Tag Archive: Bo Ryan



As the 2011-2012 mens college basketball season is quickly approaching I’m starting to think more and more of which players I, and the rest of the world, should watch for.  So far I’ve only taken a look at the Big Ten and have come up with the top 21 players I think will have the biggest impacts for their teams.  Obviously the #1 player I believe will have the biggest impact and is the guy everyone should pay the most attention to.

Michigan Wolverines

Name

2010-2011 stats

Points/game

Rebounds/game

Assists/game

FG %

FT %

#1 Tim Hardaway Jr.

13.9

3.8

1.7

.420

.765

# 17 Zach Novak

*3Pt %=.385

8.9

5.8

1.6

.383

.831

Tim Hardaway Jr. I feel will have the biggest impact for his team in the Big Ten.  He’s young and committed to being a star.  I foresee his near 14 ppg last season to rise significantly as he’ll have to take on more of a scoring load for the Wolverines.  When this starts happening I see teams keying him and doing their best to take away as many scoring opportunities from him as possible forcing him to distribute the ball to his teammate Zach Novak.  As you can see Novak basically shot 39% from behind the arc for Michigan last season.  That’s one heck of an average  and if he can keep that up it’ll be a great season for the Wolverines and their fans.

Ohio State Buckeyes

Name

2010-2011 stats

Points/game

Rebounds/game

Assists/game

FG %

FT %

#2 Jared Sullinger

17.2

10.2

1.2

.541

.784

#11 William Buford

14.4

3.9

2.9

.462

.843

Jared Sullinger was possibly the best player in the Big Ten last season. He’s unarguably the best freshman in the Big Ten. He’s back for round two with the Buckeyes and I’m interested to see how he responds to such a successful first season with the Buckeyes.  He averaged a double-double last season and I don’t see that to change much.  However, his points per game may drop a bit for I see teams working on doubling him up when he gets the ball down low.  The only thing that worries me about Sullinger is his Field Goal percentage.  For a big man he shoots just over 50%.  This is absolutely something that he needs to improve.  Ohio State also has 5th year senior William Buford returning to help lead the Buckeyes.  With the anticipation of double teams on Sullinger I see Buford’s role in scoring to go up.  Aaron Craft, the Buckeyes point guard, will have many options, as he did last season, to distribute the ball to. Having these two guys back increases your chances to succeed significantly.

Purdue Boilermakers

Boiler fans look forward to seeing this image erased from memory when Hummel takes to the court this season

Name

2010-2011 stats

Points/game

Rebounds/game

Assists/game

FG %

FT %

#3 Robbie Hummel

*2009-2010 stats

15.7

6.9

2.1

.456

.902

#9 Lewis Jackson

8

3.2

4

.503

.716

#15 Jacob Lawson

Incoming Freshman

Robbie Hummel is undoubtedly a huge key to success for the Boilermakers this season.  When thinking back to last season if Robbie Hummel wouldn’t have gotten hurt I think the Big Ten would have turned out quite differently and Purdue would have made the Final Four.  It will definitely be interesting to see how Robbie comes out of his second tear to his ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament).  The Boilermakers will be leaning on his leadership and abilities no doubt.  Lewis Jackson also surprised many critics last season with his terrific play. He took much better care of the ball than in past years and also became a well accepted 3rd/4th option scorer.  I only see Jackson picking up where he left off and his skills and knowledge of the game are vital for the Boilermakers to have success this upcoming season.  As for Jacob Lawson, it’s been rumored that he’ll be the starting at center for the Boilermakers.  For those unaware Lawson too is coming off a knee injury he suffered last season (high school).  Lawson was the top ranked recruit Purdue has coming in and big things are expected out of him early.

Minnesota Gophers

Name

2010-2011 stats

Points/game

Rebounds/game

Assists/game

FG %

FT %

#4 Trevor Mbakwe

13.9

10.5

1.3

.582

.629

#7 Ralph Sampson III

10.2

5.4

1.6

.471

.739

Minnesota may struggle this season with the loss of Hofbarber.  With this well known fact to Tubby Smith and his team they’ll need both Mbakwe and Sampson III to step up big and take not only huge leadership roles but they’ll both need to take on an extra emphasis on scoring.  These two are no doubt impact players and should be fun to watch this year.  With Minnesota’s home court advantage it should be very interesting to see how these two can control games and put up big numbers to lead their Golden Gophers to victories.

