Six Big Ten teams ranked in ESPN's 50 in 50 series

If you haven’t checked out ESPN.com’s 50 in 50 series, do yourself a favor and click that link. The feature ranks the nation’s 50 most successful men’s basketball programs of the last 50 years, and it includes half of the Big Ten teams. Indiana leads the Big Ten, at No. 7, while Michigan State (No. 11), Michigan (No. 13), Ohio State (No. 15), Purdue (No. 20) and Illinois (No. 33) round out the conference’s representatives.

[ESPN.com: 50 in 50 series home]

The best part of the list, in my mind, is the starting five feature, where ESPN.com compiles its best possible starting lineup for each school since 1962.

Here’s what they came up with for each Big Ten school:

No. 7 Indiana
G – Isiah Thomas (1979-81)
G – Steve Alford (1983-87)
F – Calbert Cheaney (1989-93)
F – Scott May (1972-76)
C – Kent Benson (1973-77)

No. 11 Michigan State
G – Earvin “Magic” Johnson (1977-79)
G – Shawn Respert (1990-95)
F – Steve Smith (1987-91)
F – Draymond Green (2008-12)
F – Greg Kelser (1975-79)

No. 13 Michigan
G – Gary Grant (1984-88)
G/F – Cazzie Russell (1963-66)
F – Glen Rice (1985-89)
F/C – Chris Webber (1991-93)
C – Rudy Tomjanovich (1967-70)

No. 15 Ohio State
G – Mike Conley Jr. (2006-07)
G – Evan Turner (2007-10)
F – Dennis Hopson (1983-87)
F – Jim Jackson (1989-92)
C – Gary Bradds (1961-64)

T-No. 20 Purdue
G – Troy Lewis (1984-88)
G – Rick Mount (1967-70)
F – Robbie Hummel (2007-12)
F – Glenn Robinson (1992-94)
C – Joe Barry Carroll (1976-80)

No. 33 Illinois
G – Deron Williams (2002-05)
G – Kendall Gill (1986-90)
G/F – Nick Anderson (1987-89)
F – Eddie Johnson (1977-81)
F – Brian Cook (1999-03)

As expected, that’s a ton of really good starting lineups. It’s hard to argue with any of these teams, but if we’re going to consider the biggest snub, Mateen Cleaves may be it. That Magic Johnson guy kind of makes it tough for Cleaves to be included.

The other thing that stuck out a bit was Robbie Hummel over JaJuan Johnson. Really, you can’t go wrong with either guy as a starting forward, but there’s a good debate to be had. Glenn Robinson at 3 and Johnson at 4 is just as solid, if not better, than Hummel at 3 and Robinson at 4.

Brent Yarina is a web editor and blogger for BTN.com. Find all of his work here and follow him on twitter at @BTNBrentYarina.

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3 Comments

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Jim Luzadder on 8/26/2012 @ 7:41pm EDT Said:

Since you included Gary Bradds, an outstanding scorer and center for Ohio State, why in the world did you not include Terry Dischinger, Purdue’s best player since Wooden and it’s most decorated star? He last played in 1962…

    Brent Yarina, BTN.com on 8/26/2012 @ 10:19pm EDT Said:

    Jim – These were ESPN’s lists, not mine. Thanks.

Bob on 10/17/2012 @ 7:59pm EDT Said:

Michael Redd for a sixth man for OSU