If by "there" you mean competing for a national title, then no we aren't. However, if by "there" you mean being at the point where we are top half of the Big Ten and in the NCAA tournament every year like we should be, then I have to disagree with you. I think we are there (or very close) and...
We are seeing them get stronger (we are doing a much better job of finishing at the rim and rebounding this year, for a few examples).
We are seeing them jump higher (assuming you believe the statements made by the program over the summer about verticals).
We are seeing them stay healthier...
There is a pretty big difference between your examples of Giorgi and Samba here. Giorgi has proven his worth on the court and sustained that throughout the season. Samba has not. Therefore, you can't treat their situations the same.
This is the first year under a new selection system. I think it's foolish of us to act like we all know exactly how the committee selections will work. The odds are certainly stacked against us, but there is a lot of uncertainty here.
I don't imagine that. Logically, I think that is reasonably likely, but I imagine sweeping the rest of our schedule, including the NCAA tournament, because hey, imagination is supposed to be for dream scenarios, right?
Comparison on a per-minute basis:
Happ: 0.441 PPM, 0.281 RPM
Bezhanishvili: 0.538 PPM, 0.197 RPM
Bezhanishvili scores 22% more efficiently than Happ did, and Happ rebounded 43% more efficiently than Bezhanishvili does.
I don't think the NIT is as much of a stretch as you seem to think. Consider:
There is no requirement for a .500+ record anymore.
We are a large-market team from a major conference with a fanbase known to travel well and spend money.
We are a team that has been quite hot at the end of the year...
I mostly agree with you. The one exception for me is Mizzou. I still don't condone going on their boards and talking trash, but I absolutely will and do revel in their misery when it occurs. It's the best kind of schadenfreude. Growing up on the Illinois side of the Mississippi in Greater St...