Big Ten M5: 12.16.13 Edition

Posted by Deepak Jayanti (@dee_b1g) on December 16th, 2013

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  1. Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo has suspended redshirt freshman forward Kenny Kaminski indefinitely. Izzo had already suspended the freshman earlier this season, but this time there is no timeline for the return. After a close win over Oakland on Saturday, Izzo said, “Kenny Kaminski’s got to grow up, he’s just got to grow up. And I’m gonna keep suspending him or sitting him out until he takes care of all his business that he’s got to take care of, whether it’s in school, off the court.” Regardless of Kaminski’s playing time, the Spartans need to make sure they enter the Big Ten season with good chemistry, and most importantly, good health. If Izzo can get a healthy Gary Harris back in the lineup, his team should be in good shape to contend for the Big Ten title.
  2. Before writing about college basketball for Grantland, Mark Titus rode the bench at Ohio State during the 2006-07 season when the Buckeyes made it to the national title game. Titus was a walk-on who didn’t play much during his time at Columbus, and Thad Matta doesn’t want Jake Lorbach, another walk-0n, to play like Titus. “He [told me], ‘I don’t want another Mark Titus. So just try not to do that.’ But sometimes you can’t help yourself,” Lorbach said. The 6’7″ forward has averaged only 1.5 PPG and is not expected to contribute immediately, but after a year under his belt, he may be able to play a reserve role on the team.
  3. After a tough loss to Notre Dame at the Crossroads Classic on Saturday, Indiana still hasn’t secured a marquee win during the non-conference season. Inside The Hall‘s Jordan Littman discusses the Hoosiers’ ongoing search for an identity. After the game, Tom Crean said, “Our identity has got to be in the fact that going into the game, we were fifth in the country in field goal percentage defense, we were No. 1 in the country in rebound margin, we were way up in the country in getting to the free throw line.” Noah Vonleh needs to learn how to stay out of foul trouble against tougher opponents because his time on the court is too valuable. When he is on the court, the Hoosiers can rebound with reckless abandon, but without him out there, they lose their only strength at this juncture of the season.
  4. John Groce’s Illini lost a close one to Oregon over the weekend, but the Illinois fan base did an excellent job of representing its team on the west coast. According to Illiniboard, 15 percent of the 10,000 fans in the arena were supporting the Illini, which is pretty impressive for a road game taking place in Portland. Groce’s squad led for most of the game in front of the raucous crowd, but it couldn’t find any kind of offense over the past five minutes of the game when the Ducks were able to get to the free throw line consistently. After two close losses to Georgia Tech and now to Oregon, the Illini need a win over Missouri next weekend before beginning conference play. The annual “Bragging Rights” game will take place on Saturday in St. Louis.
  5. One more shot against Arizona and Michigan could have erased its disappointing non-conference season, but the Wolverines will need to wait a bit longer to regain their confidence. John Beilein’s team almost pulled off the victory over #1 ranked Arizona on Saturday afternoon, but it couldn’t close the deal over the last minute. When asked about beating good teams afterward, Beilein said, ”The devil’s in the details.” Despite the loss, Caris LeVert continued to impress with 15 points, but he and his teammates couldn’t handle Arizona’s size and athleticism at the end of the day. After a tough first month of action, the Wolverines won’t have it easy against conference competition because the tougher defensive units in the Big Ten have traditionally given Beilein’s offense trouble scoring.
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Big Ten M5: 02.11.13 Edition

