Checking In On… The Big Ten Conference

Posted by Brian Goodman on January 10th, 2012

Bill Hupp is the RTC correspondent for the Big Ten Conference. Follow him on Twitter @Bill_Hupp for his thoughts on hoops, food, Russian nesting dolls and life.

Reader’s Take 

 

The Week That Was:

  • OT Madness in Madison: It was just one of the most unusual endings to a basketball game in recent memory. Ryan Evans banked home a turn-around desperation heave from the right wing as time expired, and many thought the Michigan StateWisconsin game in Madison was heading to a second overtime tied at 63. It was waved off, however, after officials discovered the there was a 0.2-second disparity between the game clock on the basket and the one on the scoreboard. By rule, the officials used the clock on the basket, which expired with the ball in Evans’ fingertips. (The must-see full video is after the jump). Ball game over as Wisconsin’s woes continued under truly bizarre circumstances.
  • Bertrand to the Rescue: A subtle, underrated move by Illini coach Bruce Weber has Illinois at 3-1 and currently tied for second in the conference. Looking to shake up his lackluster team, Weber gave little-used sophomore wing Joseph Bertrand more minutes against Missouri. Bertrand responded by going 9-9 from the field for 19 points. In the last five games, Bertrand has averaged 15 points and 3.2 rebounds in 29.2 minutes, and has even started the past two. He poured in a career-high 25 points on 11-12 shooting to help the Illini survive Nebraska at home.
  • Road Warriors: First, Iowa took down Wisconsin at the Kohl Center. As a follow-up act, the Hawkeyes went up to The Barn this week and knocked off Minnesota. That’s no small feat for team who was blown out by Campbell earlier this season and whose leading scorer in conference play is 28th in scoring (Matt Gatens at 10.5 PPG). It’s doubtful Fran McCaffrey’s bunch will finish conference play with even a .500 record, but they have proven they can make shots and win on the road.

Who Will Stop Draymond Green And Michigan State? (Al Goldis/AP)

Power Rankings

  1. Ohio State (15-2, 3-1) – When you consider that Ohio State plays in the nation’s top-ranked conference (according to the RPI), it’s pretty insane that the Buckeyes have won three of their Big Ten games by an average of 31 points. They aren’t just beating lesser opponents; they are destroying them. It’s a clear indication of why the Buckeyes are considered by many the class of the conference and one of the favorites to win it all in New Orleans. Another reason is that OSU is ranked in the top 3 in 16 of the Big 10’s 21 statistical categories. Read the rest of this entry »
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Night Line: How Far Can Wisconsin’s Unique System Carry Them?

Posted by EJacoby on December 1st, 2011


Evan Jacoby is an RTC columnist. You can find him 
@evanJacoby on Twitter. Night Line will run on weeknights during the season, highlighting a major storyline development from that day’s slate of games.

Every year, Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan finds a way to turn a collection of mostly unheralded individual players into an overachieving team, thanks to a well-designed playing style that values time of possession and situational playmaking. This season appears to be no different, and in fact might be the ultimate example of the perfect Wisconsin system. Bo’s Badgers suffered their first loss of the season on Wednesday night at No. 4 North Carolina, yet the team nearly pulled out a victory against a team it never stood a chance against, at least on paper. Once the ball tips off, Wisconsin dominates the pace of games, and this team does one thing better than any other – it limits their opponents’ possessions. This style almost took down UNC tonight, and it should lead to victories against nearly any other team.

They Lost to UNC, But Wisconsin's Defense Should Lead to Many Victories (AP/G. Broome)

This is Bo Ryan basketball; a slowed-down version of the game that may not be the most entertaining for casual fans to enjoy, but is fascinating for basketball purists to watch. A Wisconsin tilt this season averages out to a 60-possession game, which is the lowest pace in the country. They have the best defensive efficiency (83.5) and lowest turnover rate (8.1 per game) in the nation as well. They have a fearless leader in preseason All-America point guard Jordan Taylor, and he orchestrates the team on both ends of the floor. Even though the Badgers got outrebounded on Wednesday by 13 against North Carolina, and they hardly ever got to the free throw line (six attempts), limiting their opponent’s offensive opportunities gave them a reasonable chance to win in the final few minutes. Few teams that Wisconsin plays will be as gifted offensively as UNC, so they should be able to prevent more points against other teams by employing this style.

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Around The Blogosphere: February 3, 2011

Posted by nvr1983 on February 3rd, 2011


If you are interested in participating in our ATB2 feature, send in your submissions to rushthecourt@gmail.com. We will add to this post throughout the day as the submissions come in so keep on sending them.