Wisconsin Badgers

Name

2010-2011 stats

Points/game

Rebounds/game

Assists/game

FG %

FT %

#5 Jordan Taylor

18.1

4.1

4.7

.433

.832

# 14 Mike Bruesewitz

4.6

3.1

1

.471

.759

The Wisconsin Badgers are losing some key players from last season. Mainly Jon Leuer.  Jordan Taylor posted an impressive 18 ppg last season at the point guard position.  It’s going to be very interesting to see how he responds to losing two other top 5 scores from last season’s squad.  Taylor has the ability to get through the lane and to the bucket. He also has the finishing ability to drive opposing coaches crazy.  It’s no secret that Mike Bruesewitz is going to have to step his game up to support Taylor and Bo Ryan in hopes of obtaining the Big Ten Title and a deep run into the NCAA Tournament. Bruesewitz is mostly known as a hustle player and his determination and hustle helps boost his value for the Badgers.  If he can improve his game and mix his improved skills with his hustle and determination he’ll be a much more valuable asset to Bo Ryan and his teammates.

Indiana Hoosiers

Name

2010-2011 stats

Points/game

Rebounds/game

Assists/game

FG %

FT %

#6 Cody Zeller

*Incoming Freshman

#8 Christian Watford

16

5.4

1.1

.422

.843

#12 Verdell Jones III

12.5

3.3

3.2

.448

.672

Cody Zeller is one of the highest, top-ranked recruits for this incoming freshman class.  His impact on the Hoosiers could play a huge factor on how well the Hoosiers do this season.  Watford averaged 16 ppg and Verdell averaged 12.5 ppg.  If Zeller is even half the player people expect him to be I look for these numbers to drop just a bit.  However, I think Watford’s rebounds per game need to improve if the Hoosiers want consistent success, especially in Big Ten play, this season.  Verdell’s shooting percentage as a guard alarms me.  His low percentage explains all too well IU’s recent lack of success.  If Zeller plays halfway up to expectations, Watford increases his boards per game, and Jones III increases his shooting percentage by taking better shots and getting to the basketball Indiana  could pull off one of the biggest turn a rounds in any program’s history.

Illinois Fighting Illini

Name

2010-2011 stats

Points/game

Rebounds/game

Assists/game

FG %

FT %

#10 Brandon Paul

9

3.1

2.1

.399

.767

# 16 D.J. Richardson

8.4

1.8

1.9

.415

.758

The Fighting Illini lost a bunch of valuable assets from last year’s team.   Brandon Paul and D.J. Richardson both have the ability to step their game up to the point where they lead Illinois to a very successful season. Both of these players being guards they’ll have to up their rebounds per game to help the weak inside game of this team.  These two players will also be forced to pick up the scoring responsibilities if they want team success this year.  One place to start, improve free throw shooting.  Shooting 75% from the charity stripe isn’t bad but both players need to step it up a few notches and take advantage of the opportunities presented to them at the free throw line.

Northwestern Wildcats

Name

2010-2011 stats

Points/game

Rebounds/game

Assists/game

FG %

FT %

#13 John Shurna

*3pt %= .434

16.6

4.9

2.6

.481

.707

As in the recent past Northwestern’s  success depends on the play of John Shurna.  Shurna has the ability to light up the score board from behind the arc. If he gets hot he’s almost unstoppable.  His field goal and three point percentages are both higher than 40% which is every coaches dream.  If Shurna and the Wildcats can catch a few more breaks they’ll have a chance to surprise many teams in the Big Ten this season.  Shurna, if healthy, is always a ton of fun to watch and I’ll be keeping my eyes out for him throughout the season.  Look for Shurna to turn to his shooting abilities to lead the Wildcats to some interesting upsets.

Michigan State Spartans

Name

2010-2011 stats

Points/game

Rebounds/game

Assists/game

FG %

FT %

#18 Draymond Green

17.6

8.6

4.1

.426

.683

With Michigan State losing most of its scoring from last season the Spartans are going to have to rely on Draymond Green to step up and take on the scoring load. 17.6 points per game is a lot but he, and the Spartans, are going to need more.  Michigan States Success depends on Green’s success.

