Big Ten M5: 01.08.13 EditionPosted by jnowak on January 8th, 2013
- Entering this season, there was a clear-cut choice for the National Player of the Year, and he plays for one of the Big Ten’s top teams. But, as impressive as Cody Zeller has been for Indiana, it’s a different conference rival who is emerging as another top candidate for the award. NBCSports.com‘s Rob Dauster writes that Michigan sophomore guard Trey Burke is a more likely recipient for the honor than many may think, despite his fantastic play of late. Burke’s offensive rating of 136.4 is by far the best for any guard in the country who accounts for at least 24 percent of his team’s possessions, and his assist-to-turnover rate has been staggering while he’s managed to also score at a remarkable rate. Michigan has been the most impressive team in the Big Ten so far this season, and it’s hard to disagree with Dauster’s opinion here.
- One of the thing that makes Indiana so dangerous this season is its tremendous depth at every position. And as the Hoosiers hunker down for the brutal Big Ten slate, Tom Crean wants to see that depth on display. Terry Hutchens writes that Crean is expecting to see more out of frontcourt players Jeremy Hollowell, Hanner Mosquera-Perea, Peter Jurkin and Derek Elston. In their defense, each of the four has missed time this season either because of injury or NCAA sanctions, so it may take some time to get into a rhythm on the floor. But the time is now, otherwise the Hoosiers could be finding themselves looking up at another first-place team in the standings.
- Michigan State freshman Gary Harris‘ season has been impressive on a number of fronts — he had a career-high 22 points on Saturday against Purdue — and it’s even more so after we got some new information from Tom Izzo on Monday. Izzo told reporters that Harris not only had a left shoulder injury earlier in the year that forced him to miss some time, but that his right shoulder also popped out briefly in a practice before the Texas game around the holidays. “He’s dealt with it, he’s handled it, but I tell you what… ” Izzo said, according to the Detroit Free Press. “There’s certain things you can say and not say in this job, because you don’t want to give things away. But when I sit there and watch that kid the other day, I’m amazed how far he’s come, considering the injuries he’s had. Incredible feat.” The Spartans are surely hoping Harris won’t be missing any more time, or any chances at a Big Ten title will likely go out the window.
- Fran McCaffery has had his hands full trying to rejuvenate the basketball program at Iowa, and there certainly have been flashes over the last few years. The Hawkeyes finished on a strong note last year and really got out of the gates hot this season. But the Big Ten season is a wake-up call, and that’s exactly what Iowa got this weekend when it was trounced by Michigan. All of a sudden, according to Mike Hlas, the Hawkeyes went from looking like a group positioning itself for an NCAA Tournament berth to one on the outside looking in. Games against Indiana, Michigan and Michigan State are an awfully unpleasant way to start the season, but things can only get better from here. Right?
- A number of outlets (including RTC) circulated a YouTube video from Michigan State’s win against Purdue on Saturday afternoon that shows Branden Dawson doing something after a basket in the face of Purdue’s Travis Carroll. It was speculated by some — i.e., whoever posted the video — that Dawson was punching Carroll, while others pointed out that Carroll hardly moves in the replay and it seems more likely that Dawson was merely celebrating Gary Harris’ basket. Whatever the case may be, Tom Izzo said Monday that the university and the conference have reviewed footage of the tape and there will be no disciplinary action taken.