Introducing the RTC All-Big Ten First Team

Posted by Jonathan Batuello (@jcbatuello) on November 7th, 2013

With the college season now just a single day away, the Big Ten microsite got together and voted for the various Big Ten awards and how we thought the standings would shake out. Earlier this week we released our All-Big Ten Second Team, and today, we reveal who we believe to the be the five best players in the conference. Be sure to also check out the other preseason prediction pieces we’ve released choosing our top sixth men, Freshman of the Year and the conference standings (#12 to #9; #8 to #5) before the games get started for real on Friday night.

Here’s our preseason All-Big Ten First Team:

Gary Harris and Adreien Payne Lead our All-Big Ten First Team Selections

Gary Harris and Adreian Payne Lead our All-Big Ten First Team Selections

Gary Harris, Sophomore, Michigan State 6’4″ 210 lbs (12.9 PPG, 1.4 SPG, 45.6% FG, 41.1% 3FG). Gary Harris and Michigan State have the chance at a special season. He was the only unanimous selection to the first team by the Big Ten microsite writers, and we already covered his potential to be the conference’s Player of the Year this season. He was considered a lottery pick had he left for the NBA after last season, and now he appears to be injury-free for the first time in his collegiate career. If the sophomore can find a way to create more of his own scoring opportunities and get to the foul line more often to round out his game, he will be sitting on top of the conference from both an individual and a team basis.

Mitch McGary, Sophomore, Michigan, 6’10” 255 lbs. (7.5 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 59.8% FG). There are two big questions surrounding Mitch McGary right now. The first is when will McGary return to the court from his back problems? The second is if what we saw during the NCAA Tournament last season is something he will be able to sustain? During that magical run to the national title game, the sophomore big man made quite the impact and showed the promise that had him flirting with leaving for the NBA Draft. The early thinking on whether he can keep that going is yes, as McGary has been named to the Oscar Robertson trophy preseason watch list. If the burly center gets 100 percent healthy and continues to dominate in the paint and score at a high level like he did during last March, he’ll be a huge asset as the two teams from the Great Lakes State battle for the Big Ten banner.

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Bracket Prep: Michigan State, Florida State, Vanderbilt, St. Bonaventure, Long Beach State, & New Mexico State

Posted by EJacoby on March 11th, 2012

Selection Sunday is here! We’ve been providing you with summaries of every automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, and this post concludes all of the conference tourney winners. Big Ten, SEC, ACC, A-10, Big West, and WAC were the last ones to complete their championships. Here’s everything you need to know.

Michigan State

Draymond Green is the Force Behind the Spartans' Strong Attack (AP Photo/A. Goldis)

  • Big Ten Champion (27-7, 16-5)
  • RPI/Pomeroy/Sagarin = #4/#3/#3
  • Adjusted Scoring Margin = +17.3
  • Likely NCAA Seed: #1

Three Bruce Pearls of Wisdom.

  1. After winning the Big Ten Tournament, expect Michigan State to steal the last #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. There’s nothing that this team hasn’t done to deserve the top line. 27-7 against the #1 strength of schedule, co-champion of the best conference in the country, and Big Ten Champions. This is a classic Tom Izzo team that’s ferocious on the boards and executes efficiently on both offense and defense. The Spartans run through their Big Ten Player of the Year, but this is a deep team that relies on many contributors in different areas. A late season ACL injury to blossoming freshman forward Branden Dawson was horrible news and is potentially devastating. But Dawson was still not much of an offensive factor and the team won the Big Ten Tournament without him, showing an ability to adapt.
  2. Draymond Green is the Big Ten Player of the Year who does everything that you want in a senior star leader. 16.2 points, 10.4 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.5 steals, and 1.0 blocks per game is what Green provides. The 45% field goal percentage doesn’t look great until you realize that Green does much of his work on the perimeter, including hitting the most three-pointers on the team. The rest of this team is loaded with strong athletes and defenders, from the interior duo of Derrick Nix and Adriean Payne to the perimeter players Keith Appling and Brandon Wood, and beyond to the reserves. Appling is crucial to this team as the playmaking point guard with explosive agility to make plays for his teammates and himself.
  3. Most things in March Madness are unpredictable, but one of the few guarantees is that Tom Izzo’s teams will play their best basketball in the NCAA Tournament. This Izzo team is loaded and ready to dance with as difficult a combination to beat as nearly anyone in the country. A +17.3 adjusted scoring margin is the fourth best in the nation, led my MSU’s elite defense. The Spartans allow just 37.7% defensive field goal shooting, the second best in the land. Their 89.9 defensive efficiency also ranks in the top 10. Throw in their own 47.7% field goal shooting, and this team’s shooting percentage disparity is fantastic, which is always a top formula for success. Their 55.2% rebound percentage is top 10 in the nation, as well. The numbers look great for Michigan State. But this team just lost its best athlete to the ACL injury and it doesn’t have the amount of elite scorers that a usual #1 seed does. Instead, this team is so efficient defensively that it will be difficult to knock off. Teams that gave Michigan State trouble were those that caught fire from the outside while holding their own defensively, like Indiana. Expect an awesome clash of styles between MSU and its opponent in a Sweet Sixteen matchup, if it can avoid an upset from the 8-9 seed, or 10-7 seed if it receives a #2 seed.

Florida State

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