It’s time for me to reach into my mail bag to answer your pressing questions. Basketball is on your mind. And that’s understandable, as we are in the heart of the season as I type this. So, let’s begin.
It’s the weekend, so that means it’s time for my weekly survey. This week’s query: Who is the Big Ten’s top newcomer? I’m talking true freshman, redshirt freshman, JC transfers and four-year transfers. There are some good choices. A tough call. I posed the question to seven top-notch scribes who cover the league. Lots of love for Indiana’s Noah Vonleh. Here you go.
OK, are you as confused as I am? This week of upsets has turned the conference on its side and trashed most everything I thought I knew about the Big Ten. Penn State wins at Ohio State, Northwestern prevails at Wisconsin, and Nebraska dumps Indiana. And the Big Ten standings speak to that. But, hey, Michigan just keeps on winning. So, there’s a constant. Michigan State, too.
KenPom’s game probabilities gave Northwestern just a five percent chance of winning at Wisconsin, and it didn’t like Penn State’s chances of winning at Ohio State much better (nine percent). In one of the unlikeliest nights of Big Ten basketball you’ll ever see, both road underdogs pulled the upset, an outcome that had a combined probability of less than half a percent.
The arrival of the Super Bowl means many things to many people. Ro-tel and Velveeta dip … the end of the most wonderful time of the year … spring is approaching. For me, it means we basically are at the halfway point of the Big Ten hoop season.
Michigan State pulled out an impressive overtime win at Iowa despite the continued absence of Adreian Payne and Branden Dawson. The gritty win was all about defense for the Spartans, as they held one of the nation’s top offenses to 1.01 points per trip at home.