Big Ten Morning Five: 03.15.12 EditionPosted by Ryan Terpstra on March 15th, 2012
- If the NIT is any indication of how the Big Ten will fare in today’s NCAA Tournament games, then I think the conference will be happy. Minnesota traveled to Philadelphia to take on LaSalle, and came away with a 70-61 win. While Tubby Smith’s crew didn’t have the season some wanted in Gopher-land, they have been playing better over the past couple weeks, and last night they showed off those improvements. One of the main reasons is the play of star forward Rodney Williams, who took control with 17 of his 21 points coming in the second half, including a monstrous dunk that showed off his athleticism.
- There is plenty to worry about when it comes to the NCAA Tournament. Travel, preparation, an unfamiliar opponent, and… altitude??? That’s exactly what Wisconsin has to deal with, as its game in Albuquerque is about 4,500 feet higher above sea level than Madison. The Badgers arrived Tuesday, and have been working on getting adjusted so that it doesn’t become a factor in its game against Montana. At this point, it’s not a matter of the team not being in shape; it’s being able to catch your breath in the heat of battle when the air is a little thinner.
- When you start four sophomores, many would say that your team lacks experience. But when all four of those sophomores suffered an early exit last year in the NCAA Tournament, they have enough experience to know that they don’t want to go through something like that again. Such is the case at Ohio State, who outside of William Buford, has four sophomores who watched Kentucky’s Brandon Knight hit a jumper with five seconds left last year to knock the Buckeyes out of the Tournament. It is a memory that guys like Jared Sullinger and Aaron Craft don’t want to repeat.
- It’s the time of year when changes are made in both the coaching ranks and in player personnel, and Penn State is suffering some attrition as sophomore guard Matt Glover has decided to transfer. Originally from California, the defensive stopper will move on to other opportunities for his basketball future.
- As Illinois moves on to find a replacement for Bruce Weber, the program still needs someone to lead it, and that someone is Jerrance Howard. The Illini assistant is currently the interim coach until a new one is named, and it’s his job to keep things in order until athletic director Mike Thomas makes a new hire. Whether that decision is made in a week or in a month, Howard will keep plugging along, doing his best to keep things running smoothly in Champaign.