Big Ten M5: 10.29.12 Edition

Posted by Deepak Jayanti on October 29th, 2012

  1. The injury bug has stung the Wisconsin Badgers this preseason. After losing Mike Bruesewitz for a few weeks with a leg injury, they have now lost one of their returning guards, Josh Gasser, for the season. Gasser tore his ACL during practice on Saturday. Gasser averaged 7.6 PPG and 4.2 RPG while playing 34.1 MPG last season and Bo Ryan indicated that he would start in the backcourt. Bruesewitz should be back by mid-December and his senior leadership will be a great asset for a young Badger squad but Gasser’s absence will be felt. Traevon Jackson and George Marshall will be called upon to step up in the backcourt and assume the point guard role as Ryan regroups before the season begins.
  2. Minnesota assistant coach Saul Smith will return to the sidelines after his DWI and temporary suspension. Gophers’ athletic director Norwood Teague said that Smith has been reinstated in terms of payroll as of last Friday but will not return to his job until November 13. Teague reiterated that this type of behavior will not be “taken lightly,” but didn’t think it was an offense that should cost Smith his job. According to the university, Smith’s court hearing will be on November 9. Gopher fans just want the season to get started and see their talented squad in action as Minnesota is considered as the next best team in the conference after Indiana, Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State and Wisconsin (per the preseason polls).
  3. Tom Crean recently received a huge commitment from Troy Williams, a top 50 recruit in the class of 2013. Williams, a 6’6 wing, plays for Oak Hill Academy and let Crean know about his decision over the weekend. The other finalists on his list of schools were Alabama, Arkansas, Louisville and North Carolina. The high school senior was in attendance for Hoosier Hysteria last weekend and was impressed by what he saw in Bloomington. Indiana will lose Christian Watford (12.6 PPG, 5.8 RPG) at the wing after this year, but Crean continues to set himself up with another good recruiting class upcoming.
  4. Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo has never been one to remain quiet about his thoughts with the media. Izzo recently discussed the AP and Coaches preseason polls in the context of MSU’s primary rivals, Indiana and Michigan. IU comes in at #1 while Michigan is #5 and the Spartans are ranked at #14 in both of the major preseason polls. Izzo also talked about the role of image and national perception in the college hoops world and believes that it is an important ingredient to success. He added that there is no reason for him to like his rivals (specifically Michigan) but he can “respect them.” The rivals face off twice during the Big Ten season – on February 12 in East Lansing and on March 2 in Ann Arbor.
  5. Tom Izzo, Bo Ryan and Tubby Smith have been coaching for years in the business. Even though Thad Matta is only 45, his impact on the coaching ranks has been very impressive as he already has had several assistants move on to bigger opportunities at other programs. Eleven Warriors explores Matta’s coaching tree after Big Ten Media Day. Matta’s once-assistant John Groce, for example, will now be coaching against him at Illinois. Matta’s assistants include Butler head coach Brad Stevens and Arizona head coach Sean Miller, both of whom are considered rising coaches in the business. The Big Ten is known for its coaches with long tenures such as Bobby Knight and Gene Keady. If Matta stays in Columbus for another decade or so, his coaching tree will continue to expand and his footprint on Big Ten hoops will only continue to grow.
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