Checking in on… the Big Ten

Posted by jstevrtc on December 8th, 2009


Jason Prziborowski is the RTC correspondent for the Big Ten Conference. 


  1. Purdue  7-0
  2. Ohio State  7-1
  3. Northwestern  6-1
  4. Wisconsin  6-1
  5. Illinois  6-2
  6. Michigan State  6-2
  7. Minnesota  5-3
  8. Penn State  5-3
  9. Michigan  4-3
  10. Indiana  3-4
  11. Iowa  3-5

Four things from the past week:  Big Ten beats the ACC (6-5) in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge for the first time in 11 years.  The second thing is Wisconsin knocking off #5 Duke.  The third thing is Illinois coming from 23 down to beat #19 Clemson.  Last but not least, Evan Turner goes down with a fractured back and will be out for a minimum of eight weeks.  That cost OSU not only a strong leader but over 20 PPG to their stat sheet.  Now four Big Ten teams are in the Top 25:  Purdue #5, Michigan State #12, Ohio State #13, Wisconsin #20.

Top Storylines:

  • Who will lead OSU?  Turner is down for the count with a fractured back, which is really unfortunate, as he was on pace to set a new record for triple-doubles in a season, and continued to put up ridiculous numbers.  With Turner sidelined, who will step up?  Their blowout of Eastern Michigan definitely didn’t test OSU, but their other players should have plenty of opportunity soon to demonstrate leadership.
  • Should we stick a fork in Michigan?  Michigan is near the bottom of the Big 10, losing to average teams.  Will they come back strong, or is this the beginning of a downward spiral that might last all year?
  • Is Minnesota, dare I say, average?  It looks to be that way after losing to Miami to complete their third loss in a row to somewhat average teams.  They blew out Brown, but then again, what decent team doesn’t?  Minnesota also hasn’t demonstrated that they can win on the road, so that will be a challenge all year.

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After the Buzzer: Opening Night Recaps

Posted by zhayes9 on November 10th, 2009


Welcome back to RTC’s THIRD season covering college basketball with one of our old standbys, the nightly After the Buzzer feature.   If you’re new here, the purpose of these nightly updates is to go a little deeper than game recaps.  We’ll talk about the key games and storylines of each night of the regular season so that you can join the watercooler crew with some knowledge to throw around the next morning.  Tonight we got the season underway with four opening round subregional games in the 2kSports Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.  None of the four favorites were every seriously threatened, but there were quite a few good storylines tonight.

Isiah’s debut. #4 North Carolina 88, Florida International 72. For a team picked last in their Sun Belt division and has just eight scholarship players on its roster, Isiah Thomas had his Florida International Golden Panthers putting up a respectable fight against the top-five Tar Heels in his much-anticipated coaching debut. The bright spots for the powder blues in the first post-Tyler Hansbrough era contest: Deon Thompson appears to be in for a fine year in the post, totaling 20 points and 10 boards on 7/11 FG while frontcourt mate Ed Davis used a slew of putbacks and easy buckets to complete his own double-double: 13/11/4 blks on 5/8 FG. The other big question mark heading into the season was whether Larry Drew could provide steady point guard play for UNC, and the sophomore put in a solid performance with 6/2 A:TO in 21 minutes, including a Lawson-esque coast-to-coast layup in the first half and a few pretty dishes to Thompson and John Henson for jams. The bad news: Even with the incredible turnover and rustiness of a season opener, Roy Williams cannot be pleased with a 26-turnover performance from his team against a Sun Belt foe (the most in any game coached by Williams at UNC), especially backup point guard Dexter Strickland’s five turnovers in 11 minutes. Also worth noting is Williams opting to go with a more experienced starting five with Thompson, Drew, Davis,  Marcus Ginyard and William Graves getting the nod and Henson, Strickland, Tyler Zeller, Leslie McDonald and the Wear twins coming off the pine. This group is absurdly deep up front and, due to the high-impact departures, shouldn’t be expected to look like a world-beater in early November.  They don’t.

Boeheim gets win #800. #25 Syracuse 75, Albany 43. Coming off their embarrassing defeat in an exhibition contest at the hands of D2 Le Moyne, Syracuse needed to come out in their first actual game of the 2009-10 season and make a statement. Their 2-3 zone defense confused the Albany Great Danes all night and was the primary factor in garnering a 75-43 victory for Jim Boeheim’s 800th win, putting him on an esteemed list with only two other active coaches — Mike Krzyzewski and Jim Calhoun. Syracuse’s defense and superb athleticism forced Albany into 32 turnovers and only 27% shooting in a primarily ugly game that lacked much flow. Syracuse shot just 2/17 from outside themselves including a clunker from three-point specialist Andy Rautins (0/6, 0/4 3pt) who left the game midway through the 2nd half with a sprained ankle (3am update: doesn’t sound too serious, but he was wearing a walking boot after the game). The good: Scoop Jardine coupled a productive preseason into another stellar performance at the point tonight, totaling 12 points and 4 assists on 5/7 shooting with just one turnover while his main competition, Brandon Triche, had some moments but mainly struggled with six turnovers. Syracuse looks extremely athletic with Wes Johnson (who features a sick one-handed posterization on an unsuspecting Great Dane) around the perimeter and Rick Jackson swatting shots down low.

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