Big Ten Weekly Five: 08.10.12 EditionPosted by Deepak Jayanti on August 10th, 2012
- The schedule for the Big Ten – ACC Challenge for next season has been announced. The annual showcase event features excellent match-ups including a game between two preseason Top 10 teams – NC State and Michigan – in Ann Arbor on November 27 on ESPN. Both of these teams have high expectations headed into next season and Michigan sophomore guard Trey Burke has been vocal about the Wolverine’s chances to potentially win the NCAA title. The 14th annual Challenge has been one of the best non-conference events between the two legendary powerhouse conferences and the Big Ten will be going for its fourth straight overall victory this time around. Other top match-ups include North Carolina at Indiana and Ohio State at Duke. Duke will be looking for payback against OSU after getting thumped in Columbus, 85-63, in last year’s game.
- Speaking of television schedules, ESPN released its “Gameday” schedule for the 2012-13 season and it includes a stop in Bloomington on February 2, 2013. Michigan will visit Indiana on that Saturday as both of the teams should be in a tight race for the B1G conference title by early February. Indiana is the clear favorite to take the championship with several key returning starters — Cody Zeller, Christian Watford, Victor Oladipo — along with the highly rated freshman guard, Yogi Ferrell. Michigan also returns three key starters in Jordan Morgan, Tim Hardaway, Jr., and Trey Burke to go along with another top 20 recruiting class next season. The “Gameday” event should only boost the media attention that this game with receive in addition to being a potential Top 10 match-up midway through the season.
- A few years ago, a highly rated recruit named Eric Gordon de-committed from Illinois and chose to go play at rival Indiana instead (sorry Illinois fans). Trey Lyles, a top 10 forward in the 2014 class from the state of Indiana had committed to the Hoosiers a couple of years ago, but he now has de-committed and is looking at other options. The 6’9″ forward has not ruled out Tom Crean’s Hoosiers as one of his destinations but wants to explore things further before making a final decision. Lyles has been ranked in the top 50 by CBSSports.com and will continue to get more attention by other programs due to his versatility on the floor. Crean has proven himself as an excellent recruiter dating back to his days at Marquette and this decision may just end up being minor hiccup if Indiana continues to surge and make the Final Four during the 2012-13 season. Crean was able to convince a top 20 class with Yogi Ferrell to come to Bloomington during their down years so the sky is the limit for recruiting once IU is back on the national stage with more postseason success.
- More on the recruiting front, new Illinois head coach John Groce continues to receive good news from some of the top high school prospects. Kendrick Nunn, a top 75 recruit in the 2013 class has narrowed down his final five destinations and Illinois is one of them. Nunn is a 6’2″ shooting guard and his high school teammate, Jabari Parker, is arguably the best high school player in the class. Illinois will be adding former Drake wing Rayvonte Rice for the 2013-14 season and Nunn’s commitment should improve Groce’s efforts to bring Illinois back to the top-tier of the Big Ten after the last few disappointing seasons under Bruce Weber. Groce will have stiff competition from his former mentor, Thad Matta, as Ohio State is also on Nunn’s final list in addition to Marquette, Memphis and UCLA.
- Shifting topics from potential newcomers in the B1G to recent alumni of the conference, former Purdue star Robbie Hummel will be playing in Europe in the near future. Hummel will sign with a Spanish club and will begin his professional career outside of the NBA. He was drafted #58 overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves but chose to try Europe first. Hummel’s game fits very well in Europe which rewards forwards with shooting range and the ability to hit the boards as most of the European forwards seem to possess both skills. He shot 38% from beyond the arc last season but also averaged 7.2 RPG. Hoops fans should not be surprised to see Hummel come back from Europe after some professional experience to add value to an NBA franchise due to his high basketball IQ and well-known perserverance.