Last Monday, Kaitlyn Clarke continued her stellar season with a triple-double of 28 points, 15 assists and 10 rebounds, a player as close to a notable talent as college basketball. Clarke’s heroics gave the Buckeyes their first loss of the season and sent the No. 10 Iowa through No. 2 Ohio State.
Later that night, ESPN’s SportsCenter aptly kicked off the show with game highlights and Clarke, who reigns as Big 10 Player of the Year.
The seemingly harmless decision irritated sports media personality Jason Whitlock. Whitlock seemed shaken to see women’s basketball highlights kick off the show, expressing his thoughts: Tweet 1:15 am.
“Who’s paying for this?” Whitlock asked. “What percentage of sports fans will this help?”
It’s not worth spending time unraveling Whitlock’s blatant misogyny. But this incident could be a touchstone for how we view women’s college basketball in general.
Whitlock’s tweet coincided with the best week of Big Ten women’s basketball in recent memory, highlighting four top 15 matchups. So, like Whitlock, if you’re avoiding sports and meetings, you’re simply missing an opportunity.
Take this past week as a case study. Monday started with the Big Ten making history in his latest AP poll. No. 2 Ohio State, No. 6 Indiana, and jointly No. 2 his four conference teams. No. 10 Iowa and Maryland — Earned the Top 10 ranking. This is the first time in the 47-year history of the survey that the Big Ten has ranked four teams in the top 10.
This small moment in history kicked off an important week for the conference. Monday night featured not only a very entertaining match between Iowa State and Ohio State, but also a Top 15 matchup between Indiana State and his No. 13 Michigan State in Ann Arbor. The Hoosiers held off the Wolverines to secure the program’s best-ever start, 18-1.
After 3 days it felt like déjà vu. The conference featured a doubleheader with the top 15 pairs going 1-2 against him. First, Maryland defeated Michigan at College Park. After that, Indiana outlasted the Buckeyes in the shaking Congress Hall.
This kind of high-level talent is second only to Michigan coach Kim Barnes-Ariko.
Burns Ariko said Thursday, “The same can be said for me when I left after the Indiana game, and tonight.
It hasn’t been a great week for Michigan — Barnes-Ariko’s team lost two games and was looking for a golden opportunity to consolidate its place in the upper echelon of the conference. Despite the loss, Barnes Arico knows that playing in perhaps the best conference in college basketball will pay off in the long run.
“It was a great environment to play in,” Barnes Ariko said after the Michigan-Iowa contest. “And I’m disappointed that we didn’t take full advantage of our home court. But it’s a great basketball game for everyone out there.”
With 9 teams in the top 50 in the latest NET rankings, the Big Ten is the ultimate basketball experience.
And people are watching.
The Indiana vs. Ohio State game drew a raucous crowd of 10,455. It is the largest Indiana women’s basketball game in history. Ohio State sold out Value City Arena for their showdown with the Hawkeyes, but only 9,368 fans sold out, as the 300 level section is only open to men’s games. Perhaps it’s time to change that.
Michigan has for honor.
The Chrisler Center used to close off the upper floors for women’s basketball games and place large curtains to hide the sections. But big games change things and give strong results. In early January, back-to-back home games against Iowa State and Michigan State drew her 10,731 fans and her 10,534 fans, respectively.
Additionally, of the 25 games with the highest TV ratings this season, 44% involved Big Ten teams.
Luckily, you can afford to mulligan a bit if you haven’t started paying attention yet. Last week was the halfway point of conference play. That is, the stellar state is not over yet.
On Thursday, Michigan will host No. 22 Illinois. This is a comeback program that recently won its first winning season in 10 years. Later in February, the Wolverines will travel to Bloomington for another chance in Indiana, hosting the Buckeyes in five days.
Entertainment is endless. You’ll have a chance to see Clark’s Drill Impossible Logo 3 Pointer, which rivals Stephen Curry’s range. Recently against the Wolverines he has scored 23 and he has stolen five bases against the Maryland Diamonds.He can see dominant players like Miller. His sophomore winger from Michigan, Ray, who shines in the limelight with unrivaled tenacity, can root for Brown.
So, if you haven’t adjusted yet, correct your mistakes late in the season.