Player of the Week
Lamar Stevens, Penn State
There hasn’t been a lot of buzz around the senior small forward this season as his Nittany Lions have had a rocky year to this point. Stevens came in as a part of a promising freshman class in 2015, but with the early departure of Tony Carr and the up-and-down play of Mike Watkins, things never really panned out. Even so, this has become Stevens’ team. Aside from an upset of #14 Virginia Tech, there wasn’t much success to be had for the Nittany Lions until they got their first conference win in 13 tries against #6 Michigan. Stevens dropped 26 and grabbed 12 rebounds in the win, then helped give #12 Purdue a scare on the road, scoring 18 points in that contest. Stevens currently sits at second in the Big Ten in scoring with 19.2 PPG, in addition to 8 RPG, better than any other non-post player in the league.
Jordan Murphy, Minnesota
The Gophers couldn’t quiet pull off the sweep, falling by a point on the road against Nebraska, but it was another big, double-double-laden week for Jordan Murphy. 21 PPG, 12 RPG, 3 APG, and 54% from the field makes for a week any post player would envy. And to cap it off, the Gophers snapped a brutal 4-game losing streak that included three ranked opponents with a beatdown of Indiana.
Aaron Wiggins, Maryland
With their dynamic trio of Bruno Fernando, Anthony Cowan Jr., and Jalen Smith, the Terrapins haven’t had to rely too much on their true freshmen. But this week, Aaron Wiggins, a forward out of North Carolina, stepped up in a big way. He scored 11 in a win over Purdue, then matched his career high with 15 against Michigan. Though it was a loss, it has to be encouraging for coach Mark Turgeon to see someone else chipping in in a big way beyond his big three. Wiggins made 9-16 field goals this week (56%), including 6/11 from three.
Ignas Brazdeikis, Michigan
The rough week that Michigan had in losing to lowly Penn State was epitomized by the struggles of Iggy Brazdeikis, their leading scorer. The freshman struggled with foul trouble in the loss and only played 17 minutes. Though he shot 3-4, he barely made an impact offensively with only 6 points, a rough follow-up to his 2 point outing against Wisconsin. And though the Wolverines rebounded with a win over #24 Maryland, Brazdeikis only hit 4-11 (36%) from the field.
D'Mitrik Trice, Wisconsin
Trice is in a slump. Somehow, a 12 PPG scorer and the second-leading scorer on a good Badgers team has now gone six straight games of scoring in single digits. He has not shot better than 43% in the span either. This past week, Trice scored a measly 9 points in 50 minutes in a loss to Michigan State and a tight victory at home against Illinois. He made just 20% of his shots this week. He’s struggling to get open looks and he’s not been efficient around the rim. The Badgers will need him to get back on track to complement Ethan Happ inside as the postseason draws closer.
Ryan Cline, Purdue
Cline, top tier sharpshooter and second option to dynamic guard Carsen Edwards, averages upwards of 12 PPG on the season but he didn’t come close to that in Purdue’s two games this week. In fact, he scored merely 13 in 70 minutes of action on 4/18 shooting (22%). And against Penn State, Cline was 0-fer from the three-point line for the first time since December. Fortunately, other guys stepped up against Penn State, but when we saw Purdue’s top 5 offense nationally (per KenPom) sputter in the second half against Maryland, Cline’s cold night was a big part of why.
Top 5 Names in the Big Ten
1. Thorir Thorbjarnarson, Nebraska
2. Adonis De La Rosa, Illinois
3. Myles Dread, Penn State
4. Harrison Hookfin, Ohio State
5. Dupree McBrayer
2) Michigan State
10) Ohio State
11) Penn State