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Big Ten Basketball: Talking Points, Week in Review, 2/2

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Lucky is as lucky does.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

B1G Talking Points

  • Ohio State Buckeyes plays very, very ugly game.
  • Indiana Hoosiers still tied for first in the conference, but had a very lackluster week.
  • Michigan Wolverines managed to win both their games despite struggling mightily with their strengths.  Against better competition they'd have been in trouble.
  • Northwestern Wildcats is in free fall, losing the last 5 in a row.  And while the competition has been mostly excellent, they're not even competitive in the games.
  • A.J. Hammons went ham last week and led Purdue to two wins (over pretty poor competition).
  • I think I'm just going to group the Nebraska CornhuskersPenn State Nittany Lions, and Illinois Fighting Illini together because they're all bad, but try hard, and on any night will terrify your favorite team.  (This is all still true)
  • Minnesota Golden Gophers seems to have started to show a little life the last few games.  They're still awful, but they're putting up a little fight, now.
  • Buttgers, unfortunately, hasn't just given up and forfeited the rest of the season.  They should.
  • Iowa Hawkeyes lost a close, road game to a fellow top 10 team, don't really think that's much of a knock against them.
  • Michigan State Spartans had a "get well" week, absolutely crushing both jNW and Buttgers.
  • Wisconsin Badgers starting to give their fans a bit of hope.
  • The Maryland Terrapins went 2-0 against #3 Iowa and at the Buckeyes.

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 (10-12)

Kenpom

134

StewPoll

159

Massey Composite

124

Last week: L vs. OSU, 63-68 (OT); L vs. WI, 55-63

Thumpasaurus: I'm going to focus on the positives.

1. The State Farm Center renovation has had its intended effect, putting the Orange Krush right around the court and making it loud for TV. Orange Krush is great. Throughout the dismal second half they never quit.

2. Michael Finke's knee injury that took him out of the game and Kendrick Nunn's hip injury that probably should have taken him out of the game were examined and were merely contusions. We lost 2 of our 3 best remaining players, but only temporarily.

3. Malcolm Hill is a talented and versatile player who can score from anywhere and accounts for 35% of Illinois' free throw attempts

4. Somehow, our longest losing streak of the year is only 3 games

5. A potentially winnable matchup at Rutgers is coming up on Wednesday

6. Though it's no consolation, it is mildly amusing to be the albatross hung from Purdue's neck.

7. Last night was the closest John Groce has ever come to beating Wisconsin! Progress...?

8. John Groce will be dancing in March. By which I mean, in a game in March, he will dance all over the court during gameplay as usual. But he's managed to avoid getting a technical, so maybe his rapport with the officials has improved?

9. Those gray uniforms do a great job of hiding the players' numbers, so in theory we should be able to use the deception to our advantage!

10. I'm only planning on dragging myself through one more game this year. I know I've said it before, but this time I mean it. I have to quit this. After Rutgers, I'm getting clean.


I SHOULDA QUIT YOU BAAABEH

LOOOONG TIME AGO

I SHOULDA QUIT YOU BABE

LOOOOOOONG TIME AGO

I WOULDN'T HAVE TO WATCH ALL THESE LOSSES

RIGHT DOWN ON OUR HOME FLOOR

(guitar lick)

I SHOULD HAVE LISTENED BABY

TO MY OWN PRESEASON PREDICTION

I SHOULD HAVE LISTENED BAAABY

EVERY TIME I TURN THE TV ON TO WATCH YOU DARLIN

YOU SEND ME THE BLUUUUUUUUES RIGHT DOWN THE LINE

WENT ASLEEP LAST NIGHT

I WATCH AS LONG AS I CAN

YOU USE THAT ZONE DEFENSE BUT IT'S NO MORE EFFECTIVE THAN PLAYING MAN

I SHOULDA QUIT YOU BABY

such a long time ago

I WOULDN'T HAVE TO WATCH ALL THESE LOSSES

RIGHT DOWN ON OUR HOME FLOOR

shoot the deep ball

til the blood runs out my eyes

WOAH SHOOOOOT SHOOT THE DEEP BALL

til the blood runs out my eyes

THE WAY YOU PUT UP CONTESTED THREES

BABY

YOU'RE GONNA LOSE BY TWENTY FIVE


Our point guard rotation combined for 0 points, 3 rebounds and 4 assists, and have combined for 4 for 20 shooting from deep.  once again, our point guard is not even worth covering, and so opposing defenses are literally pretending they don't exist. well...it's not even really pretending, is it? statistically speaking, they barely exist.

