Big Ten Openers: Time to Judge the One-Game Judgements

Posted by Jonathan Batuello on November 11th, 2013

Opening weekend has come and gone, and every Big Ten team has played at least one game, with Illinois and Iowa suiting  up for two. After the weekend, the Big Ten sits at 14-0. Of course, such a short examination period isn’t the best time to make judgments, but they certainly were out in force for some teams and players. With this post, we will examine some of the potential overreactions involving Big Ten teams. We’ll also try to gauge if that overreaction could be warranted as something to worry about as the season progresses or if really it was a one-game situation that will be forgotten by next week.


Iowa is 2-0 and That’s About All That Matters at This Point


It was an impressive opening two games for Rayvonte Rice, shooting 55 percent from the floor while putting up 35 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Thinking the redshirt junior (he transfered from Drake and sat out last season) will sustain close to these numbers against better teams is foolhardy, though. A big question mark coming into the season was how accurate Rice would be (he shot 43.6 percent in his last season at Drake) and it’s unlikely his strong opening weekend shooting will continue. He’ll be good, but not this good all season.


It was quite the debut for heralded freshman Noah Vonleh, finishing with a double-double of 11 points and 14 rebounds. Some people even started comparing him to Cody Zeller after one game. Well, Vonleh certainly was spectacular in his debut, but let’s not put him down as an All-American already. This rebounding pace won’t continue at such a high rate and his offense still needs a lot of work. It’s likely he makes an All-B1G of some sort and could be Indiana’s best player, but one game against inferior competition isn’t All-American status just yet.


After almost tripling its opening night opponent, Iowa struggled Sunday night against Nebraska-Omaha and the bandwagon was getting smaller in a hurry. Really, though, it’s one game. Well, actually, it was one half of one game against likely the best opponent Iowa will face in its opening slate of directional schools. Feel free to stay on the darkhorse bandwagon as the Hawkeyes push for a top four finish in the Big Ten.


See Iowa post above for the same overreaction to Michigan being tied at half in its first game of the season.

Michigan State

There isn’t any overreaction to the Spartans beating a team they should beat and those arguing they are the best in the country right now. We’ll know a lot more on Tuesday night.


Minnesota’s opening win basically had everything that was expected. The Hollins non-twins were solid and they won in an expected fashion. Golden Gophers fans were freaking out more about Reid Travis picking Stanford than anything else.


Nebraska certainly took down “Dunk City” in an impressive fashion Friday night as it opened its new arena. Then again, that program had one really impressive weekend last season and has a new coach on top of losing some key players. Enjoy it now, Cornhuskers fans, because the rest of the games won’t always be so easy.


Drew Crawford is back for Northwestern and had a solid opening game with 25 points and 11 rebounds. He was the best player on the floor, but that won’t happen all year. He’ll have a good season and a chance at making an All-B1G team, so this hype could be warranted in some regard.

Ohio State

This tweet obviously has some sarcasm in it, but Ohio State fans are blowing up Shannon Scott after his opening game. Scott put up 16 points with seven assists and the hopes he can become a consistent scorer for the Buckeyes looks good. Still, he shot 4-of-7 from 3-point range and that won’t continue. For now, be cautiously optimistic that this isn’t an overreaction.

Penn State

Penn State definitely got an impressive first outing from its backcourt in Tim Frazier‘s return. These two will keep the Nittany Lions in basketball games offensively, but just how many they can win by themselves is the real question. The likelihood is the Happy Valley duo produces a couple of wins they shouldn’t when they take over games, but still finds itself toward the bottom of the Big Ten.


See a similar note to Iowa and Michigan, except for a full game. It’s still only one game for a young Purdue team without its best player in AJ Hammons, out due to suspension. Deep breaths, Boilermaker fans.


Wisconsin scored a lot of points with 86 against St. John’s. That’s quite a change for the Badgers, but it isn’t an overreaction to think about Bo Ryan’s team scoring more this season. The new rules will help, but Wisconsin will play faster compared to years past, so this isn’t necessarily an overreaction.

Jonathan Batuello (61 Posts)

Jonathan Batuello is a journalist working out of Indiana and Big Ten correspondent for Rush the Court. Follow his Twitter account (@jcbatuello) for Big Ten basketball, Indiana high school sports and how to cope with losing at fantasy football.

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