Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Dave, this conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye.

We've been at this blog thing now for about 7 and a half months, and looking back, I wonder if we would have started it had we known what we know now. Admittedly, there are a lot of great blogs we've come to know about because they found us. In our view, there was a vacuum left by the Retirement of the Wonk as the Wonk, but we soon came to realize how naive that view was. In reality, the glass was nearly full, but we could only see what was missing, not what was there.

Nonetheless, we pressed on, offering up numbers, predictions, rants, aerials, more numbers, more rants, and plenty of bad puns and movie references. We've defended the Big Ten, predicted its mediocrity, and puzzled over its pace. We've been right, we've been wrong, and we've been way wrong.

We've received a lot of email over the season, and we read every single one of them. We responded to most of them as well. Sometimes bloggers would ask us to link them, and our only criteria for this has been regular activity - we don't want to send readers to your post from 2006. Of course, sometimes we get emails from people asking us to link them, but they don't include the link in their email.

And as much fun as we have had with this thing, it's time to stop. At least for now. Barring something unforeseen, we'll be back this fall, though probably October this time. There's a lot of time between September 1 and the opening tip, and trying to come up with something interesting to say every day is difficult, to say the least. We previewed Purdue's exhibition game against the Florida Southern Moccasins, for goodness sake!

The great thing about college basketball is how things don't change. Hoosiers hate Boilermakers. Buckeyes hate Wolverines. Illini hate Hawkeyes. And so forth. We can always count on Tom Izzo to inject the conference with some much-needed offensive rebounding, for Bo Ryan to lean on his seniors, and for Bruce Weber's teams to play defense. The pace of the conference is plodding, and even an injection of one of the nation's foremost teachers in the full-court press cannot change that.

Of course, that story is not really true. Next year, there won't be a Marcus Landry, Craig Moore, or Jamelle Cornley. More generally, we've come to expect that Ohio State's center will leave for the NBA and for Iowa's point guard to transfer to the MVC (at least Indiana's coaching situation looks stable).

The same is true of sports blogs, it seems. Sooner or later, they all shut down. Sometimes it's a promotion to the big leagues, sometimes it's a transfer, and sometimes it's just a sudden death. The day is coming when this blog will become a Stonehenge for the digital age, with remnants of tempo-free basketball stats that will befuddle and confuse our future alien overlords. I don't know how the end will come, only that it will.

But I'm glad to say that day is not today. Perhaps the biggest reason for that is how many unanswered questions we still have about the college game. We will continue to nibble at those unanswered questions, trying to peel back the onion to find how the chaotic order operates. Moreover, we still have commentators talking about "rebounding margin" and measuring defense by points per game. We're a tiny part of the army that's trying to change that, trying to inject new lexicon into the analysis. That change won't happen overnight. There's a reason why the Establishment is the Establishment, after all. So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

Another reason for our return will be the fact that this blog never crosses the line from hobby to job (we are not above being paid for our hobbies, however). In order to keep it that way, Mike and I are going to take the summer off. I've lived in the Midwest for 10 years now, and I've come to realize that summers are sacred. I'll be catching some games at Wrigley Field, spending some time on the lakefront, and firing up the grill. Mike will be homebrewing, bicycling, and, most importantly, tending to his loving wife as they anticipate their first child. But as July begins to wind down, we will be back to the spreadsheets, trying to come up with new ways to make sense of Dr. Naismith's game. Those thoughts will be unleashed in October, and I hope you'll join us then.

Thanks for reading, and have a great summer.

5 comments:

phdballer said...

Thanks for the great reads during the season! It was a better than expected season for the Big 10 and here's hoping the return of many key players across most teams pushes the conference to a better season next year. I'm looking forward to the return of your writing in the fall.
Go Illini!

Mike Doel said...

As a regular reader, let me say thanks for your efforts this year. It's been great reading

derm said...

Thanks guys! Its the offseason, you dont have to apologize. Time for individual workouts, eating whatever you want and realizing that right now everybody is tied for first. Enjoy the summer and Go Bucks!

Anonymous said...

i really hope you return. i visit this blog each day.

SK said...

To echo others here - great job, guys. Thanks for the entertaining read... I'm looking forward to another year of the Big Ten Geeks(and hopefully another Final Four for my Spartans).