Yarina: What a wild opening week of Big Ten hoops
Well, that was an interesting and entertaining opening week of conference play, wasn’t it? Put it this way: If the rest of the regular season is anything like the first week, we are all in store for a fun ride to the Big Ten tourney and NCAA tourney.
There was a little bit of everything this past week.
We had staggering statistical lines (Aaron Craft’s seven-point, eight-rebound, 10-assist, 4-steal, 0-turnover effort at Purdue), double-digit comebacks (Wisconsin rallied from a 35-24 halftime deficit vs. Iowa), highlight-reel dunks (Basil Smotherman at Minnesota), the first yarmulke sighting in a Big Ten game, oh, and a couple ejections.
Get all that?
As expected, the ejections are receiving most of the headlines. But when the stakes are ramped up like they are once Big Ten play starts, tempers are bound to flare. And that’s exactly what happened to Iowa coach Fran McCaffery and Penn State guard D.J. Newbill.
Newbill was ejected Saturday at Illinois for taking a swing at the back of Kendrick Nunn’s head, this after Nunn ran into the guard on his way up the court (watch above). McCaffery, he lost his cool with the officials and was tossed in the second half Sunday night at No. 4 Wisconsin (watch below).
Let’s not let the ejections overshadow everything else. Five teams got through the week unscathed, after all, and that bolsters the popular notion that the Big Ten title race will be a heated one.
There are the expected undefeated teams (Michigan State, Ohio State and Wisconsin), and there are the unexpected ones (Illinois and Michigan). It’s those expected teams, though, that fans should keep their eyes on. Especially Tuesday night, when No. 5 Michigan State hosts No. 3 Ohio State.
Yes, that’s the opening game to the second week of the Big Ten season.
Looks like we should get ready for another entertaining week.
|About Brent Yarina||BTN.com senior editor Brent Yarina covers football and men’s basketball for BTN.com. He writes the popular uniform feature “Clothes Call,” which also focuses on the latest cosmetic changes across Big Ten arenas and stadiums. Read all of his work here. You can subscribe to Yarina’s RSS feed and follow him on Twitter @BTNBrentYarina.|