
Of course, this is wrestling, so while Kofi is taking photos with Ayo, Roger Powell is going to hit him from behind with a chair and then someone will use a forklift to lift Kofi over the top rope. So we have to consider that. (Actually, we don't have to consider that. The Rev would never hit anyone with a chair.)
Here's the direction I'm going to go with this question. In a Battle Royale, the winner between 89, 05, and 21 is... 2001.
Think about it. Arch (RIP) can toss Kofi. Sergio McClain and Marcus Griffin would be the greatest tag team partners in wrestling history. The... Peoria Posse (workshopping that). Lucas Johnson was a literal WWE wrestler playing college basketball.
So 2001 wins the Battle Royale. No question about it.
Will *the socks* be worn until the Illini’s last game?— Wildcat Farmer (@nwhitted86) March 12, 2021
I wore them yesterday. I'm wearing them today. But, I should tell you - this is the second test of the "do I have to wash them?" protocol.
We won the first nine games where I wore them in 2021. The ninth game was at Minnesota. Then I had my travel issues trying to fly back to Champaign and I just went straight from Minneapolis to East Lansing. I wore them at the Michigan State game unwashed and there you go - they weren't lucky. I didn't wear them at Wisconsin and we won so this proves the theory. Don't need the Obviously Lucky Socks to win.
But then I'm searching for something in my mentions and I see the guy's suggestion that not washing the socks was the issue. So I test it at Michigan. And that happens.
I didn't cover the Ohio State game, but we won without them. Then I wore the (washed) socks last night and we beat Rutgers. And now, today, what with the quick turnaround and no washing machine, I'm wearing them back-to-back days to test the unwashed theory. Lose and they absolutely must be washed, win and the washing theory was bunk.
(Or - and it pains me to admit this - or they were just a pair of socks.)
Favorite and least favorite Big Ten arena (other than SFC) you've been to/covered a game at— Michael Berns (@MichaelBerms) March 12, 2021
Favorite and least favorite are easy.
Least favorite is Bryce Jordan. I should note that the Penn State SID staff is #1 on my list and they even left me a Christmas present in my seat for the basketball game because I had covered the Penn State football game that Saturday, then went to Rutgers, then came back to Penn State for basketball three days later, driving home on Christmas Eve.
But Bryce Jordan is just so stale. It's an NBA arena without an NBA team. I don't know why it feels so stale. They hung a curtain in the upper deck this year to make it feel smaller (and I think that curtain has been used a lot when they don't sell many tickets), but something is missing. It's so symmetrical.
By contrast - and this isn't my favorite - Pinnacle Bank (Nebraska) is done so well for a modern arena. It's a horseshoe with an "open" end to the north with a big indoor plaza area that feels like the atrium of a skyscraper. Just a cool environment for a modern arena.
As for my favorite, I think I might say Crisler (Michigan)? Just feels like they did that renovation right. Blend the new with the old. Feels like a Big Ten arena (because it has been for a long time), but also with modern amenities.
And yes, maybe the win there this year had a little to do with that.