Checking in on the… Big 10Posted by rtmsf on December 16th, 2008
Josh & Mike of Big Ten Geeks are the RTC correspondents for the Big Ten Conference.
It was a fairly uneventful week for the Big Ten, as most member squads feasted on cupcakes while preparing for finals. There were, however, a few exceptions. Ohio State won a defensive struggle against previously-undefeated Butler, giving the Buckeyes their third straight win over a top 40 team (according to Pomeroy). Ohio State continues to look a lot better than we Geeks expected, and it’s all due to the nation’s best defense according to adjusted defensive efficiency. Dallas Lauderdale’s insane shotblocking rate has been a huge part of that effort.
Indiana got a somewhat surprising – if very sloppy - win over a decent Texas Christian squad by dominating the offensive glass and forcing TCU into even more turnovers than they themselves committed (which was already a lot). This latter feat isn’t unusual for the Hoosiers – they’re currently second in the nation in combined turnover rate (TO% plus Opponent’s TO%), trailing only Savannah State. Needless to say, this does not make for aesthetically pleasing games. Indiana kept this personality intact at Kentucky, winning the turnover battle but losing the game by 18 points.
Final exams are underway, so the marquee games will have to wait until Saturday, when three big matchups will occur on “neutral” floors (with varying degrees of neutrality). Purdue takes the short trip to Indianapolis and gets their last chance for an impressive nonconference victory as they face Davidson. Michigan State travels to Houston to face a tough Texas squad. Finally, Minnesota travels to Glendale, AZ, and puts their perfect record on the line against an excellent Louisville team.
A Look at the Numbers
If you couldn’t guess, that horrid showing up above 29% is Indiana. The fact that the conference average has managed to drop while the Hoosiers cough it up constantly makes the feat even more impressive.