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B1G Basketball: Week in Review, 1/25

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GO IOWA AWESOME!!!!

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B1G Talking Points

  • Hey, Ohio State, you actually going to do any of that improving you were talking about?
  • Indiana has played an atrociously easy schedule, but they've also fucksawed jNW and hamblasted Illinois.  I still don't trust Crean.
  • Is Michigan better without Caris LeVert?  LOLNOPE, but they've still done damage without him.
  • Northwestern trying to ugly up every game, sometimes it works (@MD), sometimes it doesn't (@IN).
  • Purdue, where guard play doesn't seem to matter, and they're still going to win a ton of games.
  • I think I'm just going to group NebraskaPenn State, and Illinois together because they're all bad, but try hard, and on any night will terrify your favorite team.
  • You know what Minnesota basketball's slogan is?
  • Thank god for Buttgers.
  • Iowa hasn't lost a conference regular season game in football or basketball in 344 days.
  • Michigan State downs Maryland without Tum Tum, turning to Matt Costello.
  • I still hate Wisconsin basketball, but it's fun that they're irrelevant again.

For rankings, we'll throw the KenpomStewPoll, and the Massey Composite ratings at you side-by-side for some compare-contrast.

Week in Review

Illinois Fighting Illini (9-9)

Kenpom

116

StewPoll

138

Massey Composite

110

Last week: L @ IN, 69-103; W @ MN, 76-71 (OT)

Thumpasaurus Rapid Response (before the game even ended): Let me sum up Illinois at Indiana. At 15 minutes to go, I flipped to a rerun of Tosh.0, in which a dude blew air up his [backside] with a bicycle pump for the purpose of (successfully) creating a gigantic fart. I laughed and said "this is the stupidest fucking thing I've ever seen." Then I said "wait a second," turned back to ESPN, saw the score and changed my mind on what was the stupidest fucking thing I've ever seen. Say what you will about bicycle-pump-fart-guy, he put together a plan and executed it successfully...which makes him a damn sight better than John Groce.

Thumpasaurus: Illinois actually outrebounded a team, but they basically won because Minnesota missed open threes. the manner in which we won the rebounding battle is not likely to repeat itself. i'm not used to having to feel this way about Illinois basketball, but not unlike Illinois football, a win is still a win and it proves that we're not lying alone at the bottom of the barrel. Michael Finke is pretty good.

This week: vs. OSU (1/28, 8pm, BTN); VS. WI (1/31, 6:30pm, BTN)

#19 Indiana Hoosiers (17-3)

Kenpom

19

StewPoll

22

Massey Composite

18

Last week: W vs. IL, 103-69; W vs. jNW, 89-57

Candystripes for Breakfast: Having gotten most of the easy portion of their Big Ten schedule out of the way, Indiana now has to keep proving that they deserve their spot on top by beating the better teams in the conference as well. Blowing out the entire state of Illinois is good, but if the Hoosiers can win in Madison for the first time in what feels like forever, then people might actually start taking them seriously as a threat to win the conference.

This week: @ WI (1/26, 6pm, ESPN); vs. MN (1/30, 1:15pm, BTN)

#3 Iowa Hawkeyes (16-3)

Kenpom

2

StewPoll

7

Massey Composite

4

Last week: W @ Buttgers, 90-76; W vs. Purdue, 83-71

Stewmonkey13: Iowa is now 7-0 against the toughest in conference schedule.  Jarrod Uthoff is the front runner for B1G POY.  Still, there's a lot of work to be done to try and win their first conference championship since 1970.  The tough schedule doesn't let up, yet, as Iowa goes to Maryland on Thursday.

This week: @ MD (1/28, 6pm, ESPN); vs. jNW (1/31, 2pm, BTN)

#8 Maryland Terrapins (17-3)

Kenpom

14

StewPoll

12

Massey Composite

15

Last week: W vs. jNW, 74-65; L @ MSU, 65-74

DJ Carver: Maryland needs to learn to rebound/box out or this season is going to be one epic let down.  The past two games Maryland has seemingly been killed on the boards, specifically by giving up offensive rebounds at key moments in the game.  The Iowa game on Thursday is going to tell you what Maryland will do for the remainder of the season, and probably puts them on trajectory for a 4 seed if they lose (easy February mostly) and perhaps another Round of 32 or Sweet 16 exit.