This week: @ Buttgers (2/3, 5:30 pm, BTN); vs. Iowa (2/7, 12 pm, BTN)

#22 Indiana Hoosiers (18-4)

Kenpom

25

StewPoll

27

Massey Composite

21

Last week: L @ WI, 79-82 (OT), W vs. MN, 74-68

Candystripes for Breakfast: Certainly not the best week of basketball Indiana's had this season. After continuing to flail in Madison (/Nigel Hayes just got sent to the line on a phantom foul again), the Hoosiers once again struggled to put away Minnesota, and very nearly dropped a game in Assembly Hall to them, before getting it together in the last minute to secure a win. The chances of winning the conference have been dimmed a bit, but there's still plenty of reason to think Indiana will be holding at least one bye in the Big Ten Tournament, and possibly still two.

This week: @ MI (2/6, 8 pm, ESPN); @ PSU (2/6, 7 pm, BTN)

#5 Iowa Hawkeyes (17-4)

Kenpom

2

StewPoll

5

Massey Composite

4

Last week: L @ MD, 68-74; W @ vs. jNW, 85-71

Stewmonkey13: Iowa lost to a top 10 team, on the road, by 6, with National Player of the Year candidate, Jarod Uthoff, having his worst shooting game of the year.  I can't get too upset about that.  And there was no hangover as they went on to paste jNW on Sunday, up 25 the starters didn't play any in the last 6ish minutes of the game.

This week: vs. PSU (2/3, 6 pm, ESPNU), @ IL (2/7, 12 pm, BTN)

#4 Maryland Terrapins (19-3)

Kenpom

9

StewPoll

6

Massey Composite

9

Last week: W vs. Iowa, 74-68; W @ OSU, 66-61

DJ Carver:

I'm also sick and tired about hearing the luck schtick on Maryland.  Maryland, in general, doesn't blow teams out of the water.  They play a slower, half court offense that doesn't get out in transition.  They're not going to win games by 15-20 points like that the way people expect.  The games are almost always close, and they almost always win.  People have described luck to me in what essentially amounts to the entire game of basketball, or in other words to win any game would be considered lucky.  Just because a game is within six points doesn't make it a lucky win.

Anyways, Maryland followed up the win over Iowa with a gritty win at Ohio State that featured an ugly second half from both teams.  Maryland led by 6 or so at half and despite the Buckeyes getting back ahead by a point never let the game get out of control, locking things up with back to back threes and hitting free throws late.  The entire starting lineup from Maryland was sneakily is over 10ppg on the season, which makes it hard to figure out who is going to perform next.

This week: @ UNL (2/3, 7:30 pm, BTN), vs. Purdue (2/6, 3 pm, ESPN)

Michigan Wolverines (17-5)

Kenpom

32

StewPoll

33

Massey Composite

30

Last week: W vs. Buttgers, 68-57; W vs. PSU, 79-72

Graham: Michigan.  4 Game Win Streak? Check.

All done while not shooting exceptionally from deep? Check.

No Caris LeVert, no problem? Check.

This was all done against the dregs of the Big Ten, so don't be surprised if a letdown ensues against Indiana and MSU.

That said, Irvin, Walton, and Abdur-Rahkman are turning into the attacking threats that Michigan needs so badly. An excellent summation from MGo:

"A month ago, under these circumstances, Michigan probably loses this game. The emergence of an effective ball-screen game keyed by Irvin and Donnal has changed the complexion of the offense, however, and that's allowed Michigan to be productive even in games when one or two of their main scorers aren't hitting their outside shots—today, Robinson and Walton combined to go 2/9 from three, yet the offense still hummed along."

This week: vs. IN (2/2, 8 pm, ESPN), vs. MSU (2/6, 1 pm, CBS)

#10 Michigan State Spartans (19-4)

Kenpom

6

StewPoll

16

Massey Composite

6

Last week: W @ jNW, 76-45; W vs. Buttgers, 96-62

Andrew Kraszewski: MSU rolled off of its quality won against Maryland and bludgeoned a pair of weaker opponents on the back of hot 3-point shooting and savage efficacy on the glass. It's hard to infer much from trampling Northwestern and Rutgers, but the point guardless offense appears to have worked itself out. Of course, Tum Tum Nairn will return at some point and the chemistry will have to be redone, but there's a lot to like about the mini-roll the Spartans are on going into #hateweek.

This week: @ MI (2/6, 1 pm, CBS)

Minnesota Golden Gophers (6-16)

Kenpom

189

StewPoll

235

Massey Composite

184

Last week: L vs. Purdue, 64-68; L @ IN, 68-74

WhiteSpeedReceiver:  Hey guys, it's a shame basketball season was cancelled, because Minnesota has been futilely fun recently.

