As 2016 winds down, the Big Ten will be getting ready for conference play. Despite the league being off its usual standard, it should still be a compelling conference race – Indiana, Purdue, and Wisconsin probably are the teams with a shot at the conference title, but there’s a bloated middle that could produce a surprise contender and should give us plenty of competitive games for the rest of the winter. Since this post was getting long, I split it in two and will be covering the other half of the conference later this week.
Teams are listed in alphabetical order.
After experiencing year-over-year declines in win totals throughout his Illinois career, John Groce might have entered the season with the least job security of any coach in the Big Ten, despite a strong recruiting class that will be arriving in Champaign next season (featuring 5* big man Jeremiah Tilmon). The Illini returned several players from injury and still have senior swingman Malcolm Hill – probably the most underrated player in the conference. Hill has had a good year, averaging 18 points per game; he’s still drawing fouls at a high rate and leads Illinois in shot attempts by a healthy margin, but he’s been less of a distributor with 6th-year senior PG Tracy Abrams back on the court. After two seasons on the sidelines, Abrams has been a revelation for the Illini: his eFG% leapt from 37.7 to 65.6, the 5th-highest mark in the league.
Outside of an unfortunate home loss to Winthrop in overtime – a game the Illini led by ten with three minutes left in regulation, and a game in which 5’7 reserve Keon Johnson scored 38 points on just 23 shot equivalents for the Eagles – there have been few surprises in non-conference play. Illinois did lose to West Virginia (by 32) and Florida State in Brooklyn, though those are both good teams. They notched wins against NC St., VCU, and BYU, but it’s not likely that any of those teams will represent a particularly quality win come March. Winthrop wasn’t a terrible loss, and Illinois could theoretically play their way into the tournament with a strong showing in conference play – which would be a surprise. They’re the most experienced team in the Big Ten per Kenpom, and it seems like they’ve reached their ceiling.
[Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, MSU, and Minnesota after the JUMP]
As the title states, SI released their D1 men's basketball rankings. Seem to see our defense improving (actually ranking it better than MSUat about mid 60s in the nation) and finishing the season 4th in the B1G and as a 6th seed
Looks like the NCAA is following pro sports' examples and pulling events out of North Carolina due to their sexual orientation and gender identity laws.
Affected championship games:
2016 Division I Women’s Soccer Championship, College Cup (Cary), Dec. 2 and 4.
2016 Division III Men’s and Women’s Soccer Championships (Greensboro), Dec. 2 and 3.
2017 Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, first/second rounds (Greensboro), March 17 and 19.
2017 Division I Women’s Golf Championships, regional (Greenville), May 8-10.
2017 Division III Men’s and Women’s Tennis Championships (Cary), May 22-27.
2017 Division I Women’s Lacrosse Championship (Cary), May 26 and 28.
2017 Division II Baseball Championship (Cary), May 27-June 3.
The release does mention that if a North Carolina team earns the right to play a championship game in their home state, it will be held there.
MOD EDIT - One way you can avoid controversy is not post Breitbart articles generally, or indeed inject more politics into the discussion when there is already politics in the discussion. - LSA
First thread ever created by me and probably the last, might as well be a "cool story bro".
[TL;DR ver. at the bottom.]
I am a part-time Uber/Lyft driver in the DMV(DC, Maryland, Virginia) area and just got finished with a long and ardous drive with a passenger who felt the need to vent her whole life problems to me. As I ended the ride I immediately received another request and the pick up was at Paul VI, which is a basketball powerhouse in town. My first thought was that this was probably going to be some sweaty smelly teen who just got done with football practice and now wants a ride home. [I am getting there] I pull into the parking lot only to find no one outside the normal pickup zone. I wait and make a couple of calls but no answer, so after some time I am ready to cancel the ride, right? No, I wait some more and then get a call saying the rider was on the other side of the school and was making his way to me. As he approaches the first thing I notice was the Michigan Jordan apparel and then some light luggage.
At first I think nothing of it, he gets in, verifies that I am his driver and then we proceed. I small talk and ask if he is a coach at the school, all the while not bringing up his Michigan gear...yet and his answer is that he was just 'checking out some of the kids' there and the he is from 'Michigan'. I instantly get a sinking feeling of excitement in my chest but my focus is on the road, as it should be, and give a calm "...okay that's nice." It's football season and the name he was using on the Uber, William, didn't register in my brain so I am assume this is football related but I should have known when he didn't recognize their football field when he described where he was during the call. So I throw out a mentioning of the beat down of those rainbow warriors and he said, "no, basketball" and because of ignoring the aforementioned clue of the football field identity crisis, Paul VI, basketball powerhouse, full jumpsuit despite 103 degree heat and etc. I then understood he was with bball side of things.
We begin the chat about the area, recruiting(nothing major or ground breaking nor did I probe), local DC sports and Uber vs Lyft and a little bit about myself. I asked how recruiting was when he coached at American U in DC and to compare it to Michigan, came away with how it is important to recruit locally but even more of importance to be able to recruit nationally and so on. I then asked how he sees Michigan's success and general success in recruiting and we agreed it isn't always about landing that "top 5" guy as long as you can get that under appreciated guy who develops in a year or two and contributes. I then threw out the Trey Burke example, he agreed and then we moved on. Oh and about some of the lost battles, he backed up Mr. Beilein's integrity and said he would never play foul to win like some of the others, I agreed and that was that. He also really likes the guys they have for the 2017 so far. Talked about his very busy itinerary, laughed about my Redskins and our false sense of revitalized hope every season and completed an excellent, safe Uber experience. 40+ min drive and that's about it.
- Picked up Asst. Coach Billy Donlon in my Uber at Paul VI, basketball powerhouse. Northern VA.
- Talked about crootin' and stuff.
- Ride was safe.
- Didn't have subs but still was awesome.
- The end.