Well, hello there! Welcome to the B1G Shootyhoops Stock Report, the place where I breakdown the week(s) that was against my ever fair and just expectations.
We’ve reached the mid-point of B1G play. For this edition, I figured I’d look back at the first half and see who has beaten my expectations, who met my expectations, and who is simply on fire for all the wrong reasons.
Let’s dive in.
Purdue Boilermakers – Raise your hand if you thought Purdue would be tied for the B1G lead after that non-conference. I call bullshit. After losing to (fuck) Notre Dame in December, I was ready to write this team off as a rebuilding year. Then came B1G season and things got better, much better. So what changed? The emergence of Trevion Williams as a viable post option and Ryan Cline finding his shooting stroke. Matt Painter has this group of misfits rounding into form just in time for a stretch run and are challenging for another B1G title.
Wisconsin Badgers – I was ready to leave this team for dead. After back-to-back losses against Purdue and Maryland, I thought this team was ready to fold. It appears the Badgers’ death has been a tad exaggerated. Since those losses, they’ve won five straight including avenging that loss to Maryland. Teams that can find a way to keep Ethan Happ from scoring (fouling seems to work well) will have success but Bucky is trending the right way and is poised to challenge for a double-bye come Big Ten Tourney time.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights – Damnit, do I really have to type this? I had zero expectations for the Scarlet Knights. So for them to win three conference games in a row is a fairly big deal. Big enough to get them out of junk status? Um, no.
Illinois Fighting Illini – Again, no expectations. Giving unsuspecting teams heartburn? I guess that counts as beating them.
Michigan Wolverines – To be perfectly blunt, anything short of perfection isn’t going to cut it. Beilein had this killing machine humming as B1G play hit but hiccups against Wisconsin and Iowa give cause for concern. This is still a great team that’s poised for a deep run come March but they must prove they can win in tough environments.
Michigan State Spartans – I’m waiting for the Sparty fans to jump on me for daring to have expectations but here’s the thing: Expectations don’t care about injuries. Things were humming along until Tom Izzo’s squad had to travel to Mackey Arena and lost their shooting touch against Indiana. Getting Kyle Ahrens back from injury will go a long way to adding some depth but I’ve got to hold them back for now.
Maryland Terrapins – I don’t know if I’ll get as much pushback from Terrapin fans. Things started out strongly for Maryland, firing off six W’s after the break. The problem is the season is a bit longer than that. Losing 3 of their last 5 is not a good look. That said, they’re in the position I would have them at headed into the stretch.
Iowa Hawkeyes – Will the real Iowa team please stand up? I can’t dock Iowa because they have some decent wins including a very nice home W over Michigan. However, this team also lost to teams above them in the standings almost every time. The good news, the schedule is friendlier down the stretch. The question is whether or not they can capitalize.
Minnesota Golden Gophers – My Vegas group has a saying: “Never bet on Little Ricky.” There’s a damn good reason, too. You never know what you’re going to get out of this group. I expected this group to be a middling B1G team and here we are. The schedule isn’t friendly headed towards March; let’s see where they end up.
Indiana Hoosiers – Expectations of returning to the NCAA tournament this season were realistic. That said, I don’t think this is a tournament team. A 4-7 start is nothing short of a disaster. Sure, you can put some of the blame on injuries. However, I don’t think Archie Miller has control of this team and could fall victim to the fanbase’s longing to return to glory.
Nebraska Cornhuskers – Every time I look at a Huskers’ box score, Kaleo’s Way Down We Go starts playing in my head.
Penn State Nittany Lions – This is not a good basketball team. I’ve got nothing else to say.
Ohio State Buckeyes – Yikes, what a disaster Ohio State has been in conference play. A dropoff in year 2 of Chris Holtmann was to be expected but not this far.
Northwestern Wildcats – The Year has come and passed. Sorry.
Who have I graded worst?
This poll is closed
Purdue: The Boilers aren’t that good.
Wisconsin: The Badgers aren’t that good.
YOU’RE UNDERRATING MICHIGAN STATE AGAIN HURRRRRRR
Michigan’s been much better than you think.
Nebraska hasn’t been that bad...
Ohio State hasn’t been that bad...
There were all excellent and wow, you’re good looking, Boilerman.