Big Ten M5: 11.01.13 Edition
Posted by Max Jakubowski on November 1st, 2013
- The Big Ten held their annual media day in Chicago on Thursday. Michigan State was the unanimous #1, followed by Michigan and Ohio State. For some unusual reason, the conference only releases the top three teams. It would have been interesting to see where teams like Iowa and Purdue were ranked, especially since they are expected to compete for a NCAA Tournament berths. The Preseason All Big Ten team was announced as well, with Michigan’s Glenn Robinson III and Mitch McGary, Michigan State’s Gary Harris and Adreian Payne, Ohio State’s Aaron Craft and Penn State’s Tim Frazier making the roster. One glaring omission was Wisconsin’s Sam Dekker.
- Richard Pitino of Minnesota and Chris Collins of Northwestern took in their first Big Ten Media Day Thursday. Both coaches are facing up hill challenges this year but are also building for the future. Pitino is finally out of the shadow from his Hall of Fame father, Rick, after landing a major Division 1 job at Minnesota. Pitino recently picked up another commitment this week, building upon an already strong 2014 class. Collins also announced that he will not totally blow up the Princeton offense that has long been Northwestern’s calling card. Collins is focusing on getting his team prepared defensively first before he moves to configure Northwestern’s offensive sets.
- Nebraska finished at the bottom of the conference last season and was picked to do the same again. That’s not keeping coach Tim Miles from saying that he expects more from his team this year. Miles believes he has enough fight on his team to not finish 12th again. The Cornhuskers return their second leading scoring from last year in Ray Gallegos, but others will need to step up to avoid another last place finish.
- Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo opened up about how Chicago has been a tough recruiting ground for the Spartans recently. The Spartans lost out on Jabari Parker last year, even after Izzo recruited him very aggressively. If losing out on Parker wasn’t bad enough, Izzo went 0-3 for the 2014 class out of Chicago, losing out on Tyler Ulis (Kentucky), Jahlil Okafor (undecided), and now Cliff Alexander. There were reports that Alexander might take an unofficial visit to East Lansing this weekend, but those reports were all but dashed when Alexander said he has “no relationship” with Izzo and the Spartans.
- While Michigan State is struggling in the recruiting department, Indiana picked up a major score Thursday, re-securing a commitment from James Blackmon Jr. Blackmon had actually committed to Indiana three years ago but decomitted back in August. Kentucky was long to be presumed the front-runner, but Tom Crean made a late surge to bring Blackmon back to Bloomington. Blackmon joins an Indiana recruiting class that includes fellow top 100 recruits Robert Johnson and Max Hoetzel.