Big Ten Valentine’s Day Candy Heart MessagesPosted by Jonathan Batuello on February 14th, 2014
It’s the day celebrating romance and love. It also marks the final home stretch of the regular season. In honor of this day, it felt appropriate (or just fun) to take aim at each Big Ten team and the thing they most want — in the form of a candy heart message. So, in alphabetical order, I give you the simple message each conference team would want most to come on a candy heart. Enjoy Valentine’s Day everyone.
Illinois: “Not Last In My Heart” - Oh what once was for the Illini this season. The great non-conference play has fallen apart and Illinois is sitting in last place in the Big Ten. Getting out of the cellar would be great for the team.
Indiana: “Your Love Overcomes a Bad Team” - The Hoosiers are quite the fickle team this year. Beating Wisconsin and Michigan but losing at home to Northwestern and Penn State? This team would love to win the games it should the rest of the way and pull off a few more upsets to find itself back on the NCAA bubble.
Iowa: “Fondness for Michigan Losses” - The Hawkeyes want nothing more than to see Michigan and Michigan State take some losses. It is two games back in the Big Ten and likely looking at third in the conference. If these two teams get a little cold and have a losing streak Iowa is all the sudden back in the race.
Michigan: “Defensive Affection” - The offense has been there, but it’s defense is still a small question mark. The Wolverines opponents are shooting 44.9 percent in conference play (second worst in the Big Ten) and rank 75th in adjusted defense according to Ken Pom. For it to reach bigger goals and win the conference it needs to get some more stops.
Michigan State: “Healthy Kiss” - The Spartans can’t seem to avoid the injury bug this season. The big injuries have kept most of its starting lineup out at some point and for it to make the final push for the conference championship and national one it wants to be healthy.
Minnesota: “Love Awaits in NCAA Tournament” - The Golden Gophers are on the bubble. They need to get four or five wins to get into the tournament, including a nice road win. If this message came to them, the team and its fans would be more than ecstatic.
Nebraska: “Kiss Away From Home” - The Cornhuskers have only lost once at home, but own a 1-7 road record with the lone victory at Northwestern. If Nebraska could figure out its road woes it might have been competing for an NCAA Tournament berth. With three road games remaining, it’d love to figure it out now, starting at Michigan State.
Northwestern: “Romantic Shooting” - It’s easy to see what has propelled the Wildcats to a much better Big Ten season than anticipated just a month ago. It’s defense has been toward the top of the conference, but it’s offense it still a mess. This team sits last in scoring offense and second-to-last in field goal percent in Big Ten play. If it could get above 40 percent Chris Collins would be happy.
Ohio State: “You Scored” - Let’s just call it what it is for Ohio State – it’s offense is what decides if it wins or loses games. It has a top 5 adjusted defense but ranks only 91st in adjusted offense. When it shoots above 40 percent it tends to win, but below that and it loses. It just wants to score.
Penn State: “No Love Lost From 3-point Line” - The Nittany Lions are in the thick of a run at the NIT, but its 3-point defense has been subpar. It is last in conference play as opponents hit 37.7 percent from beyond the arc. To put that in perspective, Penn State is third in conference play in overall defensive field goal percentage at 41.1 percent.
Purdue: “Free Throw Line Sweetheart” - The Boilermakers are last in the conference by a good margin at the charity stripe, shooting a dismal 64.8 percent. Michigan State is next worst shooting 4 percent better. It nearly cost them the win against Minnesota and has been an issue all season that it would love to change.
Wisconsin: “Rebounds Adore You” - The Badgers are pretty solid in most places, but rebounding is a weak spot. It is in the bottom half of the conference in offensive and defensive rebounding percent and rebounding margin. For a team that is hoping to put its recent slide completely behind it, getting after the boards would be a good place to start.