Big Ten M5: 11.27.12 EditionPosted by jnowak on November 27th, 2012
- With another big non-conference game looming with Michigan State’s trip to play at Miami on Wednesday, Tom Izzo said Monday that there’s a chance sophomore guard Travis Trice and possibly even freshman wing Gary Harris could get some minutes. The Spartans have missed the two badly — Harris is nursing a sprained shoulder and Trice has had concussion symptoms since the season opener — in their recent games. MSU snuck by Boise State and Louisiana-Lafayette at home and it’s been clear that the team is fatigued and more turnover-prone without two of its best run-and-gun players. Harris, also the team’s leading scorer, was expected to miss 2-3 weeks, but Izzo says his healing has progressed well.
- With this year’s ACC/Big Ten Challenge — the conference’s premier early-season event — on the horizon this week, BigTenNetwork.com is ranking the best games from this year’s Challenge. The ACC handled the Big Ten in the first 10 renditions of the Challenge before the Big Ten came storming back to take the crown the last three years. It seems as if the Big Ten is poised for an excellent all-around season, with Indiana, Ohio State and Michigan making a case for early Final Four picks, and depth is at an all-time high. Which games are you most looking forward to this week?
- Many didn’t know what to expect from Illinois this season under first-year head coach John Groce, but the early returns have been stellar. The Illini are undefeated after winning the always-prestigious Maui Invitational and, as the Chicago Sun-Times’ Herb Gould points out, every Maui Invitational champion since 1986 has gone on to the NCAA Tournament. Groce said he’s seen a lot of character in his young team, particularly in coming from behind in a few games. “Is [Maui] the end-all, be-all? No,” Groce told the Sun-Times. “We still have work to do. We have to rebound better. We have to foul less. We have to execute some things better offensively. By no means have we arrived. At the same time, we feel blessed to have had a chance to play for that trophy and to have won it.”
- It’s hard to imagine any single player means more to one team in the Big Ten than Tim Frazier does to Penn State. And now that he’s out for the season with a ruptured Achilles, the Nittany Lions are learning how to move on without him for the time being. “We can’t feel sorry for ourselves,” coach Patrick Chambers said Monday, according to StateCollege.com. “The text messages I received when he went down, the text messages I still receive, I went to the football game the other day and everybody is like, ‘I’m so sorry.'” Chambers says the team needs to find ways to work through it, and that starts with the flow of the offense finding its way without its natural point guard and senior leader.
- Purdue is certainly rebuilding this year, and the team’s long-term future may have taken a bit of a hit with an injury to recruit Kendall Stephens, a 6’5″ senior guard at St. Charles (IL) East High School. The Indianapolis Star‘s Jeff Washburn reported Monday that Stephens, who scored 30 points and was named MVP of a recent holiday tournament, is playing with a torn labrum in his right shoulder that is expected to require surgery. If so, he’s likely to miss summer workouts before his senior year, which can be a critical time in a freshman’s development if he is to contribute early.