On The Mend: Big Ten Medical Roundup

Posted by Max Jakubowski on November 1st, 2013

With the season rapidly approaching, the dreaded injury bug is something that coaches lose sleep over. Not only can an injury hurt a team’s chances of winning, but it also throws off rotations and can possibly lead to chemistry issues.

  • Big Ten teams have been fortunate enough to not have any serious injuries so far. Michigan State’s Gary Harris gave the country a scare when he hurt his ankle back in early September, and he was already recovering from a shoulder injury that nagged him for all of last season. He now looks to be fully recovered from the ankle injury as he poured in 15 points in an exhibition matchup on Tuesday. Harris is the only player on the Spartans’ roster who can create his own shot, so losing him for any time period would be a blow to Michigan State’s Big Ten conference title hopes.
  • The Spartans’ in-state rival Michigan also has one of its key players dealing with an injury. Back pains and big men never go well together, and in Mitch McGary’s situation, that is exactly the case. John Beilein recently gave an update on McGary’s health, and there is not definite timetable for McGary’s return to the court. The Wolverines have very little frontcourt depth behind him so this could spell trouble if he’s not 100 percent to start the year. Still, Beilein has to be careful to not rush his sophomore star back, as a nagging back problem all year would really hurt Michigan’s chances to get back to the Final Four. Michigan’s first real test is at Iowa State November 17 and then a major showdown with Duke a few weeks later. He should be ready to go for those contests, but Michigan has to be cautious with him (and his back).
Bringing back two key cogs like McGary and Robinson III gives Michigan enough firepower for a run at a Big Ten championship in 2013-14

Bringing back two key cogs like McGary and Robinson III gives Michigan enough firepower for a run at a Big Ten championship in 2013-14

  • Wisconsin starting forward Frank Kaminsky recently was cleared to return to practice after injuring his left foot earlier in the month. The Badgers can ill afford to lose him for an extended period of time, as they are one of the weakest teams in the league when it comes to frontcourt depth. Bo Ryan figures to trot out a three-guard lineup this season with Kaminsky, Sam Dekker and freshman Nigel Hayes seeing time. Kaminsky did a solid job backing up Jared Berggren last year, but this year he inherits the bulk of the minutes. Ryan will lean on “Frank the Tank” to try to slow down some of the Big Ten’s elite big men when the Badgers are on defense.

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Oregon Week: Evaluating The Recent Past

Posted by Connor Pelton on August 7th, 2012

In what could be considered one of the top few-year spans in recent Pac-10/12 history, Oregon was right in the thick of it from 2006-08. Ernie Kent led the Ducks to back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances in those two seasons, the first of which included a run to the Elite Eight. That season was one that many would consider the most successful in Oregon history. Led by star players Aaron Brooks, Malik Hairston, Tajuan Porter, and Maarty Leunen, the Ducks won 18 of their first 19 games, then finished the year by winning nine in a row before falling in a tight game against top-seed Florida. Along the way they won at Georgetown, #8 Arizona, and Washington State, and knocked off Nebraska, #1 UCLA, and Washington State in Eugene. The Pit Crew made McArthur Court into one of the toughest gyms in the nation and excitement was at an all-time high surrounding the program. Building off of that excitement, the Ducks added one of the top freshman centers in the nation in Michael Dunigan and notched road wins against Kansas State and Arizona en route to a second straight NCAA bid, just the third time ever that had happened in program history. Then, the wheels fell off.

McArthur Court Would Get So Loud That At Some Points The Baskets And Overhead Scoreboard Would Begin Shaking. Here, The Pit Crew Taunts Washington Guard Nate Robinson With Chants And Posters Of Gary Coleman. (credit: Chris Pietsch)

With Brooks, Hairston, or Leunen nowhere to be found, the Ducks limped all the way to an 8-23 finish in 2008-09. They won just six nonconference games that season and finished dead last in the conference by four games. At one low point, Oregon was only four games away from finishing the year without a Pac-10 victory before they beat Stanford. Despite some grumblings throughout Eugene, Kent held on to his job for another year. 2009-10 wasn’t much better, though, and despite finishing with a .500 record, the Ducks only beat one nationally ranked opponent all year long. Kent was soon fired, and after a lengthy coaching search that resulted in many candidates turning down the job, Creighton’s Dana Altman signed on.

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Pac-12 ATB: Weekend in Review

Posted by Connor Pelton on December 12th, 2011

The Lede. 
Picked by almost all preseason pundits as a lock to make the NCAA Tournament, Washington finds itself at .500 through eight games. There was the embarrassing double-figure loss at Saint Louis, an overtime heartbreaker at Nevada, and some questionable coaching at the end of the Jimmy V Classic against Marquette. Now the Huskies are on the wrong side of the bubble and slipping fast. In order for the Dawgs to get back into the NCAA picture, blowout victories in their final three nonconference games (UC Santa Barbara, South Dakota State, and Cal State Northridge) are vital, and 12 or 13 wins in the Pac-12 will also be necessary.

Washington's Run Against Duke Came a Bit Too Late Saturday

For the sake of comparison, and because I have a degree in Bracketology, here’s a look at Washington’s current résumé compared to the three other teams that I have on the wrong side of the bubble:


  • Record: 4-4
  • RPI: 78
  • SOS: 28
  • Quality Wins: N/A
  • Bad Losses: @ Nevada

Oklahoma State

  • Record: 6-3
  • RPI: 86
  • SOS: 80
  • Quality Wins: N/A
  • Bad Losses: N/A


  • Record: 6-3
  • RPI: 97
  • SOS: 105
  • Quality Wins: @ TCU
  • Bad Losses: Wake Forest


  • Record: 4-4
  • RPI: 170
  • SOS: 171
  • Good Wins: N/A
  • Bad Losses: South Carolina

Looking over the résumés, it appears that Washington, Oklahoma State, and Nebraska are all pretty even at this point, while Clemson is a few steps behind. I am big on strength of schedule so if I had to fill one spot with any of those three teams, I would go with Washington. The Cornhuskers do have a nice win at TCU, but a home loss against a terrible Wake Forest team cancels that out. The Cowboys boast a nice record and a mediocre RPI, but with no quality wins and an SOS that is far behind Washington’s, I don’t feel good putting them in the field.

What we have not yet mentioned was the great game that took place on Saturday between Duke and the Huskies. It took Washington 15 minutes into the second half to FINALLY make some baskets, but they grouped that with great defense and some poor Blue Devil shooting to cut a deficit that was as big as 19 in the second half all the way down to three with a minute left. Unfortunately for Washington, Duke eventually found their touch at the line in the final minute, and the only time they would get back within six was on a Terrence Ross three as time expired.
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