This week: vs. Iowa (1/28, 6pm, ESPN); @ OSU (1/31, 12pm, CBS)

Michigan Wolverines (15-5)

Kenpom

29

StewPoll

32

Massey Composite

27

Last week: W vs. MN, 74-69*; W @ UNL, 81-68

Graham: Michigan, oh my Michigan. I saw tremendous activity by the Wolverines in every aspect of the game: Getting out on transition, staying in front of defenders, tremendous motion away from the ball on offense.

The runs that Michigan is capable of going on should give all Wolverine fans hope. These runs, where the hoops looks 3 feet wide and everyone on the floor looks capable of scoring, sustain the Wolverine offense long enough to help Michigan weather those times when the deep shots aren't falling...

Michigan needs to win games versus the Nebraska's of the world to ensure an NCAA Tourney berth. This was a good win.

This week: vs. Buttgers (1/27, 6pm, BTN); vs. PSU (1/30, 11am, BTN)

#12 Michigan State Spartans (17-4)

Kenpom

13

StewPoll

18

Massey Composite

11

Last week: L vs. UNL, 71-72; W vs. MD, 74-65

Andrew Kraszewski: MSU recaptured some of its early-season form and throughly outworked Maryland for a solid win to get off of a 3-game slide. Bryn Forbes was lethal from distance, Matt Costello continues his campaign as the best rebounder in the conference, and Denzel Valentine appeared to have worked off the rust with yet another flirtation with a triple-double.

This week: @ jNW (1/28, 8pm, ESPN); vs. Buttgers (1/31, 4:15pm, BTN)

Minnesota Golden Gophers (6-14)

Kenpom

203

StewPoll

230

Massey Composite

191

Last week: L @ MI, 69*-74; L vs. IL, 71-76 (OT)

WhiteSpeedReceiver:  Hoopyball, like my soul and my brain after a week with an auditor, is dead.  We can't even beat Illinois. If we lose a game to Rutgers, we should consider boarding up the program.

This week: vs. Purdue (1/27, 8pm, BTN); @ IN (1/30, 1:15pm, BTN)

Nebraska Cornhuskers (12-9)

Kenpom

88

StewPoll

124

Massey Composite

97

Last week: W @ MSU, 72-71; L vs. MI, 68-81

Jesse Collins: Nebraska continues to be simultaneously punching above its weight class and somehow underachieving. I mean, not in any measurable way are they underachieving - minus the whole Samford incident earlier this year - but definitely in a "so close yet so far away" sort of way. In its four B1G losses, Nebraska has shown flashes of ability to take a lead or hold a lead, only to have turnovers, missed free throws, or scoring droughts leave Nebrasketball fans wanting. That said, this young team is doing everything you could expect from them. Glynn Watson continues to be my favorite player for Nebraska since Tyronn Lue, Ed Morrow and Michael Jacobson are learning how to hustle for rebounds on the fly, and Jack McVeigh is certainly going to be useful. Next year looks bright, and don't count out this team moving forward. They can bang with a lot of teams, and I think they'll prove to have momentum going forward. Hard to believe I'm saying this considering the start of the year, but it's a lot of fun to watch. Oh, and I'm saying this after a home loss to a Michigan team we haven't beaten since joining the Big Ten.

This week: @ Purdue (1/30, 3:30pm, BTN)

Northwestern Wildcats (15-6)

Kenpom

80

StewPoll

77

Massey Composite

76

Last week: L @ MD, 56-62 (OT); L @ IN, 57-89

MNWildcat: Northwestern has been officially exposed in losses to Penn State (71-62), Maryland (62-56 in OT), and Indiana (89-57). Be (1) athletic on offense, and (2) aggressive on defense, and the 'Cats will turtle. Despite still rating #80 in Kenpom, with Top-100 marks in both AdjO and AdjD, it's been an abysmal three-game losing streak in the Big Ten for Chris Collins' squad. After Maryland couldn't get out of their own way and let the 'Cats stick around into overtime, amassing a stunning amount of turnovers (16) and allowing Northwestern to dominate the boards (36.3 Oreb%), Indiana clamped down on that nonsense, leading to an 89-57 rout in which they pushed the tempo, offensive rebounded at a 39% clip, and ran Northwestern out of the gym. Too often two or more of Bryant McIntosh (4pts on 2/12 shooting against IU), Tre Demps (6 on 3/14 against MD), and/or the slowly-rehabbing Alex Olah (0 on 0/5 against MD) go absent for long stretches of time, and Northwestern lacks the scorers to cover for their absences.

