Seven B1G Games, Seven B1G ObservationsPosted by Brendan Brody on November 23rd, 2013
Friday night was a busy one for the B1G, as seven teams were in action spread out throughout the course of the day. When the final buzzer sounded at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, the league had gone 5-2, with two instant classics in Michigan-Florida State, and Indiana-Connecticut. What follows are some observations from these games, and what they could mean to each Big Ten team going forward.
- Nebraska: Terran Petteway is an emerging go-to-guy. Petteway has averaged 24.5 PPG in the Charleston Classic thus far, after averaging 11.3 PPG in the Huskers’ first three wins. He’s did a tremendous job getting to the free throw line on Thursday, and on Friday he took more than 25 percent of the team’s shots from the field. Despite the losses in Charleston, Petteway is becoming the face of the Nebraska offense.
- Michigan: This is becoming Nik Stauskas’ team. Glenn Robinson III and Mitch McGary got almost all of the preseason accolades, but Stauskas is quickly proving that he’s not just a deadly accurate spot-up shooter. He’s showing that he has far more athleticism in his ability to get into the lane, which helped Michigan turn the tables on Florida State Friday night. It’s obviously still early, but Stauskas is quickly playing his way into contention for B1G Player of the Year accolades.
- Iowa: Roy Devyn Marble is leading the team in scoring (14.8 PPG), but he continues to be a menace on the defensive end as well. Marble had six steals Friday night, and he’s averaging 3.2 SPG as the focal point of their man-to-man pressure that is forcing turnovers on nearly a quarter of possessions, good for 22nd in the country.
- Indiana: Yogi Ferrell is still a work in progress adjusting to his new role. He led the Hoosiers with 19 points last night, but he’s still trying to find a balance between wanting to do too much and letting the game come to him. His shot selection has been questionable, and it will be more of the same until he understands the age-old point guard question of when to score and when to get his teammates involved.
- Northwestern: Until the Wildcats get anything resembling a low post presence, both defensively and with the ball, they are the worst team in the league. The margin for error on this team is extremely slim, and Drew Crawford, JerShon Cobb, and Dave Sobolewski all have to be at their apex for them to win right now. The trio went 1-of-9 from three last night, and the Wildcats has to scrap and claw to beat IUPUI at home by two points.
- Michigan State: Gary Harris missed his first 10 shots from three, and it didn’t matter at all. The Spartans proved once again that they have multiple weapons that can hurt you on any given night. Adreian Payne took his turn last night with 29 points. The Spartans also continue to defy every B1G stereotype out there as they are pushing the ball in transition at a level I’ve never seen from a Michigan State team before. Keith Appling deserves credit for looking to run at every opportunity, and Virginia Tech was the latest victim to a team that wants to own the boards like they always have. The difference now is that they are using their rebounding advantage to fuel their break like never before.
- Illinois: Jon Ekey continues to impress, and he is among four Illini players that have an offensive rebound rate above 9.0 percent. Last night Illnois grabbed 14 boards, and they are at 47.0 percent to date (fifth in the country). Ekey also knocked down five threes, showing that he is capable of giving the Illini more than just a stretch four there to shoot from the outside. Question marks still remain once they hit the meat of their non-conference slate, but Ekey and Rayvonte Rice make Illinois a team to watch going forward.