Big Ten M5: 12.28.12 Edition

Posted by jnowak on December 28th, 2012

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  1. No doubt it has been a frustrating season for Purdue and the Boilermaker fans, but the first step to fixing a problem is deciphering what has gone wrong. Jeff Washburn of the Lafayette Journal and Courier believes the Boilermakers know what the issues are, and the problems are rooted in the offense. Purdue misses players like Lewis Jackson and Robbie Hummel, who could orchestrate plays and take control of the offense in key stretches, but this year’s team simply does not shoot well from anywhere — the free throw line, the three-point line, or the field, in general. Everything from turnovers to senior leadership has a void, and it leaves Washburn wondering if Purdue can even find its way to an overall .500 record this season.
  2. Whether things are good or bad, Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan has a pretty strong poker face. And when things have not been going well at times this season — the Badgers have had a few tough losses and have been dealing with some injury setbacks all year — he has remained stoic. Now that the Big Ten season is here, the Badgers are hoping that his demeanor can help keep them calm as they head into the gauntlet. “It’s been done before,” senior forward Jared Berggren said of turning things around in January. “We’re by no means writing ourselves out of it this early in the season. There’s a lot of basketball left to play and Coach Ryan has proven that he knows how to get the job done as long as we listen and start applying it on the court a little better and more consistently.”
  3. Deverell Biggs, who is sitting out this season at Nebraska as a redshirt junior, was cited for drunken driving and leaving the scene of an accident in Omaha last Sunday. Biggs reportedly had a blood-alcohol content level of .134 after the 20-year-old backed his car into another vehicle after Biggs remained stopped at a red light. According to the Omaha World-Herald, Biggs talked to the man momentarily but drove away before the two could exchange information. He was later tracked down by the police and the rest is history. It is a black eye for him and the program after he became the first in-state player to sign with Nebraska in 11 years, transferring in from Seward County (Kansas) Community College, where he was a first-team All-American.
  4. When it came to hiring a new head coach, Illinois did not make headlines for its search. It is well known that several other candidates — Brad Stevens and Shaka Smart, namely — turned down the offer once the Fighting Illini parted ways with Bruce Weber. And when John Groce was hired away from Ohio, many were skeptical that his track record would translate to success in recruiting the greater Chicago area while competing in the Big Ten. Well, the Illini have certainly been in the headlines this year for their early showing. So far, at least, Groce has turned out to be a great hire — and the Chicago Tribune recognize that fact as one of the best sports decisions of the year for the area.
  5. Dunk you very much to the Big Ten Network for putting together this compilation of the conference’s best high-flying slam dunks of the non-conference season heading into Big Ten playaround the New Year. The league has some of the best athletes in the country — Branden Dawson and Adreian Payne at Michigan State, Victor Oladipo at Indiana, Rodney Williams at Minnesota, and Sam Thompson of Ohio State come to mind — and they are all showcased here. Which ones are your favorites?
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