Big Ten M5: 12.09.13 EditionPosted by Deepak Jayanti (@dee_b1g) on December 9th, 2013
- There are not many coaches in the college sports landscape that have performed better than Tom Izzo over the past 15 years. But Izzo believes that it is time to look up to the Spartans’ football coach, Mark Dantonio, to learn how to be a champion. After Michigan State’s upset win over Ohio State to win the Big Ten title on Saturday night, Izzo sang high praises of his counterpart in East Lansing. “It’s so good when you got a friend that’s in the same profession but in a little different venue because you look at it a little differently,” Izzo said. Over the past decade or so, Michigan State basketball owned the state of Michigan, but the football team appears to be slowly turning the tables since 2009. Having a great football program will further help Izzo’s basketball program reach new heights because it increases the overall profile of the school’s athletic department.
- John Beilein is trying to find answers to turn around Michigan’s slow start and he is looking to Mitch McGary to take over the leadership role on and off the court. McGary doesn’t appear to be at a 100%, but he could be the spark plug to ignite the Wolverines after nine games in the non-conference season. Against Duke, he was very active on the defensive glass (14 rebounds) and pushed the tempo in the open floor to trigger transition opportunities and pick up a few easy points. Nik Stauskas on McGary: “Coach is starting to trust him a lot more with the ball and anytime he gets a rebound and he’s going (down-floor) by himself, we’re OK with that. Sometimes he’s going to make a bad decision here and there, but for the most part he’s either going to score a basket or find someone who is open.” A healthy and active McGary can help freshmen guards such as Derrick Walton get comfortable on the offensive end, especially if Stauskas is struggling with his ankle injury.
- Indiana won the Big Ten title under Tom Crean after a long drought. They were ranked #1 in the pre-season poll, after another long drought of being ranked in the top-5 under Crean’s watch. What else is needed to add to Crean’s impact on the renewed hoops culture in Bloomington? A renovated basketball arena. Assembly Hall, is potentially up for an upgrade that could be worth millions of dollars. One of the oldest arenas in college basketball could add luxury seats in the bleachers and a “jumbotron” to show the score of the game. Any renovations will only add fuel to the well-oiled recruiting machine that Crean has built at Indiana.
- Without Josh Oglesby, Iowa doesn’t have a consistent three-point shooting threat, but the offense has been humming along fairly well, averaging 1.17 points per possession. Transition buckets have provided to the offensive spark this season. Drake’s head coach on Iowa’s transition capabilities: “We sent three guys back. We normally just sent two back. You send somebody back to stop the ball and you put somebody in the hole. We tried to send our three-man back and just with four different guys that can push it, it really causes confusion in transition defense.” With Devyn Marble playing the stretch-four position, the Hawkeyes run the well exceptionally well, but that pace may slow down once conference season begins.
- Speaking of slowing down the pace in the Big Ten, Wisconsin is off to an impressive undefeated start after beating Marquette at home on Saturday. Bo Ryan may have one of the best starting lineups in the nation because each of them averages at least 10 PPG. The three-guard lineup rebounds the ball effectively and this could be one of the most versatile teams that Ryan has had in Madison in terms of their ability to put points on the board. With the schedule they have it is quite possible that the Badgers will enter 2014 undefeated and have a manageable schedule in January too.