Big Ten Basketball: Team Preview -- The Elite Teams -- Part VI


GBMWolverine Basketball TidbitsPosted at 12:00pm — 1/11/2014

Big Ten Basketball: Team Preview — The Elite Teams — Part VI

Which Hog Will Eat The Cabbage?
Wisconsin, Ohio State, and Michigan State

We have been through the have not’s and the have something teams. Now on to the teams that definitely have a chance at winning the league title. All three teams a re locks to make the NCAA Tournament. The three teams most likely to win the conference title are Wisconsin, Ohio State, and Michigan State.

Dec 4, 2012; Champaign, IL, USA; The Big Ten logo displayed on the court before the game between the Western Carolina Catamounts and the Illinois Fighting Illini at Assembly Hall. Mandatory Credit: Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 4, 2012; Champaign, IL, USA; The Big Ten logo displayed on the court before the game between the Western Carolina Catamounts and the Illinois Fighting Illini at Assembly Hall. Mandatory Credit: Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports

Wisconsin appears to be better than last year and the schedule is the most favorable in the realm. It seems somehow the Badgers play Ohio State and Michigan State once each, and at home to boot. Wisconsin is a very good team, and that schedule equalizer puts the Badgers right into the mix.

Now do not get any alternative ideas, this is the same type of Wisconsin team all of us are used to watching. This year the tough defense continues and the offense has been impressive. The Badgers were 13-0 in nonconference play, beating Florida, St. Louis, Marquette, and West Virginia.

Jan 5, 2014; Madison, WI, USA; Wisconsin Badgers forward Sam Dekker (15) looks to pass as Iowa Hawkeyes guard Mike Gesell (left) defends at the Kohl Center. Wisconsin defeated Iowa 75-71. Mandatory Credit: Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Sophomore forward Sam Dekker is leading the way in scoring, averaging around 14 points per game. He is contributing well regarding shooting percentage and rebounding.

Also averaging around 14 points a game is 7-foot junior Frank Kamisnky and also averaging around 6 rebounds a game. He can hit three-pointers.

The very familiar senior guard Ben Brust is averaging 13 points a game and contributes five rebounds a game; a very nice number for a small guard.

Junior Traevon Jackson is hitting over ten points a game and nearly five rebounds a game.

Dec 28, 2013; Madison, WI, USA; Wisconsin Badgers guard Josh Gasser drives ball to the basket as Prairie View A

Josh Gasser is a guard averaging almost 9 points a game and 4 rebounds.

Wisconsin has shot almost 40 percent from the three-point area, an excellent figure. The team is shooting 47% combined and 73% from the foul line. Wisconsin gets inside and gets to the foul line. The verdict is clear: the Badgers are tough.

Ohio State may have the most athletic talent in the league. This has been a given over the last decade. Gone is the one-pony scoring show of last year and several Buckeyes have made big progress on the scoring front now that the ball hits their hands more frequently.

Jan 4, 2014; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes forward LaQuinton Ross (10) takes a foul shot against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at The Schottenstein Center. Ohio State won the game 84-53. Mandatory Credit: Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

LaQuinton Ross has been a big beneficiary of the new ball dispersal. The 6’ 8” junior is averaging 13 points and 6 rebounds a game. On the surface, these stats are not overly impressive, but Ross can take over a game in many ways. He is probably one of the top three or four athletes in the conference.

A second Buckeye to come on strong is senior guard Lenzelle Smith Jr. Like Ross, he is one of the top athletes in the conference. He is averaging over 12 points and five rebounds a game.

Ohio State has always known the high level of athlete Amir Williams can be. Last year, the light came on and is burning brighter this year. The 6’ 11” junior is supplying 10 points and 7 rebounds a game. He is a highlight maker and a Dunkenstein candidate.

Jan 7, 2014; East Lansing, MI, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes guard Aaron Craft (4) and guard Shannon Scott (3) react during overtime against the Michigan State Spartans at Jack Breslin Student Events Center. Spartans beat the Buckeyes 72-68 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Aaron Craft is the best defensive player in the conference. He is short of ten points a game, but runs the Buckeye show. The points off of Craft’s defense make up for the average offensive output. He is a senior leader every team would love to have.

Shannon Scott and Sam Thompson are hitting in excess of 7 points a game and give Ohio State even more athletic depth.

The shooting of this group is not the league’s best; in fact, some in Columbus consider this team (like other past OSU teams) as being offensively challenge. The Buckeye offense is not built on a wow factor, and the Buckeye defense is built to fuel the offense. The results have been outstanding year after year.

Jan 7, 2014; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans forward Adreian Payne (5) stands on the court during the second half against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Jack Breslin Student Events Center. The Spartans won 72-68 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan State is the league Bully. This is a better Spartan team than last year. Gary Harris is now a sophomore and the improvement is notable. The big guard is hitting big shots and helping MSU avoid some of the bad hands and turnovers of a couple of years ago. Harris is one of the premiere guards in the country and will be a clear high NBA draft pick. At 18 points a game, and hitting almost 90 percent from the foul line, Harris can control a game.

Adreian Payne is the most physical player in the conference. The 6’ 10” inside player will muscle to the full extent of the law. He is averaging about 16 points and 8 rebounds a game. His shooting has been excellent, regarding both field goal and foul line.

Jan 7, 2014; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans guard Keith Appling (11) takes a free throw during overtime against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Jack Breslin Student Events Center. Spartans beat the Buckeyes 72-68 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Senior Keith Appling makes up the other half of the conference’s best backcourt duo. He is averaging about 16 points a game and 5 assists. He is playing steady, and this is a real benefit to the Spartan chances of going a long way in March.

Denzel Valentine is a nice swingman that can add defense, scoring, and rebounding.

Collectively, the Spartans are not the biggest team in the league, but big enough.
Collectively, the Spartans are not the most athletic team in the league, but athletic enough. What the Spartans have is proven impact players that can take over a game.

This team will be tough to beat.

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Written by GBMWolverine Staff — Doc4Blu

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Tags: #GoBlue Basketball Big Ten Conference Go Blue Michigan Basketball Michigan State Spartans Michigan Wolverines Ohio State Buckeyes Wisconsin Badgers

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