Today's links: Another day, another upset
Please forgive John Beilein if he doesn’t want to get out of bed this morning. You see, his No. 4 Michigan team suffered arguably the biggest upset of the college season last night, falling 84-78 to a Penn State squad that was 0-14 in the Big Ten. The Wolverines were done in by a variety of issues. Trey Burke felt a lack of heart was the culprit in a defeat that likely kills any hope the Wolverines had of winning a share of the Big Ten title for a second season in a row. And a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tourney? It’s probably toast, too, after the Wolverines blew a 15-point second-half lead.
Another issue in the defeat: Defense. It hasn’t been a strength of this team all season. Michigan didn’t score a field goal in the final 6:30 and was outscored 33-12 in the final 10 minutes of the game, as 15 turnovers also proved costly.
[RELATED POST: See the video of Penn State fans storming the court. ]
Nick Baumgardner of Mlive.com notes the 84 points allowed is a season-worst for Michigan this season, and Penn State’s 10 three-pointers matched the most an opponent has made against the Wolverines to date. Michigan has now allowed 72.6 points per game over its last seven outings. The team’s defense, at this point, seems to have fallen apart.
Just like those big preseason dreams.
Iowa’s 58-48 win last night over Purdue wasn’t pretty. But, it was a win, says Mike Hlas of the Cedar Rapids Gazette. And it allowed Iowa to match its win total of last season.
Hlas doesn’t want these teams to meet again. But, it could happen if these they finish eighth and ninth in the conference, which would mean they would collide in the first game of the Big Ten tournament in Chicago. As hard on the eyes as the two meetings between the Boilermakers and Hawkeyes have been, no one wants to see them meet at 11 a.m. on a Thursday in a mostly empty United Center, note Hlas.
Indiana’s loss at Minnesota on Tuesday may have given future foes a blue print on how to beat the Hoosiers, says Rick Bozich of WDRD in Louisville.
“Be tougher than Indiana,” Bozich writes. “Push Indiana. Go at Indiana, especially (Cody) Zeller and (Christian) Watford. Don’t be afraid to go directly to the rim against Indiana. Initiate contact against Indiana. Find out precisely how blue-collar the Hoosiers want to be.”
And are Indiana players flopping on purpose to stop play, slowing momentum of the other team? Mike Griffith of Mlive.com raises some good points here.
The new rule that stipulates that any contact to the head must automatically be reviewed by officials is an issue. Tom Izzo even addressed it back on Jan. 21. Check it out:
“I am very concerned about the elbow to the head rule….I’m baffled by the rule, I don’t understand the rule.
“If you hit somebody in the head, it’s automatic. If it’s a basketball play, that thing (rule) has to be seriously looked at.
“It’s gonna cost somebody a conference championship, advancement in the NCAA tournament.
“Coaches, we’re gonna find a way to circumvent. Pretty soon we’ll be coaching how to flop or stick your face in there instead of your hand.”
Bingo. The rule must go.
CBS Sports hoops analyst Wally Sczerbiak told Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that Wisconsin freshman Sam Dekker is further along in his development at this stage of his career than he was. And that’s saying something, seeing as how Sczerbiak was a pro.
“I’m a big fan of his game,” Sczerbiak said about Dekker, who scored 19 points in 22 minutes against Nebraska Tuesday night. “He is doing a great job off the bench, making the most of his minutes. He’s got starter-quality talent. As the years go on he’ll be a big-time starter and big player minutes-wise in the Big Ten.
“He’s a complete package. He’s a great shooter. Great feel for the game. He can also take the ball to the basket and dunk. He can post up. He has a little bit of a mid-range game. I compare his game a little bit to mine, and I think he is ahead of what I was as a freshman in college. If he continues to improve he could become a pretty good player.”
Ohio State freshman Amedeo Della Valle says “I maybe don’t look like a basketball player.” Well, he’s probably right. But, looks don’t matter. The kid may end up being able to help at some point.
He’s tall, lanky and sports floppy curly hair. But Della Valle—a native of Italy—can shoot. And that’s what makes him special—a potentially valuable member of the team down the stretch.
It’s always fun to read what Loren Tate of the Champaign News-Gazette has to say.
Tate laments the proliferation of Sunday games. Yes, TV has played a part in the Sunday boom over the past two decades. But coaches also have played a role, Big Ten senior associate commissioner Mark Rudner told Tate.
“The big factor affecting the schedules is the coaches’ insistence on having two days for preparation between conference games. If you have a game on a Thursday, you can’t play again until Sunday. And if you have a game on Sunday, you can’t play again until Wednesday.”
Well, back in the day, the Big Ten played on Thursday and Saturdays. And it didn’t seem to impact Indiana and Michigan, which often dominated nationally.
Northwestern is the first Big Ten team to open spring football practice. Can I get an “Alleluia!”? Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune offers five things to watch for NU.
They always are talking football at Nebraska. This time, the buzz is about how offensive coordinator Tim Beck wants to speed up his attack.
Heck, Beck’s no-huddle scheme already is pretty fast. But Beck wants to press the accelerator and get off more plays. The offense ticked well in 2012, ranking 26th in the nation in yards and 28th in points. The defense? That’s what needs work in Lincoln.
Interesting to see how Bill O’Brien continues to remake the Penn State staff around him. This time, he has brought in a new team physician and orthopedic consultant.
Also, long-time associate athletic director for football operations Fran Ganter is retiring down after almost 50 years at the school. Slowly, the Paterno regime is being erased.
TWEETS THAT MATTER
My take: A bigger issue was the lack of playmakers up front.
My take: I think you are correct. And think: Automatic NCAA bids go to teams who do well for four days in a league tourney—as opposed to doing well for over two months. It is just absurd.
My take: (I am scratching my head.)
My take: I never would have thought I’d see someone Tweet this a month ago.
My take: I didn’t think of it that way. But, Ben is correct. The magnitude of this win can’t be quantified for Pat Chamber’s crew. Bravo!
My take: Yes, but to be teased with greatness and then to lose to … a team that was 0-14 in the Big Ten?
My take: I disagree. Penn State sits closer to much more talent than Nebraska. That makes the PSU job better.
My take: Yes, how delicious is that: Penn State playing Minnesota with each coming off wild upset home wins over top-five teams.
My take: That’s cute.
|About Tom Dienhart||BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men’s basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.|
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