Big Ten M5: 10.18.12 Edition

Posted by Deepak Jayanti on October 18th, 2012

  1. The first official preseason polls are out and there are three total B1G teams in the top five positions of the USA Today Coaches Poll – Indiana, Ohio State and Michigan. It should come as no surprise that Indiana has been voted #1 after all of the hype surrounding the Hoosiers during the offseason. It might be a little surprising, however, to see the Buckeyes ranked one spot higher than Michigan at #4. Both OSU and the Wolverines return three key starters, so the overall ranking is well deserved to begin the season.
  2. Another update on the Jabari Parker sweepstakes – he will not be committing during the early signing period and probably will wait until December to announce his decision. Parker is scheduled to visit Michigan State this weekend and will visit his other top choices – Duke, Florida, Stanford and BYU – over the next few weeks through mid-November. Tom Izzo has been recruiting Parker for a couple of years now and will get a chance to convince him further in East Lansing in a few days. It will be very surprising if Parker stays more than one season in the college game but that might just be enough for him to make a difference at one of the five programs.
  3. College hoops icon Dick Vitale is just getting warmed up around this time of the year. He announced his preseason “All-Solid Gold Team,” which is essentially his list of best players for the season and it includes several players from the Big Ten. Indiana’s Cody Zeller and Michigan’s Trey Burke are on the first team followed by Ohio State’s Deshaun Thomas on the second team. Seniors Trevor Mbakwe and Brandon Paul made it onto the fourth team which may be considered a bit of a surprise but is not a complete shocker considering their scoring averages from their last season – 14.0 PPG and 14.7 PPG, respectively. Mbakwe didn’t play a full season last year due to an injury, though. Junior guard Aaron Craft was also on his list despite averaging only 8.6 PPG last season but he is arguably the best on-ball defender in the country.
  4. Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan has played a prominent role in Madison, both on and off the court. His record as a coach speaks for itself as he led the Badgers to several consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances over the years. Off the court, he is actively involved in the community and his most recent event is a “charity stripe” challenge to encourage the students to participate in raising money for cancer research as part of the “Coaches vs. Cancer” challenge. The event will be held at the Kohl Center on October 25 and $1 will be donated for every student in attendance. Ryan’s Badgers are ranked #21 in the USA Today preseason poll that was released yesterday. Despite losing Jordan Taylor who was an All-American guard last season, other Badgers are expected to step up, specifically freshman phenom Sam Dekker and point guard George Marshall.
  5. After three official practices, Purdue head coach Matt Painter is very impressed with his newcomers on the squad. Returning wing DJ Byrd has been very satisfied with freshman A.J. Hammons during practice and praised his work ethic to improve his conditioning during the offseason. Painter thinks that the team is meshing well together and credited the four exhibition games on the European tour in August as one of the main reasons. The non-conference schedule is extremely important for the Boilers because they need several new faces to understand their roles on the team. Hammons is expected to be one of the primary options in the frontcourt along with sophomore forward Jacob Lawson who averaged 11 MPG last season. Redshirt wing Donnie Hale is also expected to contribute on the offensive end in addition to returning guard Terone Johnson (9.2 PPG) who will certainly be the primary scorer for Painter.
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