I Can See for Miles

Player of the Week

Miles Bridges, Michigan State

Miles BridgesMiles BridgesThough the Spartans dropped one at home against Purdue, they looked great in a win over Michigan, and both efforts were sparked by the massively talented freshman forward Miles Bridges. He dropped a career-high 33 on Purdue, then followed it up with a solid 15 points and 13 rebounds against Michigan. This week he averaged 24 PPG, 10 RPG, 2 SPG, 3 BPG, and 56% shooting, a remarkable one-week stat line that really isn’t out of the norm for him this year. Bridges has been surprisingly effective shooting the 3 ball this year and continues to impress with his raw explosiveness and scoring ability. He still must overcome being a tweener as he lacks length and height as a PF. Regardless, he’s one of the best first-year players in the country and racks up this week's Player of the Week Award.

Who’s Hot?

Ethan Happ, Wisconsin

It was hardly the most impressive week the Badgers have had all season, as they cruised past an overmatched Penn State team at home then were taken as close to the edge as possible in an ugly, ugly win over conference cellar dweller Rutgers, but the big man, Ethan Happ, was hardly the reason the Rutgers game was so dramatic. Unlike the rest of the Wisconsin starting lineup, which shot 6-32 (19%), Happ scored 32, taking over late in particular, and put Rutgers away. Earlier in the week, he had an easy 14 points against Penn State with 8 rebounds thrown in, giving him averages of 23 PPG, 7 RPG, 3.5 SPG and 63% shooting on the week. At times, when Nigel Hayes and Bronson Koenig have looked lost and inconsistent, the sophomore has been the steady producer rather than the two upperclassmen. Nearly averaging a double-double, as well as 3 assists and 2 steals, the versatile big man will surely be in contention for all-conference honors at season’s end.

[Player: Derrick Walton, Jr.], Michigan

The Wolverines also split their games this week, destroying Indiana, then losing the rivalry game to Michigan State. Walton scored 21 on 7/8 shooting against Indiana, adding 5 assists, then put up 24 on Michigan State, including a whopping 14/15 from the free throw stripe to go along with 9 rebounds and 5 assists. He was not to blame for the loss. Walton hasn’t always been much of a scorer at all, but this year, he’s taking on more of the scoring load, and he is succeeding. This was his first pair of back-to-back 20+ point performances ever.

Akeem Springs, Minnesota

There aren’t a lot of bright spots to be found for the once-proud Gophers team that started the season 15-2, but Akeem Springs is one of the few. The Milwaukee transfer began the season in a bench role but was recently given Dupree McBrayer’s starting spot. Since then, he has come much closer to replicating his Milwaukee performance, and now has 15+ points in three consecutive games. This week he scored 15 (with 10 rebounds) against Ohio State, then 23 more against Maryland. Both outings were in losses, but the Gophers are surely happy to see their shiny new transfer getting comfortable with the Big Ten. He’s raised his scoring average to 9.9 on the season.

Who’s Not?

Peter Jok, Iowa

For a mere mortal, this current stretch of performances that the conference leading scorer, Peter Jok, finds himself in would be pretty adequate. But for him, he’s really in a slump. Prior to missing the Ohio State game, Jok was held to 4, 14, and 10 points in his previous three games, when his previous season low was 13. These issues all seem to stem from the back issues that kept him out against the Buckeyes, but nonetheless, the Hawkeyes aren’t quite the same without him at 100%. IN his past three games, he’s shot 9/30 (30%) from the field and 3/17 (18%) from the field. The Hawkeyes have fallen out of tournament contention, but if they want to chase a possible NIT bid, they’re going to need their star healthy and playing at full strength, or be forced to lean almost entirely on freshmen.

Lamar Stevens, Penn State

Three weeks ago, Lamar Stevens was second on his team in scoring and one of the more promising freshmen in the Big Ten. He’s still promising, but in that period, his production has completely fallen off. His scoring average was hovering around 12 at the time, but he has run off five straight single-digit scoring performances, averaging 5.2 PPG in that stretch and shooting only 19%. It’s no coincidence the Nittany Lions are a few possessions away from going 0-5 in that period. Stevens will get it figured out, but right now, he epitomizes the way youth and inexperience has hindered this team at times.


Projected Postseason

Wisconsin – 5 seed
Purdue – 5
Maryland – 6
Northwestern – 9
Minnesota – 10
Michigan State – 12

Michigan – NIT
Illinois – NIT
Ohio State – NIT
Iowa – CBI

Penn State, Nebraska, Rutgers - None

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