Big Ten M5: 02.20.13 EditionPosted by jnowak on February 20th, 2013
- Once again, Indiana‘s Victor Oladipo was front and center for the Hoosiers on Tuesday night, solidifying himself on the national stage among the front-runners for Big Ten and National Player of the Year, as well. He’s widely considered one of the most improved players in all of college basketball, and CBSSports.com‘s Jeff Goodman has the story of Oladipo’s transformation. Ever since he was a teenager, Oladipo has had to prove doubters wrong, working to improve his dribbling and his shooting to round out a game that is large on speed and athleticism. He’s become one of the best all-around players in the Big Ten, and a huge reason the Hoosiers have had such success this year.
- There hasn’t been a more up-and-down team in the Big Ten this year than Illinois, which has always been dangerous and lately has been downright lethal. The Illini surprised just about everybody when they started off the season so well, then they fell off once Big Ten play started. They rebounded exceptionally well after that, and Brandon Paul says a lot of that credit goes to the coaches, who “never gave up on [them]” this season. In the past, when things got bad at Illinois, they stayed that way — one bad loss would lead to another and so on. But this suggests a different culture in Champaign and it certainly seems to be for the better.
- Just because Wisconsin walk-on seniors Dan Fahey and J.D. Wise don’t find their names in the box score often doesn’t mean that they haven’t contributed to the Badgers’ exceptional run this season. The two rarely make it off the end of the bench, but some of the Badger regulars credit the two of them for helping keep Wisconsin in check during practice and in preparation for the grueling Big Ten schedule. As Wisconsin prepares to take on Northwestern and its Princeton offense tonight, the work of those walk-ons will be put to the test.
- If there’s a team you want to go up against with your NCAA Tournament chances on the line, you can’t do much better in this conference than facing Nebraska. That’s the case for Iowa, which still holds a slim hope at making the Big Dance. To do so, they absolutely have to sweep its remaining two meetings against the Cornhuskers. The Hawkeyes are on the outside looking in as far as the NCAA Tournament bubble is concerned right now, but they still have a chance. “You don’t want to pretend like it’s not out there,” Fran McCaffery said. “They turn on the TV and that’s all everybody is talking about.”
- Sometimes, when it rains, it pours. That seems to be the case for Ohio State, which can’t seem to do much right lately. The Buckeyes are slipping in the Big Ten standings, can’t find much scoring outside of Deshaun Thomas and don’t have much of an identity at this point late in the season. So Zac Jackson says they may just need a spark. Sometimes, though, all it takes is for one good thing to lead to another. There’s never been any doubt about the capability of this Ohio State group — it’s just a matter of them putting all the pieces together. Can just one thing jump-start them?