Latest Big Ten Geeks News

Big Ten Geeks: Rise of the Gophers

Minnesota Fans

Gophers Upset Hoosiers, Fans Rush Court

Indiana suffered another road loss to a previously scuffling squad, this time falling at Minnesota by four points. Much has been said about Cody Zeller’s lack of offensive production on this night (nine points, four turnovers, five fouls), but the Hoosiers scored quite well with their big man scuffling.

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Big Ten Geeks: The best B1G defense in a decade?

Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Wisconsin held Northwestern to a paltry 0.74 points per possession in one of the most methodical blowouts you’ll ever see. The Wildcats were just consistently outclassed, as the Badgers steadily built their lead until it had swelled to the final 28-point margin. Northwestern’s lowly output helped Wisconsin nudge its in-conference defensive efficiency down to 0.901 points per trip.

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Big Ten Geeks: Say Hello to your champs

Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Indiana pulled out a huge road win over Michigan State, thanks largely to the all-around heroics of Victor Oladipo. The surging national player of the year contender made things happen all over the court. On the offensive end, Oladipo was about as efficient as it gets, attacking the tin (he went six for seven on dunks and layups, ridiculous numbers for a guard) while turning it over only once.

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Big Ten Geeks: Boiling Over

Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois exorcised some demons in a 20 point blowout of Purdue. The Fighting Illini seniors had never beaten the Boilermakers, but they changed that in emphatic fashion by attacking the offensive glass and limiting turnovers. In all, Illinois attempted 13 more field goals than Purdue, and those extra looks enabled John Groce’s team to score 1.20 points per trip despite 29 percent shooting on jumpers. It was Illinois’ best output since the win at Gonzaga, and it appears that the Illini of the season’s first month have returned.

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Big Ten Geeks: Michigan State cruises

Matt Costello

Michigan at Michigan State - Men's Basketball Highlights

Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

In the first 2013 installment of an intense rivalry, Michigan State humiliated Michigan by 23 points, a margin that belies how truly dominant Tom Izzo’s team was. The lead touched 31 points before garbage time began, and Michigan’s deep reserves made a run to bring the margin down at the final buzzer.

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Big Ten Geeks: Foul!

Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Wisconsin picked up an overtime win over Michigan in a contest with plenty of late-game drama. Wisconsin and Michigan both found themselves with plenty of fouls to give at the end of regulation on Saturday, but neither team opted to hack to deprive the opponent of a desperation heave.

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Big Ten Geeks: Indiana Stunned in Champaign

With one of the most improbable comebacks you’ll see this season, Illinois shocked Indiana in Champaign. This was a game controlled by the Hoosiers most of the way, and Tom Crean’s squad held an eight point lead with 3:01 remaining. At that point, KenPom’s win probability, which factors in time, score, and team quality, gave the Illini just a 1.1 percent chance of coming back to win. With those teams, in that situation, you’d expect Indiana to win 99 out of 100 times.

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Big Ten Geeks: Michigan provides another beauty

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten served up yet another “game of the year” candidate in Michigan’s extra period triumph over Ohio State. This game featured just about everything–impressive defensive plays, back-and-forth big shots down the stretch, and plenty of scoring. Truth be told, you probably couldn’t construct a team more liable to be involved in aesthetically pleasing games than 2012-13 Michigan.

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Big Ten Geeks: Saturday Night Showdown

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Indiana reclaimed the top spot in the polls after it held off Michigan in Bloomington. The Hoosiers lit up the Wolverines’ defense to the tune of 1.17 points per possession, the highest mark allowed so far this season by John Beilein’s team. And the reality it that it could have been much worse, as careless turnovers were about the only thing that slowed down the IU offense.

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Big Ten Geeks: Defense and Deshaun

Deshaun Thomas

Wisconsin at Ohio State - Men's Basketball Highlights

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

In a matchup of the Big Ten’s two best defenses, it was Ohio State that prevailed with a nine-point home victory over Wisconsin. Both of these teams rely on good old fashioned B1G defense: make you miss (without fouling), then secure the carom. Turnovers are optional.