Top 25 Games

  • #19 Syracuse 66, #5 UConn 58: “There will be no five-game losing streak. There will be no talk of scandals. Tomorrow, the only thing worth talking about will be the fact that Syracuse basketball won a game and they did so when they needed to most. For more than one reason, Wednesday’s 66-58 win over UConn helped change the conversation and get a program back on track.” (Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician: Recap and Photos)
  • #6 Duke 80, Maryland 62: “Well, I was wrong: it wasn’t a close game after all. Duke got 22 and 21 points out of Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith, respectively, to overcome a Jordan Williams double-double and defeat Maryland in the Comcast Center, 80-62. In truth, the game was much closer, as Maryland had the lead as small as five more than midway through the second half, but the result is the only thing that matters. Maryland is now dropped to 14-8 overall and 4-4 in the ACC. The Terrapins will likely need a deep run in the ACC tournament or 11 ACC wins (or both) to sneak into the NCAA tournament, the latter of which would require a 7-1 finish to conference play.” (Testudo Times)
  • Indiana 60, #20 Minnesota 57: “Indiana ran circles around the Gophers for three quarters of the game before Minnesota actually showed life. However, the deficit and ineptitude at the free throw line proved insurmountable and ultimately doomed Minnesota’s comeback chances. The Hoosiers walked away with a 70-67 victory and yet another win over a ranked team at home” (From the Barn: Recap or Inside the Hall: Recap and Interviews)

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Set Your Tivo: 01.20.10

Posted by rtmsf on January 20th, 2010

We’re trying a new star system out here at the Set Your Tivo desk beginning today.  Let us know in the comments if you think we should change our ratings system.

SYT Star System

***** - quit your job and divorce your wife if that’s what it takes to watch this game live
**** - best watched live, but if you must, tivo and watch it tonight as soon as you get home
*** - set your tivo but make sure you watch it later
** - set your tivo but we’ll forgive you if it stays in the queue until 2012
* - don’t waste bandwidth (yours or the tivo’s) of any kind on this game

Xavier @ Temple – 7 pm on FSOhio and CSN  (*****)

It is a shame more people won’t be able to watch this Atlantic Ten battle that will most likely decide the regular season conference champion.  Xavier is the only 4-0 team in the A10 right now, but Temple is the conference’s representative in the top 25 rankings.  Both teams are coming off four straight wins, including Xavier’s recent victory over a strong Dayton team.  Needless to say, these teams are talented and should provide an entertaining game.  Scouts will also be in attendance to see how potential first round pick Jordan Crawford can match up against Temple’s methodical style of play.  The Owls only score 64.6 points per game, but at 56.0 points given up on defense, most of their games are close.  Considering Xavier’s lack of success in big games this year (Butler, Wake Forest, Baylor, Kansas State) and Temple’s ability to perform well at home, look for the Owls to give Xavier a run for their money, but something tells me the Musketeers are ready to emerge as the best team in this talented conference.

Georgetown @Pittsburgh – 7 pm on ESPNU  (****)

Those without ESPNU will unfortunately miss out on the night’s only matchup between two top 25 teams.  Both Pittsburgh and Georgetown have been pleasant surprises this year, as Georgetown responded from last year’s NIT season and Pitt has been able to cope with the loss of several key players.  The Panthers have all the momentum heading into this game, as they have won eight straight while the Hoyas are coming off of a loss to Villanova.  Over 82 percent of ESPN voters claim Pitt will win this game at the Petersen Events Center, where they are 10-0 this year, but Georgetown will not be an easy team to take down.  The Hoyas are much more balanced with four players scoring in double figures, including center Greg Monroe, who is averaging a double-double so far this season.  If Georgetown’s road woes (just 3-2 on the year with losses in their last two road games) and Pitt’s ability to excel at home continue, look for Pitt to ride Ashton Gibbs and company to stay even with Villanova atop the Big East.  However, Georgetown’s defense has been strong all season, and if they can find a way to lock down Gibbs or Brad Wanamaker, this game will be a close call.

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From the Student Section: Wisconsin Badgers

Posted by rtmsf on December 19th, 2009

Contributing writer Kevin Chupka will periodically interview a rabid student fan about all things basketball on the court and in the stands… a view from the student section.

College basketball has its casual fans just like any other sport.  There is one group however that elevates it above all else by taking “fandom” to new heights.  A group tasked with truly being that sixth man on the court.  Sure the alumni can open up wallets full of cash from the real world and they can drink their fancy imported beer but the lifeblood of any great team inside the many arenas of division one college basketball are the students.  There are always exceptions (yours truly and Dick Vitale to name but two) but by and large students are the ones who live and breathe based on their team’s fortunes.  And so I sought to find some of those rabid fans.  The ones that paint their bare chests bright red or blue or orange.  The ones that lead the student section in chants that lift up their team and dash the dreams of the other.  In the weeks that follow we’ll get the dirt from inside the foxhole as we pick the brains of those who know their team best.

People like Michael Bleach, the beat writer for The Badger Herald, the paper of record at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  The senior journalism major has his finger on the pulse of the basketball Badgers; and while he and many in town were still streaming into Camp Randall Stadium to cheer on the gridiron Badgers, Michael was also looking closely at a basketball team that the mainstream media saw clawing for notoriety in a strong Big Ten conference.

In a column previewing the season Michael wrote: “the national media (AP Top 25) has determined the Badgers will finish behind Michigan State, Purdue, Michigan, Ohio State, Illinois and Minnesota. Michigan State and Purdue I will give you. As for the rest of the teams on that list, however, they haven’t invented a word strong enough for me to express my disbelief. I am colossally baffled.”  Baffled he told me because “The team has no holes in the starting five — with everyone on the floor able to shoot from beyond the arc — and it is a Bo Ryan team, so you know they will play strong defense. They have two strong subs coming off the bench in Jordan Taylor (sixth man of the year candidate) and Ryan Evans (typical athletic, defense, hustling guy).”

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