Team Name Rank
Iowa Matt Gatens # 19
Nebraska Jorge Brian Diaz # 20
Penn State Tim Frazier # 21

These three teams need these players to step up and lead them on their journey this upcoming season.  In order for these teams to have any success they each need their main/star player to have strong seasons in hopes of making it into the pool for the NCAA Tournament.

For your liking to compare these players in their play last year (or otherwise specified).

Name 2010-2011 stats Points/game Rebounds/game Assists/game FG % FT %
#1 Tim Hardaway Jr.

13.9

3.8

1.7

.420

.765

#2 Jared Sullinger

17.2

10.2

1.2

.541

.784

#3 Robbie Hummel

*2009-2010 stats

15.7

6.9

2.1

.456

.902

#4 Trevor Mbakwe

13.9

10.5

1.3

.582

.629

#5 Jordan Taylor

18.1

4.1

4.7

.433

.832

#6 Cody Zeller

*Incoming Freshman

#7 Ralph Sampson III

10.2

5.4

1.6

.471

.739

#8 Christian Watford

16

5.4

1.1

.422

.843

#9 Lewis Jackson

8

3.2

4

.503

.716

#10 Brandon Paul

9

3.1

2.1

.399

.767

#11 William Buford

14.4

3.9

2.9

.462

.843

#12 Verdell Jones III

12.5

3.3

3.2

.448

.672

#13 John Shurna

*3pt %= .434

16.6

4.9

2.6

.481

.707

# 14 Mike Bruesewitz

4.6

3.1

1

.471

.759

#15 Jacob Lawson

Incoming Freshman

Advertisements

In this post I’m going to talk about some of the reasons why I like Butler to advance not only to the Elite 8 but to the Final Four.

I’m not sure if a team can be considered the Cinderella team two years in a row but I like Butler this year as the “Underdog” once again.  This season (including the NCAA tournament games) Butler is only 3-3 against teams that made it into the tournament.  Their losses were against Louisville (Nov. 16th 2010), Duke (Dec. 4th 2010), and Xavier (Dec. 9th 2010) and their wins against Florida State (Dec. 23rd 2010), Old Dominion (March 17th 2011), and Pittsburgh (March 19th 2011).  Some would say this is a weak resume against teams in the tournament, only two of those teams are left in the tournament not including Butler.  I would have to agree with this claim, that’s not very impressive.  However, the Bulldogs are tough and know how to win tough close games.

“This team is tough because Matt Howard is tough” -Butler Guard Ronald Nored (article from espn.com, Matt Howard leads Butler to Sweet 16) link to article:  http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/tournament/2011/columns/story?columnist=oneil_dana&id=6246779

Howard's workhorse mentality and leadership gives Butler the boost they need to win games

I like Butler making its second trip to the Final Four in two years because of the fact they have Matt Howard.  Howard isn’t the most versatile or flashy player in the game but he gets it done with hard work and hustle.  His energy and work ethic motivates his teammates to work hard and to get better.  They respond to his on and off court leadership. He also leads the team in points per game (16.7) and rebounds per game (7.8).  Howard’s hustle is also second to none.  He has one speed, GO (To quote the great Charlie Sheen) and he doesn’t stop til the game is over. You have to admire that from an athlete that is so gifted.  His hustle and toughness though have gotten him to trouble at times.  Last season he was known to get into foul trouble, this year he’s done better and seems to be playing under more control, which is good news for Bulldogs fans.

I also like Butler’s coach Brad Stevens.  Even though he’s a young coach he knows the game exceptionally well and relates to his players on a very personal level.  You can tell his players respect him and want to play for him.  He brings a sense of family to the program which has not only brought him closer to his players but the whole team and faculty closer together.  Another good thing about Stevens’ youth is that he brings a certain energy to the game that most coaches can only attempt to bring.  I also like his composure. His calm and collected attitude mixed with his passion and energy vibes perfectly with his team.

Shelvin Mack needs to continue his hot shooting to help Butler reach the Elite 8

Shelvin Mack, absolutely lit up the the first round.  In order for Butler to be successful the Bulldogs need more big games out of Mack.  Which I think he’ll have.  He was a part of the amazing run Butler had last year and knows what is needed of him to make the same type of run.  I’m not saying he needs to put up another 30 points but he needs to hit big 3’s with the shot clock winding down or hit open looks (I guess you could say that about any shooter).

