yay, when you have to depend on the lower rung teams as well as who's playing home or away can really determine the challenge wins & losses
A Big Ten Basketball Primer - Post ACC/B1G Challenge edition
So, consider this a Big Ten Primer. A lot of my impressions are from the B1G- ACC challenge, so small sample size AND watching 3 games at once caveats apply. Feel free to add/dispute/discuss below. As obvious from the rankings and hype, I wouldn’t be surprised if any combination of IU, OSU or UM are Final Four teams at the end of the year. I think everyone from Wisconsin up makes the tournament (7 teams) with Purdue and/or Northwestern having a chance to make it 8. Teams are listed in order from best to worst (in my view).
Indiana – This team is ridiculously good. Zeller is a beast inside and will be hard for anybody to handle. We’re going to need the Morgan that showed up against OSU and Sullinger to have a chance. They have no big weaknesses that I can tell, especially considering they were down 2 big men against UNC. We can definitely beat them, but it’s going to require one of our best games. Hulls is dangerous as a shooter as well as a passer. Oladipo is also dangerous as a slasher from the wing. Look for Trey to maybe take advantage of an (admittedly very good) freshman PG. I’m also not sure that they have enough perimeter defenders to stay with Hardaway, Stauskas and Burke.
Michigan – ACE has told you all about us. We have good bloodlines that are 1/15 canadian, 3/15 Hoosier and %131 Awesome.
Ohio State – If I was making a spread for an OSU-UM game it would be 0, possibly 2 or 3 pts to the home team. On defense, they have a bunch of long athletic defenders that will take chances. This will create some turnovers but also leaves them susceptible to easy shots off of off the ball cuts and screens. I am very scared of Spike trying to handle OSU’s pressure. On offense, Deshaun Thomas is Option A and has developed an outside shot I didn’t know he had. This team is dangerous because they also have players like Quintin Ross, Lenzelle Smith and Sam Thompson who are good enough to explode for a 15-20 pt game if given an opening. Aaron Craft will be good for 5-6 plays a game that will keep OSU in it or put the nail in the coffin. You will also want to punch him approximately %200 of the time. Craft can harass Burke like noone else really can, and both games against OSU will be toss-ups.
Michigan State – As always, a tough, hard nosed team, that rebounds and plays good defense. Adreian Payne spells his name just like a Spartan would, and leads the banging inside. However, the scoring will come from the Appling/Dawson/Harris backcourt. Appling is lightning quick and will give Burke problems with his speed. This could end up a PG shootout, and I’ll take our Preseason All-American in that situation. They are struggling now, but I think they get it together by the time we play them. This is not a team we will pull away from, but if UM stays tough down low and don’t let themselves get pushed around, MSU will stay at arm’s length. Not an easy game by any stretch, but should be a win at both Crisler and Breslin.
Minnesota – They might be the surprise team (at least to me) of the Big Ten. They play a reasonably up and down style. No one player really stands out. It’s a team full of people who can all move and score pretty well. I almost see them as playing similar to us this year, only not as talented. Mbakwe is relevant as a defensive presence and of taking the Robbie Hummer Senior Citizen award. They are definitely at the top of the 2nd tier of the Big Ten, and will probably pull an upset or 2 of the teams above them.
Illinois – Brandon Paul will shoot. A. Lot. Occasionally he will make a couple. Occasionally occasionally he will actually make enough of them that his coach will be happy he’s shooting that much. So far this year, the percentage looks sparkly, my prediction is that the percentage starts falling, but he keeps shooting just as much. They have that Buster Douglas puncher’s chance of upsetting anyone because of this.
Wisconsin – Your traditional Wisconsin team. They play hard nosed defense and will make you work for points. They play a Princeton type offense with a lot of cuts and ball screens, but with no Jordan Taylor like player to take over, they should be pretty harmless outside of Madison. I would expect GR3 to go off on this team since I see no one remotely capable of handling him. Dekker will be good, but he’s not a dominant player yet.
Purdue – They have 3 Johnsons to handle one ball, and I don’t think any of them do it particularly well. I think good defense can pressure this team into turnovers. They have no big time scorers (no one averages over 12). D.J. Byrd had a Stauskas like game against Clemson (21 pts, 6-11 from 3), but that will not continue. This is not a game we should lose in any circumstance.
Northwestern – Looked like a team filled with shooters, and no real big man to worry about. Another team with a Princeton like offense, but I think if UM was to play aggressively, Northwestern would turn the ball over. This is a game where McGary/Morgan may be able to break out and have big games. Also a possibility they get hot from 3 and pull off an upset.
