Tag Archive: Michigan State



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

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What Should I do?


What should I do? should I admit that I was wrong about Ohio State? Should I admit that I’m terribly pissed off at Purdue’s performance Tuesday night in Columbus? Should I admit that I don’t think Michigan State is as good as I thought they were going to be? Should I admit that I absolutely hate Ohio State and have no other wish than for ESPN and other commentators to stop blowing OSU’s dicks? What should I do? Should I switch my blog’s topic to college football? Should I just completely give up on making predictions altogether? Should I just give up blogging and save everybody’s time? What should I do?

I’ll tell you what I’m going to do.  I’m going write a post about who, at this point in the season, I think should be in consideration for Player of the Year.  That’s what I’m going to do.  There’s 3 guys that really stand out to me at this stage of the season.  Jimmer Fredette, Kemba Walker(obviously), and JaJuan Johnson!

Jimmer Fredette just put on what is possibly the greatest show I’ve ever seen on a basketball court.  I haven’t seen much of Jimmer but that’s mainly due to BYU not getting much air time here in Wisconsin.  But, to my pleasure I got to watch him single handedly take down San Diego State Wednesday night.  The kid was amazing! He put up 43 points making it his second consecutive 40+ point game.  I personally had never seen such a performance from one player.  After looking at some of his stats I’m flabbergasted at just how good this kid is.  Some might argue that BYU isn’t really in that tough of a conference or this and that.  You know what? To score 26.7 points per game (before the stats of the SDSU game were added) you still have to put the damn ball in the bucket.  Fredette does just that.  He scores.  Whether it’s from the charity stripe (.900%), making jump shots or layups, or even from behind the arc (.410% from 3 point land) he puts the ball in the hoop.  He’s making his name a household name with his 40+ points nights.  I wouldn’t expect him to put 40+ from here on out every night but I wouldn’t be surprised if he put up a few more 30+ point nights.  Jimmer Fredette is a freakish scorer on the 9th ranked team in the nation and is currently 20-1(6-0).  If he doesn’t deserve Player of the Year then maybe one of these next two guys does.

Kemba Walker.  What hasn’t already been said about Kemba Walker?  I wanted to write a post solely on Kemba earlier this season but never quite found the time to get around to it.  Kemba is currently second in the nation in scoring with 24.4 PPG, only behind Jimmer Fredette from BYU (obviously mentioned above).  He’s also shooting .395% from behind the 3 point line and is sinking .831% of his free throws.  But what’s most impressive about Walker is his ability to take over a game and win the game for his Uconn Huskies.  On more than one occasion Kemba has been the star by hitting big last second game winners.  He’s also in a few games taken over earlier in the game and put up big numbers to give his Huskies comfortable leads that led to victories.  Kemba just might be the most deserving player of the Player of the Year award just from his last second heroics.  Between Kemba and Jimmer I have a tough time deciding who I think should win the award.  I sure wouldn’t want to be one of the voters this year.

My last guy is from Purdue.  It’s a well known fact that I’m a Purdue fan.  Some might say this is a “homer” blog, whatever the hell that means but hear me out.  JaJuan Johnson is leading the Big Ten in scoring with 20.6 PPG followed by Taylor Batter of Penn State with a 20.2 average.  Let’s take a closer look at JaJuan.  Tall, lanky, center that’s put on some muscle since coming in as a freshman 4 years ago and is a scoring force on the blocks, in the paint, with his mid range jumper, his turn around fade away, his nice little hook shot, his bringing the roof down dunks, and his 3 point shooting.  Yeah, I said it. His 3 point shooting.  As a center JaJuan is shooting .357% from 3 point land.  He’s a center shooting better than most guards from behind the arc.  Most of his looks from 3 point range aren’t always wide open shots either.  Teams have to extend their defense out to him and he’s knocking down 3’s with very little separation at all.  His ability to shoot from anywhere on the court this year is amazing and phenomenal.  I also want to point out that without JaJuan Johnson I don’t think Purdue has even 12 wins this season (that’s with Hummel out as well).  He’s the most important player on our team and has consistently showed everybody why he’s our go to guy in the crunch.  His toughness and determination has led the Boilermakers to their good start (with the exception of their game against Ohio State).  Johnson is the essence of the Player of the Year.  He leads his teams to victories and does it on a very consistent basis.  Like I said, without JaJuan Purdue at best has 12 wins thus far this season.  Do I think JaJuan will win the Player of the Year title? Probably not. But I think he should definitely be considered for the award.  He deserves it just as much as either Jimmer Fredette or Kemba Walker.

There you have it.  My top 3 players in the running for the Player of the Year award.  Don’t like it? Don’t read it.  What should I do now?

Tennessee Upset?


Last night (Dec. 14th) the Tennessee Volunteers were toppled by the Oakland(Michigan) Golden Grizzlies.  Vol fans have every right to be upset with their teams’ performance against the Golden Grizzlies Tuesday night.  But, is this loss really a surprise to college basketball fans?

I’m going to admit that I hadn’t heard much about Oakland before this game other than they only loss to Michigan St. by 1 point only a few days ago.  As a Purdue fan I also knew that Oakland gave my Boilermakers a tough game.  Other than that I was just as clueless to who the Golden Grizzlies are.  Oakland was down at halftime against the Vols 50-39.  Is it surprising that they came back to win the game 89-82?  I don’t think it is.

Oakland is led my 5th year senior Keith Benson, 18.8ppg (had 26 points and 10 rebounds against Tennessee).  Having a 5th year senior as your leader always makes a coach feel warm and fuzzy inside.  Benson has plenty of game experience and confidence to lead his team when it’s crunch time.  Oakland was last years Summit League champs and they look to repeat their success and to earn another birth into the big dance in March.

Coach Greg Kempe has intentionally put his team through a tough schedule and their record shows for it (6-5).  They’ve already played 4 ranked teams; Purdue, Illinois, Michigan St., and Tennessee.  They also have currently ranked #2 Ohio State on their schedule.  Coach Kempe after the game was not surprised by his team’s victory over the Volunteers.  “We’re not scared of anybody, We weren’t intimidated by the No. 7 team in the country because we had just played Michigan State, and we should have won that game. We had just played Illinois, and we could have won that game. I think those are big and can help us”-Kempe.

Oakland is currently 21st overall in the nation in scoring, putting up 80.5 points per game.  They are also bringing in 40.7 rebounds a game, 26th in the nation.  Their success on the boards has led to many second chance opportunities to score.  Mix these two keys to success with their solid team defense and you have yourself a winning program.  Oakland held the Vols to shoot just under 35% in the second half, including a 5 minute drought where Tennessee didn’t score one point.

Oakland’s track record thus far is very impressive.  They are now 1-3 vs ranked opponents, are the returning Summit League Champs, are led by a 5th year senior, and are ranked in the top 30 in scoring and rebounds per game.  I wasn’t as shocked as some  may have been to watch the Volunteers fall to Oakland.  The Oakland Golden Grizzlies are definitely a team to keep an eye on come March.