Have The Players Written Off The Final Four?

With everyone passing around the article in the Indy Star today where Smooge and JJ confirm they're most likely coming back next year, one particular quote jumped out at me. It was from JJ and it is:

"That's what it looks like right now for me, coming back to school," Johnson said. "I still have a lot of things to accomplish, a Big Ten championship, a Final Four. There are a lot of things I still want to do in college."

Whoa. My next question would have been, "Have you written off a trip to the Final Four this year?"

Maybe I'm being hypersensitive, but that's what that sounds like. And I'm not ready to throw in the towel. I know some of you are (and that disappoints me greatly), but this season is not over. I know it just got a whole lot harder. But these guys need to believe in themselves and they need all of us to continue to believe in them. Just imagine how a deep tourney run would feel now. Most of the media didn't believe Purdue was legit before Rob's knee injury -- and we all know they're now officially left for dead.

All things considered, I'd rather this happened when it did than, say, in the last game of the Big Ten Tournament or something like that. This week provides two of the Big Ten's crappiest teams to try things out on and work on new schemes. The Big Ten Tourney is pretty meaningless, honestly, and so there's another couple of games to work on things. And then, assuming you maintain a 2-seed for the big tourney (as Leprechaun Lunardi currently projects), you play a 15 seed to start that off.

If Matty and the boys can't figure out a decent formula to win with the talent that remains healthy in those five games, then there might be a deeper problem.

Keep the faith. It is not effing over.

Dr. Shelborne's take on ACL injuries

Poll Dancing: 3/1/10