Iowa - I did not really watch them, but they are not good. We should win by double digits.
Nebraska – They are still building something that may one day be called a basketball team. They had one player, Gallegos, who reminded me of Rip Hamilton with a lot of curls and shooting from the elbow, and making some of them. I choose to believe this was an aberration against a bad Wake Forest Team. Nebraska has no one and nothing we should at all be worried about. Should be a double digit win.
Penn Sate – Really Sucks. They were already bad with Tim Frazier, with him out for the year, there is no hope here.
[Edit: Corrected some minor spelling errors that were bothering me, "Robbie Hummer" was a mistake, but now I like it and it stays. Appreciate the feedback and added analysis from the commenters]
Sorry, never been good with the whole brevity thing...didn't realize how long it was until I posted it
I enjoyed reading it.
Well-written, informative, insightful content is almost never too long.
This isn't too long at all. I really don't know too much about the rest of the Big 10, so this is very helpful, and actually a very brief and to the point review of the other teams we'll be facing. Thank you for your review and analysis.
- With Gasser(death to backboards!) out for the year Wisconsin's offense is even worse than usual, they really aren't much of a threat at all.
- Iowa is a bit of a mystery, they are always tough at Carver-Hawkeye but man their defense this year has been awful, they can still put up points on anybody but their defense is far behind where it should be.
- Staee will be fine, they didn't look great tonight but as always Staee will bring it during B1G play, they really need guys like Byrd/Payne/and Trice to step up.
- I haven't watched Purdue once this year but looking at box scores they seem to go as far as DJ Byrd's jump shot takes them.
- Illinois shoots alot of 3's, you're spot on with your analysis there.
All in all it's going to be an exciting season in the conference.
Regarding Purdue, you're right, they go about as far as Byrd goes.
However, when he's on, they look really good together. I watched the Villanova game and Purdue looked like a really formidable team. Byrd is essentially a Novak: good shot, extremely aggressive, team leader, etc. But again, once he fouled out, the whole team basically quit. I have them playing spoiler in the conference right now, pretty much exactly where they were last year with Hummel.
don't know about Staee this year man. I have watched a lot of them this year thus far, and I think that they may be lacking too much pure offensive firepower to be a consistently good team. Staee has for quite some time now made up for lack of consistent shooting and reliable offense with toughness, physicality and effort. However, I think it may have finally caught up to them this year. Dawon is athletic but not offesively gifted in any capacity, Harris is streaky, and Appling has trouble finding his own shot against good competition. Nix and Payne are effective on the glass but they simply don't produce with any consistency offensively. The Big Ten is loaded with offensive talent this year (and it looks like for years to come), I think this season may be somewhat of a wakeup call to Staee and may leave some Spartan fans shaking their heads.
They'll be strong come tournament time.
I don't disagree with anything you said (although I think Appling is much better than anyone credits him), but with the combination of Appling, Harris, and Dawson, they'll be very competitive and well-conditioned and coached.
Touch matchup as always.
will play tough, and they certainly won't be an easy out, but I don't think they will go deep this year. Appling is good, but they don't really run like used to on makes or misses, they are really a half court offensive team and a fairly inept one at that. I think Staee is looking like a six or seven seed in the tourney this year.
I can't see Byrd stepping up. He's horrible. But Payne and Nix need to play better. Izzo tried the playing them at the same time lineup, but that isn't working and he's going to go back to what worked so well last year.
Trice has been injured since the UConn game. He came back vs Miami, but isn't 100%
'They have 3 Johnson's to handle one ball'
All this time I thought your Johnson's came with two balls...
Obligatory lance Armstrong reference.
They don't have Robbie *Hummer* around this year.
but I expect them to be on the NCAA tourney bubble. They have quality players like Basabe, Marble.
MSU is really struggling to take care of the ball and that's preventing them from playing well. Without a true PG, they will continue to struggle in that department. They turn the ball over nearly 25% of their possession which is terrible.
My prediction for NCAA tourney for B1G are:
The 6 above should be lock.
The next 4 are on the bubble. Wisconsin should be in but with the loss of Gasser, they are in trouble.
Appling not being a true PG is not MSUs problem. Appling still has a positive Asst to TO ratio and has been positive in that regard in every game (check the stats). Their Turnover issues are coming from high-minutes players like Dawson (5 TOs tonight), Nix, Payne, and Byrd (although his minutes are dropping fast). I'd argue appling has been fine for MSU and he's the reason they beat Kansas and squeaked by ULL.
