Back in November when the Illini and Northwestern battled for the LOL Trophy (aka Bronze Bucket aka HAT), we took a look at the teams we hated, and the order in which we hate them most. With today marking the first meeting of the Cats and the Illini on the hardwood, I thought it would be good to take a look at the Big Ten Basketball Scale of Hate. If you need a brief refresher from football, you can read this.
The rules are quite simple...
This is mostly an opinion based article, so I don't expect EVERYONE to agree 100%. However, what the scientists in the TCR Labs have done is rank each Big Ten team based upon our overall AND away record (before this season). With the exception of Rutgers Scarlet Knights (who we've only played once...and won), each team gets a score from 1-12 based upon our win percentage in each category (1 hate most -12 hate least). At the end, both overall and away percentage rankings get added together to create the overall score. The opponent with the highest score is the team we STATISTICALLY hate the most, and the lowest score is the team we statistically hate the least.
While the ranking system is not the final determining factor in this scale, it is nice to step back and see how the Illini have fared against the Big Ten over the years.
In order from favorite, to least favorite...
1) Minnesota Golden Gophers
Formula: 119-64 overall | 44-45 away | 8pts | 9th
First Tubby came to town, and now they have little Pitino 2.0. Coming off a win in the NIT last year, it's always easy to root for the Gophers in the postseason.
2) Michigan State Spartans
Formula: 57-57 overall | 19-36 away | 18pts | 4th
This could easily be my #1 pick as well, but there's always something about the Spartan Basketball program that's at least a little annoying. Maybe it's the fact that they ALWAYS seem to play well in March, or maybe that they ALWAYS seem to win big games against ranked opponents. I'm not supposed to like Sparty as much as I do, but like everything else surrounding the program...it's all about the Izzo factor. In college athletics, it's the coaching staff that mainly determines how good or how bad a program can be (see Urban Meyer and this year's Ohio State football team); and when you have a coach like Tom Izzo that can ALWAYS have your team ready to roll in March...THAT'S a team you can get behind year after year. Plus, his sideline reactions are PRICELESS.
3) Nebraska Cornhuskers
Formula: 11-4 overall | 3-2 away | 5pts | T10th
Tim Miles is slowly turning Nebraska into a semi-relevant basketball school, and that's kind of cool. Sure, we didn't hate too much on the Huskers when it came to football...but the Husker basketball program is on the rise, and you can't hate on that! (yet...) For a team that's only made the dance 7 times and have yet to win a game, it's easy to root for a team that's looking to taste success in March. Which brings us to...
4) Northwestern Wildcats
Formula: 130-39 overall | 60-25 away | 2pts | 12th
For me, there is only one day every season where I get to hate the Cats...and that's today. In Champaign, the Illini dominate. BUT...when the Illini face Northwestern in Welsh-Ryan arena, that's honestly the most pure form of rivalry that the Cats and Illini have in my opinion. Football does an okay job fueling the perennial rivalry fire, but considering the Illini are 6-4 against the Cats with game differentials averaging only 8 ppg in the last 10 years...this is the only true "dogfight" we see in the rivalry. When the Illini are not playing the Cats, I honestly root for them. As the underdog of college basketball that's never made the dance, it would be nice to see them AT LEAST get an invitation.
5) Wisconsin Badgers
Formula: 110-81 overall | 39-54 away | 12pts | 7th
Wisconsin Basketball is one of the defining features of the B1G, with a dominant home atmosphere (the Badgers are 217-33 in that building), bruising defensive play (currently 7th in points allowed with about 54 a game), and lovable players like this guy make the Wisconsin basketball program an easily likeable team that represents the B1G well. The issue here, is all those frustrating losses to Wisko in the B1G Tournament in the late 90's and early 2000's has left a bit of a sour taste...
6) Maryland Terrapins
Formula: 4-5 overall | 1-2 away | 22pts | T1st
We're supposed to hate the Terrapins the most...but...meh.