I like this team a lot. I think their unselfishness on the offensive end will help them get good looks against the Badgers defense.  The Badgers will put up a great fight but Butler wins in a close game.  I also like Butler in the Elite 8, whether they play BYU or Florida. I like the way they match up against both teams and believe they’ll be successful and will see themselves in Houston!


If you ask me this tournament blows.  Honestly I want to watch the best teams from the entire year not just who got hot for a week or maybe even two! However, I’m here to give my thoughts on the upcoming Sweet 16 match-ups. Hope you enjoy!

East Region:

  • Ohio State vs. Kentucky: Ohio State has been the most consistent and dominating team this season.  Winning the regular season Big Ten title and the Big Ten Conference championship.  Although Kentucky has shown some toughness and good play I don’t see much hope for the Wildcats.  As much as I hate to say it, Ohio State will most like dominate the Wildcats and move on to the Elite 8 with another very impressive victory.
  • Marquette vs. North Carolina:  Marquette has been a surprise this tournament (just as every other team left besides a few).  I had Marquette losing 1st round but they’ve proven me wrong not just once but by also beating Syracuse.  Everybody wants to talk about playing close to home…I don’t think that means anything come tournament time. Marquette took down Syracuse in Newark, New Jersey and Purdue got pounded by VCU in Chicago.  And UCN barely escaped Washington in their own back yard, Washington had traveled somewhere close to 2,000 miles compared to UNC only going about 140 miles.  If you watched the UNC/Washington game you’ll agree that UNC didn’t win that game but Washington lost that game.  I’m still not impressed with the TarHeels but think they have just as good of a shot as anybody but, I think Marquette will prevail in this one by playing tough defense and breaking down UNC’s almost non-existent defense at the other end of the floor.  Marquette > UNC in a close game.

West Region:

  • Duke vs. Arizona: Duke escaped Michigan by a two point margin, which nobody expected to happen. Arizona took down Texas on a 3 point play by Derrick Williams in the closing seconds of the game.  Two close games that two good teams won.  But, Duke has been here before in more recent history.  I think Nolan Smith and Kyrie Irving will be able to lock down Arizona’s guard but the opposite will not happen.  Duke needs a hot shooting night from Seth Curry if they don’t want to make it interesting.  I think Derrick Williams will have a big game but Duke wins.  I think Coach K’s squad wants to be the team that ties Bob Knight’s all time wins record for Coach K, just a little extra motivation.
  • Uconn vs San Diego State: I feel bad for anybody who has SDSU going any further than this game.  One of my friends has BYU and SDSU in the final game with SDSU winning it all.  He knows nothing about college basketball but might be on to something.  I don’t usually like to be proven wrong but hey it happens.  However, I think Uconn is just too tough and has better big game experience.  Plus, Uconn has Kemba Walker, whose in the running for Player of the Year (POY).  I don’t see SDSU’s luck making it past the Sweet 16.  Uconn wins by 9.

Southwest Region:

  • Kansas vs. Richmond: I think it’s fair to say that this region is a mess.  I hate it.  I’m not looking forward to watching these games.  I think this game in particular is going to be a blow out.  Kansas wins big, that’s all I have to say.  Actually, the Morris Twins are going to win this game with a bit of help from the guards (getting them the ball that is). Sorry Richmond, your Cinderella story is over.
  • VCU vs. FSU: I don’t want to watch this game. Maybe VCU will prove me wrong but I see them cooling off this round after 4 days off.  I strong feel that out of the 16 teams left that only 6 or 7 belong, and these two teams are not in that category.  Regardless FSU wins with good defensive and and rebounding.

Southeast Region:

  • Butler vs. Wisconsin: For once I’m actually looking forward to watching this game.  I think it’s going to be interesting watching the two different styles play.  I think Bo Ryan and his defense will be able to hold Butler in Check.  But, if Shelvin Mack stays hot he’s going to be hard to stop which could frustrate the Badgers.  But, I think Butler is at it again and pulls off another so called upset and advances to the Sweet 16 for the second straight year in a row on a buzzer beater by Howard!
  • BYU vs. Florida: I think Jimmer stays hot and frustrates Florida’s defense.  I like Florida’s team play and their ability to get open looks.  However, this is the one year where mid-majors have whooped big conferences butts so I’m going BYU in this game.

