Big Ten Morning Five: 03.07.12 Edition

Posted by jnowak on March 7th, 2012

  1. What can we expect from Ohio State this weekend in Indianapolis? Many are unsure, and that includes the Columbus Dispatch’s Rob Oller. The Buckeyes are just 4-3 in their last seven games, and it’s hard to say how that Sunday date in East Lansing would have gone if Michigan State had Branden Dawson for the duration. But Ohio State has battled through its late-season troubles for a share of the Big Ten title. The question is, where do they go from here? Is this the same team many people thought could run the table in the Big Ten? They’ve had role players step up in the last few weeks, but does Thad Matta’s group have the depth to make a run? Only one way to find out.
  2. As of Tuesday, ESPN‘s Joe Lunardi had Northwestern as one of the last four teams in his mock NCAA Tournament bracket. But CBSSports.com‘s Jerry Palm tells Teddy Greenstein that Northwestern needs to win two games in the Big Ten Tournament to seal a bid in the Big Dance. That would mean a win against Minnesota on Thursday, and then an upset of two-seed Michigan on Friday in the second round. It seems the Wildcats’ fate is in their own hands.
  3. Fran McCaffery made no bones about his thoughts on the All-Big Ten teams and how it relates to his Hawkeyes. McCaffery said on his weekly radio show early this week that he believes Matt Gatens should have been on the first team. “I voted him on the first team,” McCaffery said. “I think Matt Gatens is one of the five best players.” McCaffery also said he felt Gatens — a second-team media selection and third-team coaches pick — also should have been on the All-Defensive team.
  4. Plenty of college basketball pundits around the country love hammering the RPI, so why not give this system that a Minnesota graduate student came up with a try? Luke Stanke has developed a statistical model that he says can more fairly choose and seed the 68 NCAA Tournament teams and calls it the “Win Index.” Sounds like somebody’s got a lot of free time on his hands.
  5. It hasn’t been an easy road back for Purdue senior Robbie Hummel, but he was rewarded this week by being named to the All-Big Ten first team for the third time in his career. Hummel, who was part of the “Baby Boilers” class that helped bring Purdue back to the college basketball forefront, is averaging 22.6 points and 9.6 rebounds in Purdue’s last seven games. Hummel is the 18th Big Ten player to earn three first-team berths, and the first since Michigan State‘s Mateen Cleaves in 2000.
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