Big Ten Basketball: Team Preview — Update
Back in December and Early January, GBMWolverine put out its annual preview and predictions. In the past these have been very accurate, but it is apparent that this year the tree is bending in the wind,
NW is hanging on but young Collins is doing a great job. The team is still in the 50-50 range and has not yet sunk below the waves. It is far fetched to think that NW can do better than 6 or 7 wins in the league. So, the prediction is on target, but NW may not finish last in the final standings.
Group 2) Needs help: Minnesota, Penn State, Nebraska, and Purdue.
This group of predictions appears to be on target. Of the four Minnesota has helped itself the most and has risen to the mixer category. Penn State is hanging on at the same level as Northwestern and may by the end of the week be beneath the waves.
Purdue is hanging in on the border between the mixer and needing help. But with seven losses already, the Boilers need to make a big run. Nebraska is in the same flotilla as Penn State and Northwestern, hanging at .500 and in need of a near miracle.
This group over a third into the season is really a mix. Illinois started off hot and has since floundered. The team is playing hard but is having enough offensive difficulties to cause losses to good teams. At 2-5 in the league and seven losses overall, Illinois is borderline mixer and needing help. So much depends on the schedule and when the gauntlet happens. Indiana has been a little offensively challenged even with the athletic talent on that team. The defense has been solid but not spectacular. Yogi is trying to carry the team, with mixed results.
Indiana is 2-4 in the league and also has seven losses. The Hoosiers (like all contenders) get two shots at Michigan. Iowa, as promised, is a much better team. This is a team that will fight and scratch every game and will not be an easy opponent for anyone. Iowa is 5-2 in the league and has 16 wins. This team is on the line between mixer and contender. Only a major collapse will prevent a tournament berth. Michigan is the biggest early surprise of the mixer gang. Good offense and clutch play down the stretch has put Michigan in a far better circumstance than three weeks ago. The Wolverines still only have 15 wins, but several so-called “good wins” are now on the tournament resume. Michigan probably needs 3 more wins (4 should seal the deal) to cement a spot, barring a toilet bowl spiral heading down the stretch.
Michigan State is still the favorite to win the league, especially when Payne returns. This group plays intense, has experience, is big, and knows defense. But as Michigan demonstrated, the Spartans can be beat. This is really a strong team; certainly top four when all the parts are in place. There will be some vulnerability until Payne is healthy. Wisconsin is 4-3 in the league and remains a candidate, although the mulligans are running out. The Badgers depend on a balance between the inside and outside games. While the defense is still good, so far it is not as strong as in previous years. But at Wisconsin teams get better, so even though Wisconsin is not at the top of the standings, the Badgers are quite capable of a top three finish. Ohio State has four losses and has used up every mulligan. This team, with the best athletic talent in the league must basically run the table. It is hard to imagine five losses for the league champion. Michigan State has 18 wins and will be in the tournament being highly seeded. Wisconsin has 17 wins and should gather a top four seed. Ohio State won 13 games in a cupcake preconference run and is 3-4 in the league. The problem has been poor shooting and general offensive execution. This team has enough talent to beat anyone in the league and will probably be a factor in who wins the league. One more loss and Ohio State falls into the mixer bracket. With 16 wins, Ohio State would probably have to finish 7-11 in the league not to go to the tournament. Last year, Iowa won 20 games and did not go, finishing below .500 in league play.
Round two is under way and Michigan will face another bizarre four game gauntlet that includes Iowa, Ohio State, Wisconsin, and Michigan State.
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Written by GBMWolverine Staff — Doc4Blu
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