I’ve basically been wrong with every prediction.  But like I said before they’re only predictions.  So if you want your team to win that I have winning don’t hate me when they get beat.  And if I have your team losing and they win I don’t want to hear any smack talk about how wrong I was.  Like I said I’m not looking forward to watching too many of these games. I think once it’s down to the Final Four, when the best teams left weed out the undeserving competition, it’ll be much more interesting. Until then sit back and have a nice cold one to help you get through this weekends games.  I’ll be posting some more in depth reports later tonight and tomorrow before games resume on Thursday. Keep your eyes open for new posts!

Thanks for reading everyone!

1st Round Predictions!


I have a few thoughts on this Thursday’s match ups.  I think the nation will be shocked by what they will see and even more shocked by my predictions and upsets I have picked. All these games I have on my bracket (I only have one bracket. I hate people who have a billion brackets filled out.  Your bound to be successful in one pool if you fill out 10 brackets, amateurs).

East Region: 1st Round

The Sycamores have the ability to shoot lights out from behind the arc. Don't be surprised if they pull off the 1st round upset

  • Obviously I have Ohio State advancing.
  • George Mason/Villanova is a tough pick but I’m going with George Mason
  • West Virginia over the play team (Clemson/UAB)
  • Kentucky over Princeton
  • I have Xavier over Marquette
  • Indiana St. over Syracuse ( I know I’m crazy but, I have a feeling ISU will shoot well against the zone. That’s  just me though)
  • Washington over Georgia big time
  • North Carolina over Long Island

West Region: 1st Round

Oakland has shown their ability to put up points in bunches. Look for the high scoring Golden Grizzlies to show up the low scoring Longhorns of Texas

  • Duke over Hampton, of course
  • Michigan over The Vols
  • Arizona over Memphis
  • Oakland > Texas.  Call me crazy but Texas has been struggling to score and the boys from Oakland have experience and can put points on the board. They put up 100+ twice this season including once in their conference tourney
  • Mizzou bests Cincy
  • Uconn pounds Bucknell
  • Penn St pulls out the shocker
  • San Diego State gets past Northern Colorado

Southwest Region: 1st Round

Kelsey Barlow has been suspended for the remainder of the season. His lockdown D could be missed in the backcourt when Lewis Jackson needs a breather

  • Kansas over Boston (Kansas has a crappy track record against teams that start with “B”. Does Bucknell or Bradley ring a bell?) However, I think the Jayhawks have this one
  • Illinois over UNLV
  • Vandy over Richmond, this was a tough one to pick too
  • Louisville > Morehead St. Gotta love the in state match up though!
  • Georgetown over play in (USC/VCU)
  • Purdue over St. Peter’s (Although losing Kelsey Barlow for the season hurts I think Purdue has enough guard depth, offensively, to still make a run)
  • Texas A&M over Florida St. I have no clue on this one. Simply went with the higher seed on this one
  • Notre Dame over Akron

Southeast Region: 1st Round

The Aggies won 30 games this season. Look for them to come out confident against the inconsistent kansas State Wildcats

  • Pitt over NC-Ashville
  • Butler ousts Old Dominion
  • Utah St pulls out a thriller against Kansas St ( I don’t care who you play you don’t win 30 games by accident.  I see Utah St. shocking the nation only in the new 2nd round, field of 64)
  • Wisconsin over Belmont. Bo Ryan will have his guys ready to go
  • St. John’s I feel will clobber Gonzaga
  • BYU escapes a close one against Wofford
  • Michigan State surprises everybody by actually showing up to play and beating UCLA
  • Florida wins it’s only game of the tournament against UC-Santa Barbara

I’ve mentioned in a reply to a comment that I’ve received that I’m unhappy and strongly disagree with some of the seedings.  Some of the match ups will be interesting and I see a lot of potential upsets.  The above mentioned upsets may sound ridiculous but how many people picked George Mason to make the run they made a few years back? They may be unlikely and I realize this.  However, anything can happen and if I call these games correctly I look like a genius and if not who really cares. I could care less either way.

I would like to hear all of your thoughts and points of views.  Especially if you think some different upsets may happen I’d be very interested in hearing your reasons of why.  Leave a comment and let everyone else know your opinion.

Thanks everybody for reading!

Michigan State vs. Ohio State


I would be lying if I said I expected Tom Izzo and the Michigan St. Spartans to walk into Columbus and win against Ohio St.  However, after a very strong first half against the Buckeyes I thought I was watching the Spartan team everybody expected to see this season.  While watching the game on my lagging laptop in the middle of my night class I was able to notice a few things, mainly during the second half.