Posted by Deepak Jayanti on February 11th, 2013

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  1. Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo seems to be just fine with Michigan and Indiana hogging all of the attention at the national stage. The Spartans are 9-2 in the Big Ten and may arguably be the most underrated top 10 team in the country right now. Izzo, however, is not getting carried away as the Spartans await the Wolverines on Tuesday night in East Lansing. ”I know our deficiencies, and I think they know their deficiencies,” Izzo said after the Spartans dominated Purdue in a 78-65 victory on Saturday night. The Spartans’ main concern at this juncture of the season may be the health of Gary Harris and Travis Trice. Harris had some issues with his back against Minnesota but will need to be healthy down the stretch if the Spartans were to win the Big Ten title.
  2. Devyn Marble‘s slump has been heavily scrutinized over the past couple of weeks. He didn’t play any role in Iowa’s close losses to Minnesota and Wisconsin but Marble has made it clear that he will do whatever it takes to dig himself out of the slump. “Everybody’s thinking I’m about to die or something,” Marble said. “It’s just one of those situations. I’ve had a rough month. I’m just trying to look at the positive end of it and just get back on track.” Marble scored 21 points as the Hawkeyes beat Northwestern 71-57 over the weekend and such a game should help his confidence during the homestretch of the season.
  3.  In case you missed it, the Wisconsin Badgers stunned the Michigan Wolverines on Saturday in Madison. Badgers guard Ben Brust heaved a shot from the half court which tied the game to force it into overtime. NBA players who have attempted to make Brust’s shot succeeded only 3% of the time, but most might just consider the last minute shot “near-impossible.” Brust also hit a clutch shot from beyond the arc to give the Badgers a three-point lead in overtime. Saturday’s win against a top-5 team may put the Badgers back into the top-25 polls on Monday.
  4. More on the thriller in Madison, Michigan head coach John Beilein has caught some criticism regarding his decision not to foul Ben Brust which would have prevented the game from going into overtime. Beilein said that the players were asked to foul immediately. but did not execute his instructions, which led to Brust’s game tying shot. Brust was guarded by freshman guard Caris Lavert who had his hand up to defend the shot very well, but luck just wasn’t on the Wolverines’ side in Madison.
  5. Victor Oladipo may be their most valuable player for the Hoosiers because of his defense and energy on both ends of the floor. After the win over the Wolverines a week ago and a road win against the Buckeyes in the Columbus, Oladipo is gaining recognition for the national player of the year honors. CBS broadcaster and Big Ten legend, Clark Kelogg said, “Victor Oladipo is like a baby’s bottom, smooth and sometimes explosive.” Oladipo is enjoying the national attention but has made it clear that his main goal is to win the national title before leaves Bloomington.
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Saturday Big Ten Recap: Three Outstanding Questions

Posted by Deepak Jayanti on February 19th, 2012

Saturday’s action in the Big Ten featured three coaches who were trying to deal with different issues. One of them was trying to hold on to his job in any way possible – Bruce Weber. Another coach continued to instill confidence into his young team as they beat a Top 10 team at home – John Beilein.  The third coach was trying to make a strong case for an NCAA bid as the regular season winds down – Bill Carmody. After Saturday’s games, Illinois, Michigan and Northwestern each has an outstanding question as they enter the final two weeks of conference play.

How much longer will Bruce Weber be around the Illinois program?

It Is Not Thumbs Up At Illinois Right Now

Weber has had a rough week with the media and yesterday’s game won’t help his case. Chicago media can be brutal with their sports teams — just ask Chicago Bears’ coach Lovie Smith about it. It is tough for them not to pile on Weber after the Illini gave up 80 points (1.17 points per possession) to a Nebraska team that has been averaging only 0.92 points per possession during conference action. Meyers Leonard was seen on the bench practically in tears near the end of the game with a towel over his head. After coming out with some fire over the first few minutes of the game (up 17-9), Illinois fell apart rest of the way and there is nothing Weber could do about it. Clearly he has lost control over his team and the next game might not help his case. The Fighting Illini will travel to Columbus to play the Buckeyes on Tuesday night, a nationally televised game. Ohio State will be seeking payback for their loss in Champaign and get back to their winning ways after a loss in Ann Arbor on Saturday. Barring a miraculous turn of events, Weber won’t be able to make a case for an NCAA bid, but at this point, the Illinois Athletic Director has to consider the image of the program. A player breaking down on national television isn’t a good sign for future recruits interested in the program. If the Illini continue to get embarrassed, when will he pull the plug on the coach? Will he wait until Selection Sunday or wait until they are done playing in the postseason, which seems to be NIT at this point? The Illini nation is already thinking about their next coach but the timing of the coaching vacancy will be a critical factor over the next month if they plan to land a good candidate in Champaign for next season.

Can Northwestern sneak into the NCAA tournament?

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Madly Spins The Carousel: An Early Look At Coaches On The Hot Seat

Posted by jstevrtc on February 28th, 2011

Walker Carey is an RTC contributor.

