Big Ten Blog
Player of the Week
Great teams have plenty of games where they simply overwhelm the other team and cruise to easy wins, Ohio State certainly showed that when they rolled Iowa on Wednesday night, but how do they respond when nothing is coming easily for them? Duke went into Florida State and bore no resemblance to the team that won their first fifteen games. They shot 31 percent and turned the ball over 15 times. Kansas hosted Texas on Saturday afternoon, and had a horrible day. The Morris twins struggled shooting the ball. The guard play from Tyshawn Taylor and Josh Selby was poor. Thomas Robinson could not be on the floor for a minute without picking up a foul. The team could not hit free throws. The result was a 74-63 home loss. In many ways, Ohio State could have fallen under the same set of circumstances. David Lighty followed up a great 18-point game against Iowa with a 3-14 showing. William Buford was 2-8 shooting and freshman point guard Aaron Craft was only 1-5. Jon Diebler was hitting from the field, but rarely had enough room to get his shot off. Jared Sullinger was left with the burden of carrying the offense, but with 12:00 to go in the second half the Buckeyes found themselves down eight in a hostile Assembly Hall environment. At that point, Ohio State showed the resolve and depth of a championship team. Thad Matta found a spark from freshman Deshaun Thomas who had seen limited minutes since the start of conference play. He came through in a big way with 8 second half points in a four minute span during which Ohio State went from three down to a six point lead. From that point on, the team rode Sullinger in the low post. While the freshman did not have a great shooting day from the field, 7-15, he was 13-15 from the line. Even when a team has the length to bother Sullinger, they also need the bulk to put him in a spot for it to make a difference. When he was able to get position in the paint, he was unstoppable. He either scored or was fouled. For the day, Sullinger had 27 points, 16 rebounds, and 3 blocked shots following up a 13 point, 9 rebound effort against Iowa. It might not have been the prettiest win for Ohio State, but successful teams have to come away with those type of ugly wins on the road. Next week will not offer Ohio State a reprieve. Tuesday night game puts them up in a big against Purdue in Columbus, and they hit the road for a game against Northwestern on Saturday.
Wisconsin and Josh Gasser against Northwestern
The game started out with a very little defense and a flurry of points for both sides. The Badgers scored on eight of their first ten possessions and Northwestern matched them nearly point for point until the second media timeout. From that point forward, Wisconsin stayed on its torrid pace, and Northwestern did not. It was not until the lead was built to 69-30 midway through the second half did the attack slow. With ten minutes to go in the game, the Badgers as a team were 28-43 from the field. It was a remarkable performance across the board. Freshman point guard Josh Gasser had the first triple-double in the school’s 113-year school history, and was the first in the conference to get one since 1977. He finished with 10 points, 10 assists, and 12 rebounds. Jon Leuer pumped in 17 of his 19 points in the second half and finished 8-10 from the field. Senior Keaton Nankivil had 16 points on 7-10 shooting. The leading scorer in conference play, junior Jordan Taylor, added 14 points. It was an incredible showing of dominance by Wisconsin, and the second horribly embarrassing blowout loss by Northwestern this month. It is hard to believe the team that showed up Saturday was the same squad that responded to it poor effort against Illinois with four wins and a well fought overtime loss in East Lansing.
Michigan’s Rebounding against Minnesota
The Gophers had as many offensive rebounds, eleven, as every individual on Michigan. It is hard to win games when a team gets tripled up in the rebounding category, and it was more or less remarkable that Michigan was as close as they were. As Jon Beilein put it, "Despite the rebounding advantage, which happens when you don't make shots and they do, you have a chance to win the game if you just have a few more things go well.” The Wolverines were able to force Minnesota into 17 turnovers, but they could not get a stop down the stretch. Michigan has had a difficult time on the glass in conference play. They have only outrebounded their opponents once, and are currently last in the league in rebounding differential, -8.9 per game in conference and -0.6 in all games.
Top 5 Games that could keep Ohio State from having a perfect regular season
1. February 12, at Wisconsin
2. February 20, at Purdue
3. This Tuesday January 25, Purdue
4. February 6, at Minnesota
5. February 15, Michigan State
Iowa put up a season high 91 points against Indiana. The Hawkeyes had been averaging 62.5 points in Big Ten play before the game.
After Sunday’s game, Josh Gasser now has 21 assists and 3 turnovers in seven Big Ten conference games.
Michigan Freshman Tim Hardaway Jr. tied his high total for the season with 20 points against Minnesota and is averaging 14 points in his last five games.
Michigan transfer Jordan Dumars, who transferred from South Florida after the first semester last season, has had another surgery on his torn meniscus and probably will miss the rest of the season, including practices. Beilein said Dumars probably would pursue a medical redshirt because of the surgeries.
Kalin Lucas had a rough shooting night at Purdue. He finished 3-16 from the field. The rest of Michigan State’s roster was 25-47.
To say the Morris Twins struggled is an understatement! I haven't seen a struggle like that all season. I hope it was a fluke; I expect more!
Tina, Internship Director for Hannamint
When is PSU gonna get some mention on here? We're actually semi-decent this year. I'm sure most everyone knows about Talor Battle (6'0" 175 lbs), the definitive leader of a team that lost to tOSU and Purdue on the road by a combined 4 points, but the real pro (maybe not NBA) prospect on this squad is fellow senior Jeff Brooks. Brooks is a late-bloomer talent wise, but has really come on this season, averaging 13.5 ppg 8 rpg 2.1 ast and 1.7 bpg and shooting at a 43% clip from beyond the arc. He's a legit 6' 8" and has athleticism to boot, as evidenced by this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVRJV95ZY0k&feature=feedu
Give him a look
"Top 5: Players Exceeding Expectations
1. Trevor Mbakwe, Minnesota- Everyone knew he was big, active, and athletic, but he has been the best and most consistent player for Minnesota all year. 13.4 points, 9.9 rebounds, 1.2 blocks, 1.0 steals per game, 61.7 percent shooting.
2. Darius Morris, Michigan- He was hidden in the shadow of Manny Harris and Courtney Sims as a freshman, but has been a tremendous playmaker this year running the Wolverine offense. 15.3 points, 7.4 assists, 3.7 rebounds, and 1.5 steals per game.
3. Jeff Brooks, Penn State- Last year Penn State struggled to be little more than the Talor Battle show, but the development of the senior big man has made the Nittany Lions a more competitive team this year. 13.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks per game."
I remember that Kansas game. I had a 2k bet on them. Fortunately, I had couverture< from a friend, and I just one K. But still, it was an horrible game.