One thing I noticed very early was the calling of the refs.  I’m not going to blame the Spartans loss on the referee’s but when a team shoots 6 free throws compared to the home teams 29 free throw attempts one has reason to question the calls made during this game.  Michigan State made 5 of their 6 attempts (83.3%) while Ohio State made 23 of their 29 attempts (79.3%).  For all you non-math majors out there that’s 18 more points basically given to the Buckeyes.  Like I said I don’t think the refs cost the Spartans this game but personally I thought there were some pretty one sided calls all night.  When one team shoots 23 more free throws than another team, especially the home team, my “homered” meter sky rockets! However, I will speak my pleasure of the referee who FINALLY called Sullinger for a hooking call with his elbow.  Touche sir, somebody finally got it.

Another thing I noticed was Michigan State turning the ball over in crucial moments.  Not only were the Spartans turning the ball over when they really needed a bucket they were turning the ball over constantly.  The Spartans had 19 turnovers! Compare that to OSU’s 7 and you have yourself a recipe for disaster.  When you have close to 20 turnovers in a game your chances of winning are cut dramatically.  Michigan State averages 14 turnovers per game, this problem could be given credit to MSU’s sub par season thus far.

The last thing I noticed about MSU’s performance tonight was their inability to make shots when they needed to.  This was due in part to turning the ball over and Ohio State’s defense forcing the Spartans offense out of rhythm.  The Spartans simply choked the last 8-10 minutes of the game when making shots really counted.  Granted, Ohio State played really good defense and didn’t let the Spartans get very many good looks.

As mentioned above I didn’t expect to watch MSU beat Ohio State at home tonight.  After Ohio State’s loss in Madison this weekend I had the feeling they would be playing with a bit of a chip on their shoulder.  Coming home after a loss is always a good thing too.  I admit that my predictions on Ohio State earlier this season were far from right.  Even after Ohio State lost to Wisconsin I think they deserve the #1 ranking.  Yeah, many people want to argue for a 3 loss team in Texas but even with Texas’s RPI and Strength of Schedule Ohio State still is the best team in college basketball as of right now.  There was no argument for either Kansas or Texas before Ohio State’s loss and after losing in the Kohl Center, where Wisconsin and Bo Ryan are basically unbeatable, and there still shouldn’t be.  Make no mistake, I am not jumping on the OSU bandwagon. I hate Ohio State just as much as any non-Ohio State fan.  I was born to despise Ohio State and I always will.  But, being a college basketball fan you have to be unbiased and realistic (which some may argue I was not earlier and rightfully so).

Just a side note: I can’t wait until the Badgers at Purdue rematch tomorrow night! I was in Madison when Purdue visited the Kohl Center (I was in the student section decked out in all my Purdue gear) and it was awesome.  I was very surprised by the Boilers early second half surge to take a 9 point lead halfway through the second half.  Even though I knew a win at the Kohl Center was damn near impossible I was a little upset that my Boilers lost.  After the game I realized I snowed in for the Night and had to call up one of my buddies who knows Jordan Taylor, who I actually got to meet and had a brief conversation with.  It was awesome.  But, I look forward to my Boilermakers to reclaim some pride by defeating the Badgers in Mackey Arena tomorrow night! I look for the Boilermakers to reclaim sole position of 2nd place in the Big Ten with a victory of 8 points.

Wisconsin @ Michigan State


It certainly was a cold night in Michigan Tuesday night.  As the Wisconsin Badgers traveled to neighboring state Michigan to face the Michigan State Spartans in a Big Ten battle.

Michigan State started off rather slow and the Badgers jumped out and took an early lead that lasted up until the final remaining minutes of the game.  It looked as if Bo Ryan and his Badgers were going to accomplish their sixth straight win over the Spartans.  Suddenly the Spartans made some huge baskets and tied the score as the final seconds came to a close sending the game into overtime.

Michigan State ended up winning 64-61 in impressive fashion. The Spartans so far have been a team of huge confusion.  Now their record sits at 11-5, not bad, but they dropped what should have been a rather easy game against Penn State earlier this week.  I’m not taking anything away from the Nittany Lions, as I’ve said they’re a team that can make things interesting in the Big Ten.  And, I continue to respect and have high regards for the Spartans. Tom Izzo always has a tough team and they know how to win big games.  And boy did they need a big win tonight against Wisconsin.

