Michigan’s offense continued its surge into the nation’s elite in an impressive win over Iowa. In true Beilein-ball fashion, it was a high conversion rate on twos and a low turnover rate that propelled the Wolverines.
Nik Stauskas is making a case for Big Ten player of the year, and he continues to show that he is #notjustashooter:
There are still plenty of conference games to be played, but Stauskas currently has the most impressive offensive numbers of any Big Ten player.
The following table shows conference-only numbers for players with a usage rate of at least 22 percent and an offensive rating of at least 100 (hat tip to Statsheet).
|Roy Devyn Marble||27.8||109.9|
|Glenn Robinson III||23.7||103.9|
Stauskas doesn’t consume quite as many possessions as LaQuinton Ross or Yogi Ferrell, but his efficiency blows away the field. It should also be noted that Stauskas plays more minutes than any other player on this list.
The popular POY pick before the season, Gary Harris, is not far behind Stauskas, and it will be a lot of fun to watch the two go head-to-head this Saturday night (as if that game needed any more reasons to watch).
Minnesota rode a stunning offensive performance to a surprisingly easy win over Wisconsin. Not only did the Gophers score 1.4 points per trip (the highest output surrendered by a Bo Ryan team in nearly three years), they did it without the services of Andre Hollins.
This was a breakout game for Maurice Walker, who posted 18 points and nine rebounds in just 24 minutes, but the depth of the Minnesota backcourt also shone through. DeAndre Mathieu, Austin Hollins, and Malik Smith combined for 43 points on 30 shots. Andre who?
Mathieu continues to defy logic as a 5-9 player that makes a living at the rim. For the season, Mathieu has taken 48 percent of his field goal attempts at the rim, which is higher than every Gopher that isn’t 6-10 or taller. Even more impressive, he has converted on 63 percent of those dunks and layups. Mathieu has been a much bigger addition to Minnesota than anyone could have expected, and he might even garner some all-conference honors if he keeps it up (see his placement in the table above).
Wisconsin clearly has some defensive issues to work out, as each of the past three opponents have scored at least 1.14 points per trip. The good news is that the Badgers’ next four opponents are among the conference’s worst offenses (Purdue, Northwestern, Ohio State, Illinois). It’s time for Wisconsin to make some hay.
In an ugly game that deserves little mention, Ohio State held off Illinois for a seven point win. It’s nice for the Buckeyes to break their skid, but this result did little to quell the concerns with Ohio State’s offense.
Ohio state vs Illinois looks like 2 people who have never played a basketball video game trying to figure out the buttons—
(@bkoo) January 24, 2014
OSU players ran into each other and then a Buckeye missed a shot so bad it got stuck on the backboard. One of their better possessions.—
Josh and Mike (@bigtengeeks) January 24, 2014
Lenzelle Smith broke out of a slump by going 4-for-8 from three, and that was enough to create separation from an Illini team that has now gone five straight games below a point per trip. Rayvonte Rice, who was the Big Ten’s leading scorer just a few weeks ago, went scoreless on 0-for-8 shooting.
In another low-scoring affair, Penn State picked up its first conference win over Nebraska. This was a nightmarish game for the Huskers’ offense, which turned it over on nearly a quarter of its possessions and missed far too many layups. The opportunity to build a winning streak is gone, but Tim Miles’ team has a decent chance of picking up a win or two over the next week with home games against Indiana and Minnesota.
This weekend brings a busy slate of Big Ten games, but the clear standout is Saturday night’s Michigan at Michigan State tilt. All of a sudden, these are the two frontrunners for the Big Ten title, and a road win for the Wolverines would put them in the driver’s seat. That road win is more possible than it might normally be, as the Spartans will play without Adriean Payne and Branden Dawson. Don’t miss this one.