The Big Ten season has been…eventful so far. The amount of parity we see on a nightly basis has made it difficult to tell exactly who is good (Denard Robinson at running) and who is not (Denard Robinson at tying his shoes). Use this is a general guide as we all attempt to make sense the rest of the Big Ten season and conference tournament. This article is being posted on Wednesday, which means by Thursday it will be obsolete because sports are stupid.
TEAMS THAT ARE GOOD AND WERE SUPPOSED TO BE GOOD
In perhaps the strongest conference in the nation, these two teams are clearly the cream of the crop. Probably. While both teams have posted wins over top flight opponents, each has also dropped games to foes that they had no business losing to. After Michigan’s big wins against Wisconsin on the road, Iowa, and MSU, Michigan was blown out against both Indiana and Iowa on the road. Michigan State on the other hand has taken down the likes of #1 ranked Kentucky and #3 ranked Ohio State, while losing to a struggling North Carolina team and Georgetown in a weird non-conference mid-season match-up. Regardless, Michigan and Michigan State both boast an impressive roster of players led by coaches who tend to get the most out of those players. These teams are you best bets to win the conference and make a run in March.
TEAMS THAT ARE REALLY GOOD AT ONE THING AND PRETTY MUCH TERRIBLE AT EVERYTHING ELSE
Here are your one trick ponies. Totally reliant on doing one thing really well and hoping the opposition can’t exploit all of their short-comings. Ohio State is a bear on thedefensive side of the ball, giving up less than 60 points per game so far this season led by the pesky Senior guard Aaron Craft. Unfortunately for them, putting the ball in the hoop is a totally different animal… maybe like an opossum… really ugly and pretty much harmless. Ohio State comes in 9th in the Big Ten averaging 71.4 points per game. Iowa, on the other hand, is the complete opposite. Pushing the ball up the floor at every given opportunity to the tune of 83.7 points per game, exactly six points more per game than 2nd place Michigan State. Where Iowa has problems is on defense, where they are giving up 67.1 points per game, a number towards the bottom of the Big Ten. Iowa’s poor defensive stats are due in part to their fast pace play style, which gives the opponent more scoring opportunities. Regardless, if a team is able to slow Iowa down or jump to a big lead against OSU, they will have a difficult time coming out on top.
Wisconsin gets their own paragraph because what they are good at is…doing nothing. Averaging a sloth like 64 possessions per game, Wisconsin ranks 326 out of 351 teams in terms of tempo. Surprisingly, two of the teams who actually play a slower paced game than Wisconsin are #1 ranked Syracuse and #3 ranked Florida. Maybe nursing the basketball until the defense falls asleep is actually a viable tactic after all.
TEAMS THAT MAY OR MAY NOT MAKE THE NCAA TOURNAMENT
Minnesota is actually the only team not yet mentioned that actually has a chance at making the tournament. With a 16-8 overall record and a 5-6 record in the Big Ten, they are truly on the bubble. Wins against Ohio State and Wisconsin are definite resume builders while losses to Iowa (by 21), Nebraska, and Purdue might have the tournament committee looking for other options. Their remaining big games include at Wisconsin, at Ohio State and at Michigan as well as a home game with Iowa. The outcomes of these games will almost certainly determine the outcome of the season for the Gophers. Going 2-2 in these games would probably clinch their spot in the tourny. Anything less than 2 wins and they might find themselves on the outside looking in.
TEAMS THAT THINK “LOL MARCH IS ONLY FOR READING MONTH NOT FOR BASKETBALL YOU GUYS!”
These teams have no hope of making the NCAA tournament unless they end up making a crazy run in the conference tournament. Funny thing is, every single one of these teams is above .500, making them strangely dangerous opponents. Indiana and Nebraska and beaten Michigan and Ohio State respectively, and Purdue is in the top 20 nationally in rebounding with almost 40 a game ( How many of those are off of their own terribly missed shot attempts is anybody’s guess). So come late March these guys will be curled up in their Dr. Seuss sleeping bags reading goose bumps and gazing at pictures of Victor Oladipo, Robby Hummel, and uhh…that one guy who was good for Nebraska a while back. Remember that guy? Yea him.
TEAMS THAT ARE TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW OTHER TEAMS THROW IT IN FROM SO FAR AWAY
These teams could also be placed in the previous category, but they all shoot so abysmally bad from deep that they deserve their own section. Northwestern comes in last, justbarely squeaking above the 30% mark. Illinois is shooting threes just a hair better at 31%, and Penn State is laughing at them both while shooting a blistering 32.2% from range this year. All of these rank in the bottom 100 teams in the country, with Northwestern just beating out Maryland- Eastern Shore for 323rd nationally. Yup, Maryland-Eastern Shore.
There it is, the comprehensive guide to everything Big Ten basketball. Everything written here is 100% fact and is not subject to change. Sports, especially college sports, are absolutely static and will in no way ever deviate. All of the stats provided here will be correct until the end of time. Set this as your home page and read it every day until the season is over. Now for the school motto of the Maryland-Eastern Shore Fighting Somethings: Manly deeds, womanly words. (<—-Actual motto, look it up.)
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