Big Ten M5: 01.13.14 EditionPosted by Deepak Jayanti (@dee_b1g) on January 13th, 2014
- Just when it appeared that Branden Dawson is finally healthy and ready to contribute consistently for the Spartans, he seems to have a few health issues over the past two games. Tom Izzo said, “There’s something bothering him. He hasn’t been that way in a month and he’s been really, really, really, for the whole year he’s been pretty good. Despite averaging a double-double for most of the season, Dawson was a non-factor over the weekend when the host Spartans beat the Gophers in overtime. The top-10 ranked squad can’t afford any more injuries, especially with Adreian Payne sitting out the last game with a sore foot. Back to Dawson, regardless of the immediate concerns to his team, we can only hope that the tests don’t show anything negative because he has been plagued with injuries over the last year and half or so.
- With Mitch McGary sidelined indefinitely, the other Michigan sophomores need to contribute more than expected if the Wolverines hope to contend for the Big Ten title. Nik Stauskas is already doing his part by averaging 17.4 PPG, but Glenn Robinson III has been inconsistent until the last few weeks. Over the last seven games, Robinson has averaged 16.3 PPG, living up to his billing of a potential pick in next year’s NBA lottery. John Beilein said, “You just watch what he’s going to do here as he get more comfortable with the role we want him to play.” Now if Derrick Walton can take care of the ball and chip in 13 PPG consistently, the Wolverines may beat the top teams such as Michigan State or Wisconsin, especially at home.
- If losing two players to the NBA – Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller – wasn’t tough enough for your offense, it could be worse if the rotation is unclear two months into the season. Tom Crean had his work cut out, but the rotations still appear to be uncertain and it may not helping the Hoosiers as they struggled to beat Penn State on the road over the weekend. When asked about this topic, Crean responded, “We have a chance to be deep. What we’re imploring is to have that concentration and focus when you’re sitting out so when you do go in you’re absolutely prepared.” Noah Vonleh and Yogi Ferrell have been and will continue to be fixtures in the offense, but Crean needs a consistent third scoring option, whether it may be Will Sheehey or Jeremy Hollowell.
- Emotions of a college basketball fan can be very volatile during a close game, especially if the team doesn’t have a consistent scoring option. Buckeyes fans see the talent of LaQuinton Ross when he shoots three-pointers with ease of the pick-and-rolls, but at the same time, worry when he tries to dribble in traffic and turn the ball over in the half-court. OSU’s 84-74 loss to Iowa on Sunday was an excellent example of the “give and take” of Ross’ game. He scored 22 points in the game, but also turned the ball over three times over the last five minutes, helping Iowa pick up easy baskets in transition. Nonetheless, it is still positive that Ross bounced back after a tough game – just five points – against Michigan State earlier in the week.
- Richard Pitino appears to get close to winning a big game within the conference, but could still be far from closing crucial games. Against Michigan, his Gophers couldn’t close the last two minutes, which resulted in a loss. Similarly, they couldn’t avoid the Spartans from staging a comeback in East Lansing over the weekend. However, his players appear to be gaining confidence with every game and Malik Smith proved on Saturday that he could be a legit scoring threat, specifically from the perimeter. Smith was 5-of-10 from beyond the arc and he made two clutch shots during the last two minutes in a hostile environment.