There is much uncertainty surrounding the status of several high profile coaches around the country. While Wyoming’s Heath Schroyer, Stetson’s Derek Waugh, Georgia State’s Rod Barnes, and Monmouth’s Dave Calloway have been the only head coaches this season to already receive their pink slips or be asked to step down, there are definitely more changes that will come at the end of the season. The challenging part of the coaching carousel is determining what coaches will be fired.

Sidney Lowe Is Feeling the BTUs In His Office Chair And Spot On the Bench

In an attempt to determine what coaches should be considered on the chopping block, one can rate a coach’s chance of dismissal by three criteria: (1) There must be considerable fan disdain, (2) There should be a degree of waffling administrative support, and (3) There must be a pattern of losing over an extended period of time. If a coach meets all three then a coaching change is extremely likely. If a coach meets two of the three there still exists a good chance that a change would be made. If a coach only meets one then it is a safe bet that he will be given more time to turn things around.

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RTC Conference Primers: #1 – Big Ten

Posted by Brian Goodman on November 8th, 2010

John Templon of Chicago College Basketball is the RTC correspondent for the Big Ten Conference.

Predicted Order of Finish

  • 1. Michigan State (15-3)
  • 2. Ohio State (13-5)
  • 3. Illinois (12-6)
  • 4. Wisconsin (11-7)
  • T5. Purdue (9-9)
  • T5. Minnesota (9-9)
  • T5. Northwestern (9-9)
  • 8. Penn State (7-11)
  • 9. Indiana (6-12)
  • 10. Michigan (5-13)
  • 11. Iowa (3-15)

All-Conference Team (key stats from last season in parentheses)

  • G: Demetri McCamey, Illinois (15.1 PPG, 6.8 APG)
  • G: Kalin Lucas, Michigan State (14.9 PPG, 3.9 APG)
  • F: Jon Leuer, Wisconsin (15.4 PPG, 5.8 RPG)
  • F: John Shurna, Northwestern (18.3 PPG, 6.4 RPG)
  • C: JaJuan Johnson, Purdue (15.2 PPG, 7.1 RPG)

6th Man

G: E’Twaun Moore, Purdue (16.6 PPG, 3.7 RPG)

Jared Sullinger (above) and three returning double-figure scorers succeed Evan Turner in Columbus, but Michigan State is the team to beat in the Big Ten.

Impact Newcomer

C: Jared Sullinger, Ohio State: Sullinger is a consensus top-five recruit. The 6’9 post player from Columbus played his high school basketball at Northland High School and won three national AAU championships with the All-Ohio Red team. He was named Ohio’s Mr. Basketball his junior and senior seasons and the Naismith National High School Boy’s Basketball Player of the Year in 2010. While some have compared him to Greg Oden, scouts say that Sullinger has a better face-up offensive game than the former Buckeye, but isn’t as intimidating on the defensive end. The hype reached epic proportions when Gary Parrish named Sullinger to his Preseason All-America team along with Harrison Barnes.

What You Need to Know

The Big Ten is one of the best conferences in college basketball, potentially the best this season. The pace is typically slower (eight of the 11 teams played at an adjusted tempo that ranked lower than 200th in the nation last season) and the play might be a little rougher (the top seven teams in the conference had a defensive efficiency that ranked 53rd or better last season), but there are a lot of teams that are a tough out come tournament time. Michigan State always seems to overachieve in the NCAA Tournament and there’s seldom a shortage of talent. Northwestern is the oddball in the conference, as the Wildcats are the only major conference team to have never been to the Big Dance.

Predicted Champion

Michigan State (NCAA Seed: #1): The Spartans took a five-seed in the NCAA Tournament last season and ran with it all the way to Final Four before falling to Butler in the National Semifinals. Most of that team returns this season. Kalin Lucas and Durrell Summers will drive the backcourt, but there is also depth behind those two to help counter the conference grind. Up front, Draymond Green is an underrated force in the paint that should be able to absorb the minutes left behind from Raymar Morgan, the biggest loss from Michigan State’s Final Four team. Adreian Payne and Keith Appling are two high-profile recruits that can only help bolster the Spartans’ rotation. The Spartans have the look of a team that will be in the top five all season. Read the rest of this entry »

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