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Big Ten Geeks: In Defense of Jordan Morgan's Defense

Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports

If there’s any subject that’s sure to get a good college basketball debate going, it’s defense. It’s easy to see why—we don’t have very good ways of measuring defense. At the individual level, we have steals, blocks, and defensive rebounds. And some people don’t believe that last one is actually “defense:”

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Big Ten Geeks: It's Ola-doeverything for Indiana

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Indiana held serve against Michigan State to move into a tie with Michigan atop the Big Ten standings. Normally, I’d use this opportunity to point out that although Indiana won by 5, the outcome actually suggests that Michigan State is the better team. But I don’t think that’s true here, because Indiana was equal to or better than the Spartans in all but one category—three-point shooting. MSU made 11 of its 23 attempts from behind the three-point line, and I’ll go ahead and call that an aberration.

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Big Ten Geeks: Who are the Gophers?

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

I’ll admit—I’ve never truly forgiven Minnesota for 2010. Back in those days, when the internet was over, it was my opinion that the Gophers should have been contending for a Big Ten championship. I wasn’t even close, as Minnesota finished the season at 9-9, and squeaked into the NCAA Tournament (the Gophers barely had enough time to check into their hotel before Xavier dispatched of them in the first round).

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Big Ten Geeks: Spartans Outlast Badgers

Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan State won a battle of attrition in frigid Madison, edging Wisconsin by a 49-47 score. The Spartans are now 5-0 in games decided by three points or less, and this win was especially fortunate. The Badgers did an excellent job on defense, forcing Michigan State to take an abnormally high proportion of two-point jumpers:

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Big Ten Geeks: Here come the Hawkeyes

Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

On Saturday, Iowa defended its home court with a win over Wisconsin. The Hawkeyes raced out to a 30-10 lead before the Badgers finally got something going on offense, though I think that early start for Wisconsin overshadows what kind of game this really was.

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Big Ten Geeks: Inconvenient Truths

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

This may surprise you, but every now and then we say something that really gets fans riled up. The best example of this is our belief that while Aaron Craft is a very good defender, he is not, nor has he ever been, Ohio State’s best defender. And this year, he’s not even the team’s best perimeter defender. Rather than take this as a complement to Ohio State’s collection of outstanding defenders, a lot of people take this as a slight to Craft.

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Big Ten Geeks: Badgers Shock Indiana

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Wisconsin now owns the most impressive result in all of college basketball after its five point win at Indiana. During the Badgers’ nonconference struggles, we Geeks wondered what was up with Wisconsin’s defense. While the Badgers were still stifling the offense of many a cupcake, they were getting lit up (in a relative sense) against tournament-level teams.

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Big Ten Geeks: Early Dominance

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

This weekend featured a lot of games where the home team came out of the gate strong, though there were some second half scares as well. Indiana ran all over Minnesota in the first half on Saturday, opening up a 23-point lead after the first 20 minutes.

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Big Ten Geeks: Gophers make a statement

Rodney Williams

Minnesota at Illinois - Men's Basketball Highlights

Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports

On Wednesday, Minnesota made a statement, beating Illinois by 17 points in Champaign. This was a strange one, as the Illini actually negated the Gophers’ huge on-paper advantage on the glass. Instead, it was a big discrepancy in shooting accuracy that told the story. Minnesota, normally a mediocre outside shooting team, hit nine of 15 from behind the arc, while Illinois made just three of its 24 three-point attempts. The Gopher defense certainly had a lot to do with the Illini’s struggles–there just weren’t all that many open looks–but it was also just one of those nights (see Andre Hollins’ banked-in three from nearly midcourt to beat the shot clock).

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Big Ten Geeks: Is Ohio State good?

Mandatory Credit: Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports

It seems ludicrous that a Geek would pose such a question concerning the No. 11-ranked team according to Ken Pomeroy, but it’s fair. While the Buckeyes still look good in the computer’s eyes, but the computer’s eyes aren’t going to determine things like whether Ohio State will be invited to the Dance and how it will be seeded. So far on the season, OSU has faced three quality opponents (Duke, Kansas, and Illinois), and they’ve lost them all.

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Big Ten Geeks: It isn't the Little Ten

Illinois’ weaknesses were exposed in a road loss against a mediocre Purdue team last night. The concerning thing isn’t so much that Illinois lost—Purdue isn’t a terrible team, just a terrible offensive team—it’s that it lost to Purdue despite hitting 10 three-pointers (38% from three on the night). Thus, it appears the “Illinois wins when it shoots well” maxim is incorrect. This team can shoot well, and still lose.

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