Big Ten M5: 01.06.14 Edition
Posted by Deepak Jayanti (@dee_b1g) on January 6th, 2014
- Indiana’s center, Luke Fischer, will be transferring to Marquette – a move that will get him closer to home. “I am excited to say I will be transferring to Marquette University to play for Coach (Buzz) Williams and the Golden Eagles,” Fischer said on Twitter. Even though he only averaged 2.8 points per game this season, he will be missed over the next three years in Bloomington. It is likely that Noah Vonleh will enter the NBA Draft after his freshman season, which could have opened the door for Fischer to step into the role as the starting center for Tom Crean. Without Fischer, Hanner Perea will likely take a bigger role next season after the potential departure of Vonleh.
- As if Gary Harris‘ 26 points against Indiana in Bloomington wasn’t enough, Tom Izzo promises that the fans can expect more from the sophomore over the next three months. “He’s a special player, and I promise he’s not even close to where he’s going to be,” Izzo said. Harris, who has been plagued with health issues, may slowly be coming back to 100% health, but should eventually improve his game with more practice. His offensive versatility was on full display at Bloomington as he shot 5-10 from beyond the arc and was active defensively with five steals. A healthy and active Harris will be the main offensive option in March when Michigan State needs to put up points against tougher competition.
- Before Illinois‘ game against Penn State in Champaign on Saturday, the Flyin’ Illini were honored because it is their 25th anniversary of their Final Four run in 1989. They are, arguably, the best team in Illini history, but the 2005 squad with Dee Brown, Deron Williams and Luther Head could give them a run for their money. Mark Tupper discusses which team might be the best team in Illini history. My stance on this topic: the 2005 team was about 30 seconds (close losses to Ohio State and North Carolina) away from being the first undefeated team since the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers squad, so I’ll take them over the electrifying Flyin’ Illini. Regardless, it will be tough to surpass either of these teams in the history books.
- After disappointing decisions by Quentin Snider and Cliff Alexander, John Groce‘s recruiting took a brief hit over the last two months. However, he landed a commit from four-star guard, Aaron Jordan, for the 2015 recruiting class. The 6’4″ guard will provide much needed three-point shooting for an Illini squad that doesn’t have a designated gunner on their roster. Even though Jon Ekey is shooting 38% from beyond the arc, the Illini need at least one guard to shoot 42% from the long-range to diversify their offensive sets in the future.
- Jarrod Uthoff‘s transfer issues have been documented fairly well over the past year and half or so. In brief, he wanted to transfer to Iowa, but there were a few issues in getting the transfer approved by head coach Bo Ryan. Uthoff is averaging 10.9 points per game as a Hawkeye, but one has to wonder if there is any friction between Ryan and Fran McCaffery over the transfer. When asked about this topic on Big Ten Media Day, Ryan responded, “I don’t even know why that would be a question, I don’t understand the question.” Setting this topic aside, both of these teams match up fairly well and both of the games should be excellent match-ups this season. Uthoff’s entrance into the game on Sunday night in Madison didn’t really trigger many boos from the crowd.