Big Ten Ballin’: Murphy’s Law

WNUR’s Greg Mroz (@wizard_of_mroz) matches top Big Ten basketball teams with Eddie Murphy flicks.

He’s the master of comedy, even to this day. Eddie Murphy is a once in a generation actor and comedian. You sit down, and you are immediately captivated by his performances, good or bad. Now granted, there have been some bad Eddie Murphy movies, but most of them are high quality flicks. So, for this week’s ballin, we are going through a quick power rankings, 1 to 5, of each of the top teams as an Eddie Murphy movie. Quick hitters, just like some of Murphy’s one liners.

1. Michigan State – Trading Places
If Paramount Pictures had its way, Eddie Murphy never would’ve starred in his first big movie. The role was supposed to go to Richard Pryor, but he was dealing with severe drug problems at the time. Is it a coincidence that Murphy’s character, Billy Ray Valentine shares a last name with Spartans guard Denzel Valentine? Well yes, but that’s beside the point. The point is that Michigan State is getting healthy, and despite losing in last second fashion to Wisconsin, there isn’t another team that has been as consistently solid as MSU. And guaranteed, that consistency holds in your laugh factor when watching this movie. An ‘80s classic about a con artist and a big wig teaming up. What could be better?

2. Michigan – Coming To America
“McDonalds, no McDowells!” Coming to America is a classic, and makes Eddie Murphy into a clueless, loveless prince who thinks he can find a princess in “Queens.” Michigan had appeared to have been lost, then found, and now somewhat lost again. Losing to Indiana and Iowa both on the road is nothing to be ashamed of, but the Wolverines worked hard to get to a 9-2 Big Ten record without Mitch McGary. Ohio State, Wisconsin, and Michigan State are all coming up for Michigan, let’s see if they can find their mojo, just as Murphy did with the fast food restaurant owner’s daughter (Spoiler alert, they end up getting married!).

3. Iowa – Dreamgirls
This wasn’t a funny movie, but man alive could Eddie sing. He also had a memorable moment where he took his pants off on stage after singing a soul song. Iowa, like this movie, is all business.

Ryan Young/Getty Images

Ryan Young/Getty Images

Roy Devyn Marble and Aaron White are all business, and this team has been in pretty much every game, and had a statement win by beating 10th ranked Michigan at home on Saturday. No funny business here, the Hawkeyes have a lot of work to do, and it’s going to be a fight to the end of conference play. No singing though, please.

4. Wisconsin – Norbit
Norbit wasn’t a great movie, but it was really funny, and it was all over the place too. Eddie Murphy shows in movies like this how versatile he is as an actor, while still managing to help us enjoy ourselves. Wisconsin is also all over the place, because I can’t for the life of me figure out who they are. They win their first 16 games, then lose 5 of 6, and then come back and beat 9th ranked Michigan State in the final seconds. Sam Dekker and Ben Brust have picked up their game of late, and Frank Kaminsky continues to puzzle us as to what his style of play is. Lots of moving parts, just like Murphy in this movie. I wouldn’t want to wear that fatsuit.

5. Ohio State – Dr Dolittle
This movie is hilarious at times, and at others it’s just a bit bland. That’s Ohio State, because this team is great at times and at others isn’t. Frankly I don’t think this team is that good, but I can’t think of any other team in the conference that’s better besides the four listed above. The Buckeyes need more than just Aaron Craft, just like Dr Dolittle needed more of Norm MacDonald as a talking dog.

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