As a team, though, you are right Turnovers are killing them. Tom Izzo teams will always be higher TO squads becaus of their style but the current numbers are just horrendous.
and still not be classifed as a true PG. Appling is a scoring guard in a PG's body. The offense has struggled a bit because they really don't have a true PG who can help run the offense and faciliate the offense. Appling is not that guy. They even have Denzel Valentine playing point forward. Last year, they have Draymond Green play point forward. That says it all on how Izzo thought about Appling as a PG. Yes, he's a fantastic talent, but a PG, he is not.
Stu Douglass has a positive assist to turnover ratio. He plays PG at times. Do you say that he's a PG based on what you've seen him in his 4 years at Michigan? The answer would be no. There's more to PG than just assist to turnover ratio. It's about keeping the team in line and keep up the efficiency of offense.
I think you misread what i wrote.
You stated, in your original post, that MSU is struggling with turnovers (which is true). You then stated that until they get a true PG, they will continue to struggle with TOs (the point i disagree with).
My response was that the person playing the PG position (Appling) is not the problem as he has a positive A/TO ratio. Appling may not be a true PG, but he is playing the PG position. You can basically lable Appling anything you want but it doesn't change the fact that Izzo has him at the 1. In my opinion, MSU's TO problems have come from Nix, Payne, Dawson and Byrd. All of these guys have struggled with possession of the ball. Dawson's production slightly makes up for his mistakes but Payne and Nix in particular have been liabilities. If MSU were to get a "true PG" it would not change the fact that the aforementioned players have been sloppy with the ball. That is my point. That who they have playing PG (true or not) is not their problem (at least as far as the TO issue is concerned).
a true PG would have put them in position to succeed where turnovers aren't likely. The offensive efficiency would increase overall. Without them, the offense would be disorganized and it forces players to do more than they're capable of. This is why Nix, Payne, Dawson and Byrd are turning the ball over a ton because they don't have a PG who can direct them into position where they can succeed. It does matter if you have a true PG who can run the offense.
Appling is a PG by name, but he's not a true PG just like Stu Douglass playing PG. Both are shooting guard running the PG position.
Mich, OSU, and IU are all at the top tier of B1G so far in 5-8 games of non-con play. Wisconsin and MSU have stumbled more than I thought they would. Of the two, I expect MSU to be able to recover better. They have short-term injury problems and Wisconsin doesn't actually have a point guard that can bail them out of late clock situations like Jordan Taylor could.
I like Illinois's start, and think it will be an interesting story the first time we play them, that said, I think they may be too reliant upon the 3 to deal with a more seasoned Mich team than we are seeing currently.
We only play Minnesota once at The Barn, and that will be a tough game. They have shooters, athleticism and length. Not to mention that they have given us and other B1G teams headaches recently.
While I love our team so far, I think we have a long ways to go defensively before we can call ourselves top 3 in the B1G because the conference is just so difficult from game to game. Luckily we have a number of games to continue to get our team in shape.
"I think we have a long ways to go defensively before we can call ourselves top 3 in the B1G"
hell, we are #3 in the country. we are clearly one of the top 3 in the BIG.
sparty has no half court offense. they will continue to struggle all year.
minnesota is definitely the team that could surprise. i pick them to finish #4 in the BIG. i haven't seen iowa play yet, but i'm really surprised about their early season struggles.
Don't count out Iowa. I know, football and GERG. But Fran Mac has a decently athletic basketball team. If Basabi plays well again and they can get some good usage out of their Freshman 7 footer and Freshman PG (this assuming White's sophmore year isn't a slump), they're a very possible tourney team.
Side note: Did everyone see Nebraska's inside Big man? Holy cow, Jared Lorenzen on the B-ball floor. He wasn't there last year was he (how the hell could I have missed him)?
UVA just gave the whole conference the blueprint for beating Wisconsin. You're welcome, now please don't use it to ruin our tourney bid please.
BTW, wasn't that impressed with the Wiscy defense. They did not close out well on three-point shooters and allowed too many backdoor cuts for layups. They didn't defend the paint as well as they usually do, especially when Berggren is out of the game. If UVA was a better team, i.e., one that did not miss several easyish layups the game would've been a near-blowout.
Wahoo is the dumbest school nickname in the history of school nicknames. I've lived in Virginia for 12 years and still can't bring myself to root for UVA because I can't get past the idiocy that is adopting a slimy fish as your symbol when cavalier is so much better. If I hear go Hoos one more time I may climb a clock tower if there is one round these parts.
Then think of it using the real etymology of the nickname and not the frat-brah etymology. Go Hoos.
