Archive - Jan 10, 2011
Monday January 10th
Conference play has begun, but the top of our Power 16 remains unchanged. Ohio State survived a couple of close Big Ten contests, while Kansas escaped in OT at Michigan to remain unbeaten. BYU’s huge win at UNLV gives the Mountain West two top-10 teams, while Notre Dame’s two big conference wins gives the Big East five Power 16 teams. Onto the rankings:
Player of the Week
It has been rather easy to heap praise on Ohio State’s play so far this season, but please understand that it would be harder to ignore it. When facing Iowa on the road, the Buckeyes had a bit of a sleep walking start. The first half was slow and ugly on all counts, and Iowa went into the break with a 36-29 lead. Ohio State came out in the second half and rode Sullinger early and often. In the first nine minutes of the second half, Sullinger got a shot on nine of the team’s sixteen possessions, scored 11 points, and saw the Iowa seven point halftime lead turned into a seven point deficit. Sullinger finished with 24 points and 12 rebounds and Ohio State held on in what was for the most part a game worth forgetting. On Sunday against a very long Minnesota squad with a great matchup against Trevor Mbakwe, Sullinger did not have quite as dominant an effort but still very solid against a quality opponent. Mbakwe was his typical active self on both ends around the basket finishing with 16 points, 12 rebounds, and was able to block Sullinger’s shot three times. Still, the runaway freshman of the year finished with 15 points on 5-11 from the field and had 12 rebounds to help Ohio State escape another week undefeated.
Last week’s blog noted the much appreciated offensive output from Ryne Smith in Purdue’s first two Big Ten games, but this week Smith was nothing short of tremendous at shooting. He was 11-14 from the field, all of which came from behind the arc. He was 5-5 from three for 20 points at Penn State, with 5-7 from the line to boot, and 6-9 shooting for 18 points against Iowa. His ascension as Purdue’s third scoring threat cannot be understated. On a day like Sunday where JaJuan Johnson and [Player: E’Twaun Moore] combine for 12-32 shooting, the Boilermakers could have been incredibly vulnerable. Smith’s six threes combined with a quality performance from Kelsey Barlow made it a no doubter.