Once we play them more than 20 times, we can start judging them more.
7) Penn State Nittany Lions
Formula: 27-13 overall | 11-7 away | 5pts | T10th
As a Talor Battle fan, Penn St is a yay-boo situation. Yay, they have some really like-able players (Battle) and it's easy to pull for them come March (only 9 appearances in the dance). Boo, we can't seem to score against them (only ONE game over 70 points in the last 10 games). Penn St games are quite frustrating, and that seems to be a constant factor when we face the Lions.
8) Iowa Hawkeyes
Formula: 82-69 overall | 21-53 away | 19pts | 3rd
~ Insert Primiano hates Iowa joke here ~
Boy, our Hawkeye trolls sure got quiet fast.— U-God (@SBN_UGod) January 2, 2015
9) Purdue Boilermakers
Formula: 85-97 overall | 28-60 away | 22pts | T1st
As much as I'm supposed to hate Purdue, I respect the heck out of them. It's a historical program that's had great success (they hold the most B1G Championships with 22), and some GREAT coaches. But I swear, if I hear "Boiler-Up" chants through my television...I have to resist every urge in my existence to throw something. So. Freaking. Annoying.
10) Michigan Wolverines
Formula: 85-78 overall | 29-49 away | 15pts | 6th
We have SOOOOO much trouble getting "over the hump" against Michigan. Losing the B1G Tournament opening game in 2011 (still made the tourney...thank goodness). Losing last year's heart breaker to the Wolverines in the B1G Tournament (Nik Stauskas is a weasel), and then this season's game...pisses me off...
11) Ohio State Buckeyes
Formula: 104-73 overall | 41-45 away | 10pts | 8th
With the exception of Aaron Craft, my experience with Ohio St rages from losses in the B1G Tournament in the early 2000's, to Matt Sylvester, to Evan Turner. Yes, Thad Matta is a great coach and I respect the heck out of him...but after Turner said some nasty things in the 2011 B1G tournament (after the Illini lost to #1 OSU in 2OT's), I've lost respect for the team.
12) Indiana Hoosiers
Formula: 86-86 overall | 29-53 away | 17pts | 5th
Any distaste of Indiana comes solely from basketball for me. I'll give you Bobby Knight, as he's a coach I do respect. BUT, when your fan base continues to rave about a teams from the 70's and 80's, you need to start living in the present (looking at you Illinois football fans...heavy sigh). From the Eric Gordon situation, to the Kelvin Sampson era, the scale of hate wouldn't be complete without listing the Hoosiers as my most hated team in the Big Ten.
What about the rest of College Basketball!??!
- Missouri Tigers (28-16 overall)
Braggin' Rights Baby. We've got 'em this year!
- Notre Dame Fighting Irish (27-13 overall)
I don't like Notre Dame athletics. 'Nuff said.
- Duke Blue Devils (2-5 overall)
Constant ESPN praise and the gushing of Seth Davis just makes the entire ACC easy to hate. I do like Coach K though, and I wish him the best of luck. Just wish we would've landed Jon Scheyer and a TON of other Chicago recruits...
- Kentucky Wildcats (4-11 overall)
The "Roman Empire" of college basketball. Kentucky basketball is like SEC football...SOOOOOO easy to
- North Carolina Tar Heels (4-4 overall)
Watch this first...then read this second...and tell me you're not pissed. Go ahead...I'll wait.
Need more fuel? Okay, fine...Sean May.
- Kansas Jayhawks (3-3 overall)
We (the band) had a rough experience with Kansas fans in the 2011 NCAA Tournament, and thanks to some bonehead people who thought abusing the band was the best way to cheer on their team...I will forever hate the Jayhawks. Great team. Great tradition. I honestly have no hard feelings about Bill Self. Bad fans have ruined their reputation with me.
That's my list! Tell me what you think, or if you think I missed any teams on this list.