So maybe you have figured out something that the Ohio team has not: Thomas is their #1 offensive weapon. He should be taking more shots. Smith and Craft took a lot of shots down the stretch that were poor.
We ran a lot of pick and rolls with Craft and Thomas and Duke refused to leave Thomas (obviously) which left Craft with a lot of open looks--he just missed them. If those get knocked down then OSU forces Kelly to help more on Craft and DT would have been open. This wasn't a scheme problem, rather it was an execution problem. The mistake was our refusal to post Thomas, a very good post player mind you. I understand Kelly is a good defensive matchup for DT because of his size in the post, but he played the entire second half with 3/4 fouls, putting him in a back to the basket situation defending one of the NCAA's best post scorers would have put pressure on him not to foul and limited his aggressiveness. OSU didn't take advantage of this and that was their down fall. If Craft made his shots it would have been moot.
that offensively ohio cannot rely on Craft. He missed several open shots and struggled in clutch time with his FT's. While he's a PITA defensively ... he was MIA last night on the offensive end when they needed him.
I was really happy tonight. Backup offense all first half and an unproven team and we stayed with a good Duke team in a tough environment the whole time. Also, Michigan looks good. Still unsold on McGary, but it seems like Burke and Hardaway have learned to play together.
but you can tell he's got a huge upside and he hustles, can't teach that, your big men leave a lot to be desired, I'd worry way more about that than us needing to worry about Mitch
No reason to come off aggressive.
I'm really not impressed with MSU at all. Thus far I think Minnesota has been much better team. MSU might have more talent but they have struggled offensively. At this point I'm buying in to Minnesota over State...
Great analysis on the B1G teams. I only watched Michigan, Indiana, and OSU play. But based on box scores and ESPN analysis, it seems like MSU is struggling without Gary Harris. I am sure when he is back and 100%, he will be a threat. Illinois should be a good team, come conference play, and I think will eventually make the tournament. I agree with many that Minnesota is the surprise team this year, and I think with Trevor Mbakwe back they will be a very dominant team. I am glad we only have to play them once this season. I expected Iowa to be better. They had two highly touted freshman, and with the combination of Basabe and Marble, they should be a lot better than they are. Hopefully they will have that fixed by conference play. The rest of the B1G really doesn't matter, this includes a Taylor-less Wisco...
I was thinking the same thing, "Oh, MSU was without Harris, and maybe still Trice, I guess that explains their bad game." Nope! Harris and Trice played. Sure they are probably not 100% but still, excuses are now going out the window.
Harris and Trice were MSU's most effective players against Miami. As they get healthy, MSU's rotation should tighten up.
Appreciate the high OSU praise. Also, adderall adderall, adderall.
Good analysis. You chould have made this a Diary. Also, since you are basing this on the B1G/ACC challenge, I would have liked to have seen each team's score and who they played. I've seen all the scores, but I only remember about half of them, and I'm too lazy to look them up for myself. It did seem that nearly every home team won in that series.
Indiana 83, UNC 59 -- in Bloomington
Michigan 79, NC State 72 -- in Ann Arbor
Minnesota 77, FSU 68 -- in Tallahassee
Virginia Tech 95, Iowa 79 -- in Blacksburg
Maryland 77, Northwestern 57 -- in Evanston
Nebraska 79, Wake Forest 63 -- in Winston-Salem
Miami 67, MSU 59 -- in Coral Gables
Duke 73, OSU 68 -- in Durham
Illinois 75, GTech 62 -- in Champaign
BC 73, PSU 61 -- in State College
Purdue 73, Clemson 61 -- in Clemson
Virginia 60, Wisconsin 54 -- in Madison
Maryland kind of counts as a win for the B1G, right?
Each conference gets half a point for Maryland, therefore the B1G wins 6.5-5.5.
It might be interesting to know as well that there were eight teams ranked in the latest AP poll that were involved in this tournament, and they were a cumulative 5-3, including three games where ranked teams played each other. The Big Ten was 2-1 in those contests. The average margin of victory in Big Ten wins was 13.5 points, and in ACC wins, it was 11.2. Very competitive Challenge this year.
Is this like the Ryder Cup where we retain the trophy in the event of a tie?
And I suppose technically we can count Maryland's win in our column now, so we win the challenge outright I guess.
After watching these games, I came away highly impressed the most by UM, Indiana, OSU, and Duke. If they are all in different regions in the tourney, that could very well be the final four this year.
Thanks! It looks like there wasn't as much of a home team advantage as I initially thought.
3-3 for both conferences.