Big Ten Morning Five: 02.24.12 Edition
Posted by Deepak Jayanti on February 24th, 2012
- Somebody please stop Iowa‘s Matt Gatens. Gatens has been on fire of late and he continued his hot shooting against Wisconsin as he put up 33 points last night. He shot 70% from the field and scored career-high for the second straight game. Fran Mccaffery has done a phenomenal job with the Hawkeyes this year because they are making a serious late season push for an NCAA bid. The season sweep of the Badgers resulted in the students rushing the court.
- Tubby Smith‘s Gophers badly miss quality point guard play as they have been piling on the turnovers over the last two games. Smith is disappointed because his team turned the ball over four times during the final two minutes on Wednesday night after coming off a loss over the weekend when they had 19 turnovers against Northwestern. Minnesota still has hope of the NCAA tournament if they can end the season with a couple wins and make some noise in the early rounds of the Big Ten conference tournament.
- Bruce Weber finally has a supporter – Meyers Leonard. Leonard defended his coach and made it clear that Illinois’ losing skid goes beyond Weber’s coaching. While it is comforting to see one of the players come to the coach’s support, Illini need more than words if they hope to contain the red-hot Hawkeyes on Sunday in Assembly Hall. Illinois better step up on defense otherwise Matt Gatens will make them pay from beyond the arc.
- Tom Izzo can’t avoid questions about how this Michigan State squad compares to his prior teams that made deep runs in March. He believes that Draymond Green and company could beat the 2000 National Championship team mainly because he wants to support the current group of guys. Mateen Cleaves and Morris Peterson might have something to say about that matchup. Keith Appling would have his hands full with the legendary Spartan guards and Charlie Bell coming off the bench.
- Even though Northwestern missed a golden opportunity to lock in a win against a top 15 team on Tuesday night, they still have a chance at an NCAA bid if they can win two out of the next three games to end the season. They match up well against Penn State and Iowa if they can take care of the ball. Bill Carmody is stressing ball control and believes that John Shurna ought to take over games during the closing minutes. Penn State can expect Shurna to give them one of his best performances on Saturday.