Aaron Falzon is learning about B1G basketball the hard way, putting up streaky performances. Dererk Pardon has been a minor revelation on the interior since Collins burned his redshirt, but can't yet dominate inside and is a liability from the free throw line. Sanjay Lumpkin has continued in his role as "glue guy," AKA "should be taken out behind the barn and turned into glue," an offensive liability who can scrap for boards and play physical defense.

What does this mean? Things have to go very right on any given night for the 'Cats to win. They need to get the ball ​_inside_​ to Olah and Pardon, move off the ball, and make open shots when available. So much of that starts inside, though, and Northwestern has been cowed on multiple occasions by aggressive man defense and blown past by good ball movement and quicker perimeter players. Let's hope Collins has a couple tricks up his sleeves, because a home date with Michigan State and a trip to Iowa aren't making the schedule any easier.

This week: vs. MSU (1/28, 8pm, ESPN); @ Iowa (1/31, 2pm, BTN)

Ohio State Buckeyes (12-8)

Kenpom

70

StewPoll

74

Massey Composite

77

Last week: L @ Purdue, 64-75; W vs. PSU (score isn't final, but it's a blowout)

Stew: There was a quite a bit of talk about this being an inconsistent team due to it's youth.  However, they've been pretty damn consistent so far in conference play.  They've gotten beat by all the teams in the tier above, and they've beaten everyone in the below tiers.

@OTE Commentariat: Can you give weekly thoughts in a one-paragraph form about Ohio State? Let me know! I don't care enough about the Buckeyes to try.  I'm leaving this here as long as it's true.

This week: @ IL (1/28, 8pm, BTN); vs. MD (1/31, 12pm, CBS)

Penn State Nittany Lions (11-9)

Kenpom

146

StewPoll

149

Massey Composite

115

Last week: L vs. WI, 60-66; L @ OSU (score isn't final, but it's a blowout)

Aaron Yorke: Penn State didn't play over the weekend but has a hot date with Ohio State tonight in Columbus. Like Penn State, Ohio State's best Big Ten win is over Northwestern, so maybe the Lions can hang in this one. To do that, they'll need to overcome a Buckeye defense that has been tough of opponents who aren't Maryland. If Shep Garner continues to struggle, PSU is going to need strong efforts from Brandon Taylor, Devin Foster, and Davis Zemgulis in order to prevail with the upset.

This week: vs. MI (1/30, 11am, BTN)

#21 Purdue Boilermakers (17-4)

Kenpom

10

StewPoll

15

Massey Composite

13

Last week: W vs. OSU, 75-64; L @ Iowa, 71-83

Stew: With Haas, Hammons, and Swanigan, Purdue has one of the best front courts in the entire country.  This allows them to absolutely dominate some matchups.  However, their guard play still leave much to be desired, and is why they've struggled in other matchups.

This week: @ MN (1/27, 8pm, BTN); vs. UNL (1/30, 3:30pm, BTN)

Rutgers Scarlet Knights (6-14)

Kenpom

277

StewPoll

261

Massey Composite

254

Last week: L vs. Iowa, 76-90

Just go away, Buttgers.

This week: @ MI (1/27, 6pm, BTN); @ MSU (1/31, 4:15pm, BTN)

Wisconsin Badgers (11-9)

Kenpom

61

StewPoll

88

Massey Composite

61

Last week: W @ PSU, 66-60

Stew: Fuck Wisconsin.  They aren't making the tourney.  Fuck Bo's hand picked successor isn't getting the job.

This week: vs. IN (1/26, 6pm, ESPN); @ IL (1/31, 6:30pm, BTN)

* Nice