Big Ten M5: 01.15.13 Edition

Posted by Deepak Jayanti on January 15th, 2013

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  1. Every Spartan fan gasped when they saw Michigan State wing Branden Dawson holding his knee as he lay on the court against the Cornhuskers on Sunday. But head coach Tom Izzo has confirmed that everything is fine with his knee and he will be ready to play against Penn State on Wednesday. The sophomore has averaged 10.5 PPG and 6.1 RPG this season but is very instrumental on the defensive end of the court. Dawson can guard multiple positions including the wing or the power forward slots because of his 230-pound frame. His teammates needs his intensity as the Spartans will host Ohio State on Saturday in East Lansing.
  2. We tend to forget that freshmen can get frazzled on the road during big games and Michigan’s loss to Ohio State on Sunday has reminded us that even the best freshmen such as Nik Stauskas and Glenn Robinson III can have a tough time. Even Wolverines’ head coach John Beilein admitted that the game might have been too big for his newcomers. Stauskas, who has averaged 13.5 PPG this season, was held scoreless in the game and missed all three of his shots from beyond the arc. The freshmen played well against Kansas State and Arkansas but a true road atmosphere against a rival team can throw a curve at the best of them. Robinson (12.3 PPG) scored eight points but shot just 3-of-9 from the field and was exposed defensively while guarding Deshaun Thomas and Lenzelle Smith Jr.
  3. Speaking of Ohio State, the Buckeyes rose to the occasion to prevent their arch-rival from claiming the top national ranking. The rivalry between both programs is much bigger in football but the basketball players still care about the big game. Senior forward Evan Ravenel was very happy that he contributed in the huge win. The forward had a big-time dunk off the baseline during the final few minutes of the game, and ended up with six points. Deshaun Thomas also torched the Wolverines for 20 points and constantly attacked the basket during the second half.
  4. Indiana head coach Tom Crean has seen the Hoosiers program at its lowest point but now has them playing great basketball by following a disciplined but patient approach to the game. As the Hoosiers get ready to face Wisconsin at home tonight, Crean talked about how the “process” is finally paying off. The “process” this week is to understand how to put teams away after building a big lead. Jordan Hulls (53% 3FG) and his teammates ran out to a massive lead against the Gophers in the first half but only beat them by seven points because they couldn’t stop Minnesota from scoring in the second half. When asked about the game, Crean added, “We got complacent. We have to have that same edge, that same burst, we had in the first half.”
  5. After getting outplayed in every aspect of the game against Wisconsin (74-51), Illinois head coach John Groce is open to making several changes with his offense. One of the players who might be replaced in the starting lineup is senior forward Tyler Griffey. Griffey has averaged 7.8 PPG this season but hasn’t been effective since the team’s loss to Missouri, during which he scored 14 points. Groce needs consistent rebounding because once Nnanna Egwu (4.3 PPG) gets into foul trouble as he did against Wisconsin, the Illini simply get dominated on the boards. Mike Shaw, a 6’8″ forward who has played a total of 20 minutes all season long, saw 19 minutes of action against Wisconsin and impressed his coach with his effort. Groce complimented Shaw’s performance when asked about a bright spot from the game: “Mike Shaw played like his head was held under water. That’s what I’m looking for.”
Deepak Jayanti (251 Posts)


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