Big Ten Morning Five: 02.17.12 Edition

Posted by jnowak on February 17th, 2012

  1. Wednesday night’s 67-62 loss to Purdue may have been the nail in the coffin as far as Bruce Weber‘s job goes at Illinois, and it only seems more so when you hear the coach address the situation. Weber sounded defeated after the game, claiming responsibility for many of the team’s shortcomings and admitting he should have done some things differently to help the Fighting Illini better succeed. “The sad thing about the whole thing — and I guess it’s my fault — is instead of creating toughness and developing a team, I coached not to lose all year,” Weber said, according to the Decatur Herald-Review. “That’s really sad.”
  2. What a difference a year makes in Bloomington. As the Indianapolis Star‘s Bob Kravitz points out, it wasn’t long ago that 20-win seasons were the norm for the Indiana basketball program. Then Kelvin Sampson happened. Tom Crean was brought in to pick up the pieces and, all of a sudden, Hoosiers fans were stuck with 20-loss seasons instead. But after going 12-20 a season ago, the Hoosiers have reached that 20-win plateau and it seems finally safe to say that basketball is back in Bloomington.
  3. When you think of great freshmen in the Big Ten, the names that quickly come to mind are Cody Zeller, Trey Burke, and Branden Dawson. But Iowa‘s Aaron White has been as good as any newcomer this season, and seems to have quite the future ahead of him with the Hawkeyes. White is averaging 10.2 PPG and a team-best 5.2 RPG and, after he was only lightly recruited out of high school, is quickly making coach Fran McCaffery look very bright for bringing him on board.
  4. Earlier this week, we took a look at the Big Ten’s four legitimate title contenders and what their remaining schedules mean for their quest for the crown. On Thursday, AnnArbor.com‘s Nick Baumgardner examined the four most important players for those contenders. And if you think the list is a no-brainer, with guys like Big Ten Player of the Year candidates Jared Sullinger and Draymond Green, think again.
  5. Michigan State‘s do-everything senior Draymond Green likes to talk a big game, but he’s also shown that he can back it up. Green is one of just a handful of front-runners for Big Ten Player of the Year,  but says he sometimes wishes he was playing in the past. “They changed the rules,” Green told the Detroit Free Press, in reference to the difference between the game now and in the ’80s. Not just all the talking, but “you could chuck somebody and get away with it. You could slam somebody and get away with it.” Right now, Green will have to settle for letting his game do most of the talking.
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