Big Ten M5: 10.09.12 Edition

Posted by Deepak Jayanti on October 9th, 2012

  1. The preseason accolades continue to flow in for the Indiana Hoosiers. Sophomore forward Cody Zeller was selected to the pre-season All-American team by CBSSports.com and was also selected as their player of the year. Zeller’s selection should come as no surprise but he is accompanied by a few other talented teammates who are just as important if Indiana hopes to make a run at the title – freshman Kevin (Yogi) Ferrell, senior guard Christian Watford and junior wing Victor Oladipo. Ferrell will need to share point guard duties with senior guard Jordan Hulls and Oladipo needs to assert himself as the defensive stopper for the Hoosiers. The Hoosiers gave up 1.06 points per possession last season and need to be more consistent on defense against teams that have similar offensive talent.
  2. Wisconsin’s big men have always been unique in their style but also very efficient. Bo Ryan’s former players such as Jon Leuer and Mike Wilkinson had amazing shooting range but also improved their inside game as they progressed through their college careers. Senior forward Jared Berggren hopes to have a similar impact during his final upcoming season for the Badgers. ESPN interviewed the big man about the upcoming season and his experience in playing for Bo Ryan. Berggren improved his game tremendously during last offseason by increasing his average from 2.5 PPG during his sophomore campaign to 10.5 PPG during his junior season. By Ryan will need Berggren to contribute heavily on the offensive end to pick up the slack after Jordan Taylor’s departure, especially during the non-conference season until stud freshman Sam Dekker gets acquainted with the offensive schemes.
  3. The Jared Uthoff saga at Wisconsin has been well documented over the last few months. He wanted to transfer out of Wisconsin but there were certain restrictions in place with respect to his final destination. But after an intense offseason, Uthoff will finally begin practicing with Iowa this week. Uthoff is very excited to be at Iowa and believes that he can add depth to Fran McCaffery’s frontcourt. The 6’8″ wing should fit in well with an up-tempo Hawkeyes offense that averaged 65.8 possessions per game last season and ranked first in the Big Ten. He was also named Iowa’s Mr. Basketball in 2011 but will be not be able to play this season due to NCAA transfer rules. Uthoff will learn a fair amount during practice from such key returning players as Roy Devyn Marble who averaged 11.5 PPG and 3.6 APG and is hoped to lead Iowa back to the NCAA Tournament over the next two seasons.
  4. Speaking of new faces on campus in the Big Ten, the Michigan freshmen class is considered as one of the best in the country. Featuring two top 75 players - forward Mitch McGary and wing Glenn Robinson III – the class is supposed to aid an already star-studded roster for the Wolverines. MGoBlue.com has compiled a video that introduces the five freshman to Big Ten fans. McGary will add some size to the frontcourt in addition to junior forward Jordan Morgan who averaged 5.6 RPG game last season. The Wolverines ranked tenth in offensive rebounding (25.8%) in conference play last season and will need a more consistent presence in the paint if they hope to make a run at the Final Four. Robinson will add depth to the scoring attack in addition to Tim Hardaway, Jr., who averaged 14.6 PPG last year.
  5. In addition to compiling videos to introduce the freshmen to the fan base, schools also host events as part of  Midnight Madness celebrations to let the fans get their first peek of the team in live action. And when it comes to this annual event, Michigan State’s Tom Izzo never ceases to surprise Spartan fans with his antics. What will Izzo’s grand entrance be this year? Nobody knows. In the past, Izzo has shown up to the event on a motorcycle, on a horse and in the old-school Volkswagen van. Izzo’s demeanor on the sidelines can be very intimidating during the games but he has always shown his lighter side during these opening practice events. MSU will host their latest event this upcoming weekend which is also Homecoming weekend in East Lansing.
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