This week: @ jNW (2/4, 8 pm, BTN)

Nebraska Cornhuskers (12-10)

Kenpom

96

StewPoll

128

Massey Composite

99

Last week: L @ Purdue, 74-89

Jesse Collins: The fear for Nebraska going into Saturday's matchup was always that there was no inside presence that could account for the Purdue bigs. While the Boilermakers refused to take advantage of that for various amounts of time, when it came down to it, that was the difference in the game. Nebraska is way better than they were a year ago and better than even a couple months ago, but they are also a big man away from really going somewhere special.

This week: vs. MD (2/3, 7:30 pm, BTN), vs. Buttgers (2/6, 1 pm, ESPNU)

Northwestern Wildcats (15-8)

Kenpom

97

StewPoll

88

Massey Composite

82

Last week: L vs. MSU, 45-76; L @ Iowa, 71-85

MNWildcat will be along soon with a whole article.

Is this the year? This feature has been retired for the duration of the season.

This week: vs. MN (2/4, 8 pm, BTN)

Ohio State Buckeyes (14-9)

Kenpom

68

StewPoll

75

Massey Composite

69*

Last week: W @ IL, 68-63 (OT); L vs. MD, 61-66

Stew: This is not a good basketball team.  They lose to good teams and beat the truly bad teams.  They play some damn ugly basketball.

@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: @ WI (2/4, 6 pm, ESPN)

Penn State Nittany Lions (11-11)

Kenpom

145

StewPoll

157

Massey Composite

130

Last week: L @ OSU, 46-66; L vs. MI, 72-79

Aaron Yorke: On Monday, Penn State was absolutely smothered by the Ohio State defense in Columbus. The Lions managed just 46 points and 4-for-25 three-point shooting in the blowout loss. The Bucks got a great performance from Keita Bates-Diop (22 points, eight boards, four blocks), but he might as well have saved it for a later date, as Penn State mustered very little on offense. On Saturday in New York, Penn State finally got both Brandon Taylor and Shep Garner going at the same time. Taylor was nigh unstoppable with 24 points and 10 rebounds, while Garner knocked down five triples en route to a 22-point outing. Still, it wasn't enough to overcome a Michigan team that shot just 6-for-20 from beyond the arc. The outstanding Zak Irvin (20 points) led a Wolverine offense that relentlessly attacked the basket and took advantage of transition opportunities. Michigan never trailed on the way to a 79-72 win.

This week: @ Iowa (2/3, 6 pm, ESPNU), vs. IN (2/6, 7 pm, BTN)

#18 Purdue Boilermakers (19-4)

Kenpom

13

StewPoll

15

Massey Composite

14

Last week: W @ MN, 68-64; W vs. UNL, 89-74

Babo: Purdue wound up with two wins over the past week. The first, against Minnesota was pretty ugly. The final score was 68-64, and it took a great shooting night by Vince Edwards to keep Pitino's squad from picking up their first win. Still, a win is a win and a B1G road win is still a B1G road win, even if every other team gets a win there as well.

This past Saturday was a much better game for Purdue. Playing against Nebraska in front of the home crowd (and wearing some sweet throwbacks), AJ Hammons dominated.  He notched a double-double and a quintuple-single with 32 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 blocks, and 1 steal.  If he can perform like that Saturday at Maryland, the Boilers might have a chance.

This week: @ MD (2/6, 3 pm, ESPN)

Rutgers Scarlet Knights (6-16)

Kenpom

275

StewPoll

273

Massey Composite

255

Last week: L @ MI, 57-68; L @ MSU, 62-96

Just go away, Buttgers.

This week: vs. IL (2/3, 5:30 pm, BTN), @ UNL (2/6, 1 pm, ESPNU)

Wisconsin Badgers (13-9)

Kenpom

53

StewPoll

67

Massey Composite

49

Last week: W vs. IN, 82-79 (OT); W @ IL (63-55)

Speth: WOOOOO PEOPLE ARE ACTUALLY TALKING ABOUT WISCONSIN IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT. I still don't think it will happen, but if they keep taking care of business you never know. Beat OSU and Nebraska at home and this can be discussed further. As far the week went Wisconsin got a solid win against Indiana to run the home win streak against the Hoosiers to 14 games. Interestingly, Indiana has beaten Wisconsin in football more recently in Madison than in basketball. Ethan Happ and Nigel Hayes combined for 56 points because Indiana's front court defense is TERRIBLE. I don't think I've see less moving of the feet since middle school dances were a major part of my life. To finish the week off, Wisconsin took care of an injury ravaged Illinois team that Thump is sure is now worse than Rutgers. For the most part it was an uninteresting although fairly tight affair. Perhaps most notable is that Khalil Iverson set a career high with 10 points and improved his free throw percentage 7% by going 4-4 from the line. I bring this up because it was pointed out he's only a 52% shooter from the line 638 times. Any week you go 2-0 is a great week and I can only hope for more of the same.

This week: vs. OSU (2/4, 6 pm, ESPN)

* Nice