The Spartans did an excellent job on the defensive side of the ball all game long and held Jon Leuer to only 10 points the entire game.  I think this was their key to success tonight.  As a Purdue fan I wasn’t quite sure which team I wanted to win tonight and decided that seeing a good game is what I wanted to see.  I got what I wanted and was also able to do a bit of scouting for some upcoming games against the Boilers.  I think both teams could give Purdue some trouble with their big men and lack of depth at the big man position.  However, I think match-ups at the 1-3 positions are going to be fun to watch.  I still think Michigan State will finish second (Possibly tie for first) in the Big Ten and Wisconsin in the top 3.  Overall I saw really good things from both teams tonight. Yes, they both have much room to grow and improve but by Big Ten tourney time I think Wisconsin will still take that title and I look for both teams to make deep runs in March!

Big Ten Brutes


It’s no lie that the Big Ten is a tough conference.  The Big Ten currently has 5 teams ranked in the top 25 (ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll) and 1 team receiving votes.  To me this is impressive.  Only the  Big East has more ranked teams with 8, and that’s out of a 16 team conference.   I would be surprised to see the Big Ten  pick up any more ranked teams starting conference play.  The Big Ten is going to beat the crap out of each other…literally.  As for the Big East, I see them losing ranked teams as conference play continues.

When I look at the Big Ten a few teams stick out to me.  Of course Purdue, Michigan State, and Ohio State.  Some might be questioning my mentioning of Michigan St.  Yes, it’s true that they’ve only posted a sub par 9-4 record but remember their strength of schedule.  Tom Izzo even said that he was concerned with the amount of miles he was putting on his team traveling wise earlier this season, let alone the opponents they were playing (Duke, Uconn, Syracuse, and Texas who are all ranked).  Michigan State is and will continue to be a tough team to beat.  A lot of people seem to be selling Purdue short still.  That’s fine, I like flying under the radar.  Flying under the radar with a #10 rank isn’t heard of very often.

Ohio State.  Here’s where I’ll probably upset some readers but it’s my blog and this is how I roll.  I don’t see Ohio State holding on to their #2 ranking or even maintaining a top ten rank.  I think Sullinger is relied upon too much by the Buckeyes and this will hurt them come conference play.  The Big Ten is full of top notch big men and I think this will get to Sullinger and frustrate him.  Let me not fail to mention that Ohio State hasn’t played anybody! I see the Buckeyes flopping like a fish out of water once they get into conference play.

I also want to mention some teams to keep an eye out for in the Big Ten.  Illinois(#20), Wisconsin, Michigan, and Northwestern.  Illinois and Wisconsin always find themselves at the top of the conference making runs at the conference title.  Bo Ryan will have his Badgers ready to go every Big Ten game especially at home.  Illinois, let’s face it.  They figure out ways to win better than any other team in the Big Ten.  That’s what they do.  Michigan and Northwestern, well they make me nervous every time my Boilermakers play them. They have players and the ability to upset any team any night.  These two teams are no push over wins for anybody.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see either of these teams finish in the top 5 of the conference.

And…let’s not forget the ferocious Minnesota Gophers.  Currently ranked 21st I see them not winning the conference but making things interesting.  I think the Gophers, led by Coach Tubby Smith, have the potential to beat just about anybody.  They too make me nervous when they play Purdue.  After all, it was at Minnesota where Robbie Hummel tore his ACL! The Boilers ended up winning that game but it was ugly.  Penn State also has the potential to stir things up and make things interesting in the Big Ten.

Due to the tough schedule of the Big Ten I think this year your conference champion will have anywhere from 3 to 4 losses.  Plus, basketball (like all sports) is a funny game and anything can happen.  Here’s how I think the Big Ten will play out:

1-Purdue, 2-Michigan State, 3-Wisconsin, 4-Illinois, 5-Northwestern, 6-Ohio State, 7-Minnesota, 8-Indiana, 9-Michigan, 10-Penn State, 11-Iowa

I also see the Big Ten sending 7, if not 8 teams to the big dance.  Because of how this conference will pan out I think the seeds that these teams earn won’t represent how good they actually are.  And going on a gut feeling I see Wisconsin winning the Big Ten Tournament.