Starting Five: Five Big Ten Teams Feeling Good About Feast Week

Posted by Brendan Brody on November 30th, 2015

The non-conference portion of the schedule hasn’t been great to the Big Ten so far this season, but Feast Week gave some of the league’s teams positive feelings about the future. Here are five schools that can feel good about themselves after the week that was.

John Groce got his lineup back in full, and his squad looked much better. (USAT Images)

John Groce got his full lineup back and his squad looked much better as a result. (USAT Images)

  1. Illinois: The Illini have a lot of extra dead weight to shed from their 3-4 start to the season, but anyone who watched their win against UAB and the first 30 minutes against Iowa State saw that this is a different and better team with a full complement of players. Kendrick Nunn looked rusty but he averaged 18.5 PPG in the two games — a healthy Nunn, Leron Black and Jaylon Tate showed the potential that exists here. The knee injury to Mike Thorne, Jr., however, is a real downer.
  2. Maryland: After struggling with teams that they shouldn’t have struggled with, the Terps finally put it all together against Rhode Island on Wednesday night in the championship game of the Cancun Classic. It appears as though Maryland’s on-court chemistry and offensive movement are improving with the realization that they any member of the starting unit can carry them for stretches — Rasheed Suliamon and Robert Carter Jr., for example, had moments where they looked like the best players on the floor.
  3. Michigan State: It’s obvious that Sparty has a lot to feel good about right now — the first two weeks of the season have been very good to Michigan State. They have this year’s face of college basketball, Denzel Valentine, off to an incredible start, and they already own three solid wins against likely NCAA Tourney teams. But where Tom Izzo’s team can really feel good heading into December is that there is still plenty of room to grow. Marvin Clark Jr. is going to get better as he rounds back into shape, and Gavin Schilling will give the Spartans another body to bang in the post. The deepest team in the Big Ten is only getting deeper.
  4. Nebraska: The Cornhuskers split a pair of games in Brooklyn over the holiday weekend, but the good news is that they saw a different Tai Webster emerge. The junior guard who has failed to meet expectations thus far in his career led Nebraska in scoring in both games. The fact that Tim Miles may have found a third scorer to go along with Andrew White and Shavon Shields suggests that the Huskers might be better than originally thought.
  5. Northwestern: You shouldn’t really get brownie points for hanging with North Carolina, but Northwestern’s performance against the preseason #1 team earned it some street cred. In the end, the Wildcats can build from that loss as well as the fact that they were steamrolling Missouri early in the next game. Bryant McIntosh is starting to become a top 10 player within the league, and Northwestern as a whole looks better right now than many of the bigger names that are faltering.
Brendan Brody (307 Posts)

Brendan Brody is in his fourth season covering the Big Ten for RTC. Email him at, or follow him on twitter @berndon4.

Share this story

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *