College Hoops 101 (3/1/11)

louisville cheerleader technical foul

MARCH IS HERE!  How do we know?  Well, because my phone says it is March 1st, but also because it is tourney time.  The Horizon League and Big South Conference Tournaments tip-off tonight and in just 12 days, the NCAA Tournament brackets will be filled out.  (Be sure to check out my updated bracketology by the way.)

If you are unfamiliar with College Hoops 101, it is a weekly feature here at The Sports Bank that runs every Monday (Tuesday this week) and breaks down everything you need to know going on in the world of college basketball.  I will look back at the previous week and peak ahead to some of the key match-ups in the next seven days.

By: David Kay
[Read more…]

Big Ten Power Rankings 2-4

By Paul M. Banks

1. Michigan State (19-4, 9-1)

As bad as the Kalin Lucas injury looked, it’s not that bad. The green & white nation can all breathe in a collective sigh of relief. However, right when it seemed like State was going to floor it and put everyone back in their rearview mirror, a funny thing happened- a conference race began.

2. Wisconsin (17-5, 7-3)

I admit it, I was a huge heretic; especially after Jon Leuer went down. But they’ve somehow gotten better since then. I will never doubt Bo Ryan again. They could probably beat the 1991 UNLV team if the game was held at the Kohl Center

[Read more…]

Big Ten Power Rankings 1-14

By Paul M. Banks

1. Michigan State (14-3, 4-0)

They’re starting near “March season form” now, as they’re getting out into the open court more. Even though a couple of their last opponents have a style that doesn’t exactly lend the pace of the game to such things. A big reason is junior wing Durrell Summers. Who described what the key to the Spartans’ running game has been “Rebounding. If our inside guys and our wings like myself can get the ball, coach is comfortable with all of us pushing it and igniting the break. and if everyone is unselfish and aggressive at the same than it’s a jailbreak.”

2. Purdue (14-2, 2-2)

Missed best start in school history by just one game. And now back-to-back losses? Matt Painter needs to right the ship, and soon. He probably will, as the schedule gets slightly easier now. Just three more victories and Painter joins the 100 win club. Time flies doesn’t it?

[Read more…]

Big 10 All-Injured Team

By Paul M. Banks

Injuries are just part of sports; the natural order of things, the way it is. But during the 2009-2010 college basketball season, the injury bug has seemed to infested the Big Ten a little more than usual. In fact, you could make a pretty good starting five out or Big Ten stars that have missed a couple months or will miss a couple months this season.

[Read more…]

All-Big Ten All-2000s Team

By Paul M. Banks

The 2000s was a great decade for a few programs in the Big Ten. Indiana, Ohio State and Illinois all had a national runner-up season. In 2005, the Illini tied the record for the most single season victories. Wisconsin and Ohio State treated us to an epic #1 vs. #2 game during one of their two 2007 meetings. And Michigan St. started the decade off with a national title and also ended 2009 playing for the title, and threw in two more Final Four seasons between 2000 and 2009. So clearly Tom Izzo was the conference coach of the decade.

And when you take a look at the list of the decade’s top individual performers you’ll see that…these Big Ten programs won with coaching and the stressing of team concepts. The conference clearly LACKED when it came to marquee stars, and if I composed a list like this for the ACC, Big East or Pac 10, the names on it would certainly be more impressive than those listed here.

[Read more…]

Big Ten Power Rankings ACC Challenge Edition

DSC03189

By Paul M. Banks

Feast Week saw numerous opponents feasting on the conference. The Big Ten’s top and middle proved to be nothing more than a soft underbelly during the multitude of holiday tournaments. But at least Purdue and Northwestern won their invitationals. The conference has a quick turnaround to win back respectability. The ACC Challenge is here, and this is THE year they FINALLY win it, right? right? Maybe not.

1. Purdue (5-0)

Only team among the three conference heavyweights with an unblemished record, and the win over Tennessee was certainly impressive, yes?


2. Ohio State (4-1)

What’s your over/under on Evan Turner triple doubles this season? This Buckeyes squad is looking similar the 1999 Final Four team.

3. Michigan State (4-1)

Of all the upsets to supposedly lesser teams, only MSU went out the next night and sent a message by “doin work” on their unfortunate opponent., Izzo’s team looked really pissed off as they took their frustrations out on UMass, 101-61.

4. Northwestern(5-1)

When Northwestern’s star forward Kevin Coble went down for the season with a foot injury, someone needed to step up. That someone is turning out to be two people: Juice Thompson and John Shurna. With Juice running the point, and Shurna scoring both inside and outside at will, this team certainly has “juice” (slang for power, respect, notoriety) now.

Here’s video of the Cats celebrating their first tournament title of any kind since 1993

5. Wisconsin (4-1)

Ok, so maybe that win over #22 at the time Maryland isn’t as impressive now as it seemed just a few short days ago

6. Minnesota (4-2)

The conference in general looked REALLY WEAK this week, as losses to mid-majors abounded; including the Gophers falling to Portland. Then the Gophs threw in a loss to high-major (Texas A&M) for good measure. However, the Butler did not do it on them, so the last week wasn’t a total disaster.


7. Michigan (3-2)

It was the Big Ten’s middle and high middle teams that suffered the most damage last week. Wolverines are the perfect example: they barely survived against Creighton and fell to Marquette and Alabama. Can you say over-rate-ed (clap, clap, clap, clap, clap)

8. Illinois (4-2)

What on Earth happened? Las Vegas was more pleasant to the characters of the film “The Hangover” than it was to the Illini. But what happens in Las Vegas, stays in Las Vegas…especially when you suffer back-to-back upsets at the hands of Bradley and Utah.

9. Penn State (5-2)
Can I just call this team the “Penn State Talor Battles?” You know just like how last year referred to the Cleveland Cavliers as the “Cleveland LeBrons”

10. Indiana (3-3)

Finally ended three game losing streak. Maurice Creek is coming along nicely.

11. Iowa (2-4)

At least their loss to Texas was by less than 30.

DSC03183

Jim Jackson’s Fearless Big Ten Forecast

jim_jackson

For Part one click here

By Paul M. Banks

At Big Ten Media Day, Ohio State alum Jim Jackson was just like the rest of us journalists, he participated in the college hoops version of speed dating that is Media Day, as he went from table to table interviewing players and coaches. At the same time, the season NBA veteran and current Big Ten Network analyst was utterly NOT like the rest of us journalists, as reporters and bloggers gathered around Jackson to ask him his thoughts on the 2009-10 season, a year in which most national pundits deem the big ten to be the strongest or second strongest in the country. I was one of those writers, and this is what JJ, the only player ever to win the conference player of the year award twice, told me during our exclusive chat.

I first asked him about the stigma attached to the league; people around the country have negative notions about the Big Ten, deeming it a slow tempo, low-scoring league. Wisconsin, and their winning consistently with this Ambien-in-basketball-form type of play is mostly to blame for this.

“The stigma is that it’s a slow, plodding kind of league at that you hold opponents to 60 points, you only score 65. And I think if you look at the way Michigan plays, the way Ohio State plays, Minnesota gets out and runs. Purdue gets up and down the court, Michigan State, I think you have a well balanced combination of teams that can guard you, play great half-court defense, offense but also get out and run. So, it’s a stigma that you have, but the way recruiting is going, you’re going to see a lot more up and down.

Of course, just because the scores are low doesn’t always mean the basketball is awful, people do guard and guard well in this league. So I asked him what basketball fans, but not true basketball savants need to know about what they’re watching, and why that product is possibly better than the perception.jimjackson

“You got to look at the scope of the game, take a team like Wisconsin, they may not get the same talent that a Michigan State may get, so their style of play has to be different in order for them to win games. Northwestern not having the physical players or all around talent, they play a different style of game with their offense. So you gotta look at each team individually and look at what their strengths and weaknesses are, and you get a better perception of why they play the way they do,” JJ articulated.

The Big Ten’s perception would get an even bigger boost if there had been more NBA lottery picks coming out of the conference in recent years. Evan Turner from Ohio State should go this year and help change that perception, but…”it hurts from that perspective because if you look at the Pac 10, the SEC, especially the ACC you have your top tier guys that you can point to and say these are All-Americans, sure-fire draft picks but what’s going to be important this year is how we compete in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Last year we got close to winning that first time, and this year I think it will be a better test. I think that will be a tell tale sign for this league,” Jackson said.

So what does his crystal ball say about the upcoming season?

“I’ve got Michigan State at the top of the pecking order with Purdue right behind, Ohio State, Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois is in there, Wisconsin, then Penn State in my top 8. It’s going to be tough for Indiana just because they’ve got a lot of young guys, Iowa they lose a lot. Northwestern is still going to be there, but I don’t think they’ll have the consistent bench play.”

Big Ten Power Rankings 11-20

bigtenpodcast

By Paul M. Banks

For this week I’m including the insights of a very special guest for my Power Rankings. I recently had an exclusive with Ohio State legend Jim Jackson, the only man every to win the Big Ten Player of the Year Award twice, and current Big Ten Network analyst. I’ll be using some of the best information nuggets he gave when rating the conference

1. Michigan State (2-0)
Milwaukee Bucks guard Charlie Bell on his National Championship Spartans team compares to this year’s model, who are getting first place votes in both polls. “I think the guys got a taste this past season, being runner-up. I think that’s just going to make them more hungry, and that’s how we were the first time we made it to the Final Four and we lost to Duke. We kind of came out in awe in the 1st half, of playing against the almighty Duke, and in the second half, we were like hey, we can play with these guys. And that made us hungry in the summer time and made us want to come back and win it all, and we did. And I think that’s the mindset the current Spartans need to have.”

2. Purdue (1-0)
Purdue is known for their exceptional junior class. Jim Jackson “As talented as those guys are, I don’t think any of them were ready to take the next step which is a good thing for the University, because now you have a core group of guys coming into their junior year that are very experienced in playing together. It’s a catch-22 when you look at it that way. The talent is there, but maybe not at that level.”

3. Ohio State (2-1)
Loss to UNC hurts, but they’ll quickly recover. Jim Jackson describing the star player at his alma mater: Evan has his first year of being the go-to-guy, now that he has that under his belt, he’ll be more comfortable in that role.

4. Michigan
We didn’t learn much about this team from their victory over Northern Michigan, and playing Houston Baptist will teach us even less.

5. Illinois (2-0)

FreshmanBrandon Paul has been the man so far, getting 20+ points in both games. They’re also playing at a much faster tempo than a typical Bruce Weber team. They’ve been winning with offense instead of d.

6. Minnesota (2-0)
Beat a couple scrub teams so far. JJ had this to say about Tubby Time. “Tubby is a kind of coach that is going to go get the players he wants, recruit the players that are smart, and get up and down the court, understand the game, shoot the ball and play aggressive defense. And it’s great for Minnesota, because that arena is already tough to play in. Now you put a product on the floor that makes it an even tougher place to play again.”

7. Wisconsin(2-0)
Jackson on why Wisconsin plays such an unpopular, but ultimately winning style of ball. “You got to look at the scope of the game, take a team like Wisconsin, they may not get the same talent that a Michigan State may get, so their style of play has to be different in order for them to win games.

8. Northwestern(1-1)
I would feel fine ranking them lower, now that their leading scorer from the past three seasons, Kevin Coble is out for the season. However, who beneath them actually looks better? They did look bad in losing to Butler, but the Bulldogs are the #11 team in the nation.
9. Penn State (2-1)
Talor Battle went off for 29 points in the team’s extremely ugly loss to UNC-Wilmington. JJ on Battle’s abilities: “His quickness separates him because he can get from point A. to point B. at the drop of a dime, but he can shoot the basketball, stick that open jump shot. And still finish at the rim, it’s a tough assignment for any point guard to have.”
10. Indiana (2-1)
Barely escaped against a mid-major and got beaten badly by Ole Miss. Yeah, it’s going to be a rough one in ’09-‘10.

11. Iowa (0-2)
The Hawkeyes couldn’t handle the basketball juggernauts that are Duquesne and UT-San Antonio. Can you say 22+ losses this year?

Jim Jackson on the Big Ten’s Strengths & Weaknesses

jj

By Paul M. Banks

At Big Ten Media Day, Ohio State alum Jim Jackson was just like the rest of us journalists, he participated in the college hoops version of speed dating that is Media Day, as he went from table to table interviewing players and coaches. At the same time, the NBA veteran of 14 seasons, 1992 #4 overall draft pick and current Big Ten Network analyst was utterly NOT like the rest of us journalists, as reporters and bloggers gathered around Jackson to ask him his thoughts on the 2009-10 season, a year in which most national pundits deem the Big Ten the strongest or second strongest in the country. I was one of those writers, and this is what JJ, the only player ever to win the Big 10 conference player of the year award twice, told me during our exclusive chat.

Obviously, Jackson had a lot to say about the Big Ten’s junior class, finding some natural comparisons between this class and the state of the league at the beginning of the last decade.jim_jackson

“I take a look back at the early 90s, at some of the classes that came to Indiana, even our class at Ohio State, Michigan State had a great class at the time. I think it kind of recycles a little bit, you go through those periods where it’s a down a little bit then it builds back up. And it’s a reflection of the coaches in this league, the resumes and pedigrees they have. Now the talent is going to catch back up with the coaches.

You got Manny, Talor, Evan, Kalin, guys that I think are going to take it up another level this year. Evan had his first year of being the go-to-guy. Now that he has that under his belt, he’ll be more comfortable in that role. So how much better will he be? Kalin didn’t have the expectation of being Big Ten player of the year but he got it, so now he has that confidence.”

Jackson continued: “I love Talor’s game. His quickness separates him because he can get from point A. to point B. at the drop of a dime, but he can shoot the basketball- stick that open jump shot. And still finish at the rim, it’s a combination that’s a tough assignment for any point guard to have. Talor may not be the most vocal leader, but this year he’ll be more vocal, and also more of a lead-by- example guy with his play.”

And then there’s Purdue’s famed junior class. These days so many players leave early for the NBA draft, so it’s exceedingly difficult for one highly heralded class to stay together for multiple years, but Purdue is one place where they’ve been able to retain their nucleus.

bigtenpodcast

“In Purdue’s instance, as talented as those guys are, I don’t think any of them were ready to take the next step which is a good thing for the University. Because now you have a core group of guys coming into their junior year that are very experienced in playing together. It’s a catch-22 when you look at it that way. The talent is there, but maybe not at that level. JaJuan (Johnson) established himself last year, as a go-to player. He really worked on his inside game, his post moves. You look at what Robbie (Hummel) brings to the table, a little bit of everything; rebounds, shoots, he’s a leader. Coming off the injury, he had a great summer with the USA team. He’s probably their best all around player,” said Jackson, co-holder of the NBA record for most teams played for (12).

The 2009-10 Big Ten will of course be known for it’s junior class. However, year-in, year-out, the conversation starts and ends with the collective group of league coaches.

“Name a bad coach in this league. You can’t do it. Carmody is great at what he does offensively. Ed DeChellis may not have the name recognition, but he can do it. Crean has recognition. Thad Matta has established himself. Beilien got it done at West Virginia. Of course, Izzo, Bo Ryan and now Matt Painter is establishing himself. jimjackson

Tubby is a kind of coach that is going to go get the players he wants, recruit the players that are smart, and get up and down the court, understand the game, shoot the ball and play aggressive defense. And it’s great for Minnesota, because that arena is already tough to play in. Now you put a product on the floor that makes it an even tougher place to play again,” he said.

So where does the Big Ten Network analyst put the conference nationally? (Not that he’s biased or anything, of course not, no bias from this BTN analyst here)

“Top to bottom, it’s got to be one or two, this league could go nine teams deep, and that’s good and bad for the NCAAs. They’re going to beat up on each other. But at the same time they’ll get quality wins. And look at the Big East last year, you had 16 teams, and they took eight to the tournament, four in the Sweet 16, two in the Final Four, and it could be very similar here in the Big Ten, because you have quality teams and depth,” Jackson said.

I concur 100%. Visit this site tomorrow for part two of this interview, and to see JJ’s picks for this season.

Big Ten Power Rankings 11/12

purduecheer

By Paul M. Banks

Forget about what the Big Ten lacks in football, in hoops they’re the best or second best conference by pretty much all hoops experts. #16 Ohio State has already opened the season with a rip-roaring victory over Alcorn St. and by the end of the next couple of days, pretty much every team will have tipped off. Let’s get it started in here!

1. Michigan State

Opener 11/13 vs. Florida Gulf Coast

Look for Delvon Roe and/or Derrick Nix, to fill in where the departed Goran Suton left off. But who will take Travis Walton’s place as the top defender? Likely a team approach, until one individual asserts himself.

2. Purdue

Opener 11/13 vs. Cal-State Northridge

Their junior class is as good as any in Big Ten history. And you’ll likely see JaJuan Johnson, E’Twaun Moore and Robbie Hummel playing in “the league” someday soon. And just to add more hype and pressure, the Final Four is just down the road in Indianapolis this year.

3. Ohio State (1-0)

Evan Turner is looking like a sure-fire lottery pick, and William Buford has late first round potential. In other words, the Buckeyes will be very dangerous on the wings and perimeter! They’ll likely whomp James Madison next.

4. Michigan

Opener vs. Northern Michigan 11/14

It’s been awhile since they’ve been ranked this high, preseason #15. Having 2 of the Big Ten’s 8 players on the Wooden Award watch list certainly has a lot to do with that.

5. Illinois

Opener 11/13 vs. SIU-Edwardsville

Freshman D.J. Richardson looked great (game high 23 points) in the final preseason scrimmage. Fellow frosh Brandon Paul has looked good too. They’ll be key to supplementing the nucleus of returning juniors. Big years will also be needed from wings Alex Legion and Dominique Keller. So the Illini should be at least 7 or 8 deep this winter.

6. Minnesota

Opener 11/13 vs. Tennessee Tech

Lost two spots in the rankings before they even played because their top recruit Royce White, one of the nation’s best incoming freshman, is acting like an idiotic thug, and got himself suspended. He may get himself kicked off the team before it’s all said and done.

7. Northwestern

Opener 11/13 vs. Northern Illinois

The Wildcats football team has not won a bowl game since 1949. The just-down-the-road Chicago Cubs have not won a World Series since 1908. The slightly further down the road Chicago Blackhawks last won a Stanley Cup in 1961. The basketball Wildcats last made the NCAA tourney…NEVER. Is THIS the year? Maybe not for all those other teams, but it will be for NU hoops.

8. Penn State

Opener vs. Penn 11/13

Did you know they won the NIT last year? Seriously does anyone? How many NIT champions from this decade can you name? thought so. This year their schedule looks REALLY EASY the first two months…a school record for wins in a season is exceedingly possible.

9. Wisconsin

Opener 11/15 vs. IPFW

I know this pick might come back to bite me in the…but seriously they have to have a down year sometime, correct? If you look at this roster it screams “down year”. It also says “lots of big slow white guys.”

10. Indiana

Opener 11/13 vs. Howard

The faster Maurice Creek develops, the faster they move up the ladder. Do you think Tom Crean is having seller’s remorse yet? Let’s ask that again when he’s getting whomped by 30 every night during conference season.

11. Iowa

Opener 11/15 vs. UT-San Antonio

You know how all the animals go and hide underground before a devastating storm comes in? Somehow they just know, like all the smart players who transferred out of Iowa city this off-season. They all knew what they were doing. This team should be even worse than Indiana last year. 

2009-2010 Big Ten Basketball Preview: Part 4 of 4

Ohio State Purdue Basketball

By: David Kay

One of the main reasons the Big Ten will be one of the most competitive conferences in the country this season is because of all the returning talent.  All five members of last year’s All-Big Ten first team were sophomores as were four players chosen to the second and third teams.  Realistically, six Big Ten ballers have a legitimate chance of winning the player of the year honor.

The final part of The Sports Bank’s six week long preview of the six major conferences in college basketball predicts the winners of the Big Ten post-season awards.  Be sure to check out all the other conference previews linked at the bottom of the page and come back next week when I debut my predictions for the NCAA Tournament field, pick my All-Americans, Final Four, and National Champion.

All Big Ten First Team
(POY) Evan Turner, Ohio State
Robbie Hummel, Purdue
Kalin Lucas, Michigan State
Talor Battle, Penn State
Kevin Coble, Northwestern

Second Team
Manny Harris, Michigan
DeShawn Sims, Michigan
E’Twuan Moore, Purdue
Mike Davis, Illinois
Raymar Morgan, Michigan State

Third Team
JaJuan Johnson, Purdue
William Buford, Ohio State
Demetri McCamey, Illinois
Jon Leuer, Wisconsin
Delvon Roe, Michigan State

All Freshman Team
(FOY) D.J. Richardson, Illinois
Brandon Paul, Illinois
Derrick Nix, Michigan State
Maurice Creek, Indiana
Cully Payne, Iowa

All Defensive Team
(DPOY) Damien Johnson, Minnesota
Chris Kramer, Purdue
David Lighty, Ohio State
Durrell Summers, Michigan State
Trevon Hughes, Wisconsin

Sixth Man of the Year

Keaton Grant, Purdue

Coach of the Year
Matt Painter, Purdue

msu hoops

The Sports Bank Big 10 Preview/Power Rankings:
Tuesday: Teams 8-11 (Northwestern, Penn State, Indiana, Iowa)
Wednesday: Teams 4-7 (Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois, Wisconsin)
Thursday: Teams 1-3 (Purdue, Michigan State, Ohio State)

The Sports Bank Big 12 Previews/Power Rankings:
Teams 10-12 (Colorado, Texas Tech, Nebraska)
Teams 7-9 (Missouri, Baylor, Iowa State)
Teams 4-6 (Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M)
Teams 1-3 (Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma)

The Sports Bank ACC Previews/Power Rankings:
Teams 10-12 (Virginia Tech, Virginia, N.C. State)
Teams 7-9 (Wake Forest, Miami FL, Boston College)
Teams 4-6 (Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech)
Teams 1-3 (UNC, Duke, Maryland)

The Sports Bank SEC Previews/Power Rankings:
SEC East Teams 4-6 (Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Georgia)
SEC East Teams 1-3 (Kentucky, Tennessee, Florida)
SEC West Teams 4-6 (Arkansas, Auburn, LSU)
SEC West Teams 1-3 (Mississippi State, Mississippi, Alabama)

The Sports Bank Pac-10 Preview/Power Rankings:
Teams 8-10 (Washingon State, Arizona State, Stanford)
Teams 5-7 (Arizona, USC, Oregon)
Teams 1-4 (Oregon State, UCLA, Washington, Cal)

The Sports Bank Big East Previews/Power Rankings
:
Teams 13-16 (Rutgers, South Florida, Providence, DePaul)
Teams 9-12 (Notre Dame, Pitt, Marquette, St. John’s)
Teams 5-8 (Syracuse, Louisville, Cincinnati, Seton Hall)
Teams 1-4 (Villanova, West Virginia, UConn, Georgetown)
Post-Season Award Predictions

For all the latest college basketball info, you can follow David Kay on Twitter at DavidKay_TSB