In many ways, Aaron White is the epitome of Iowa basketball, a try-hard guy who continues to emerge as one of the Big Ten’s most versatile and indispensable players largely because of hard work. Bottom line: White is a player any coach would love to have. His ability to impact the game on myriad levels is unique.
Find out more about: Aaron White, Big Ten Q&A
This week on “The Journey: Big Ten Basketball 2014” we see why the Michigan-Michigan State game took on a special meaning for longtime friends Gary Harris of the Spartans and Zak Irvin of the Wolverines. The new episode debuts Saturday at 9:30 p.m. ET right after the Iowa-Illinois game on BTN/BTN2Go (full schedule here).
The weekend is officially here. So that means it’s time for my weekly survey of seven Big Ten hoops writers. This week’s question: Who is the Big Ten’s most underrated player? Check out the responses. No consensus, but some interesting responses.
The Big Ten basketball season is approaching the midway point and the conference picture is beginning to take form. Michigan (5-0) and Michigan State (7-0) are the only remaining unbeaten teams in the Big Ten, while Iowa is close behind at 4-1 and climbing up the national rankings. So, we ask, who is the best team in the Big Ten at this point?
The easy narrative for Wisconsin’s win over Iowa is that Fran McCaffrey was hit with a double technical foul when his team held a 2-point lead, and that those four points gave Wisconsin the lead, the momentum, and the margin of victory.
This was a big weekend for the middle of the Big Ten. So far this season, there have been two teams that clearly look a cut above the rest—Ohio State and Wisconsin—and then there are a lot of teams that haven’t hit their upside. Many of those teams were tested this weekend, and every one of them failed.
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Indiana’s Yogi Ferrell and Will Sheehey, Iowa’s Aaron White and Michigan State’s Adreian Payne were named to the 2013 USA Basketball Men’s World University Games Team. The Big Ten quartet made the team after five days of training camp at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Indiana’s Yogi Ferrell and Will Sheehey, Iowa’s Aaron White and Michigan State’s Adreian Payne were named finalists for the 2013 USA Basketball Men’s World University Games Team. The finalists were announced Wednesday following three days of training camp at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.
The Big Ten is loaded with talented basketball players, so it’s only natural that some guys to go unnoticed or receive less respect than they deserve. That’s why I compiled my 2012-13 All-Big Ten Underrated Team. Who made the list? Find out in this post. Did I forget anyone? If so, leave it in the comment box at the bottom of the post.
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Indiana won the Big Ten championship outright by about half a Newton, as Jordan Morgan’s tip-in attempt was a hair too strong, allowing Indiana to complete a road comeback and dulling the festivities of the rest of the weekend. After a sluggish first half that ended with Michigan leading 33-30 (33 possessions), the two teams combined for 80 points in the second half (32 possessions). However, despite the fact that these two teams played a back-and-forth battle, I think the result raises more concerns about Michigan than Indiana.
Find out more about: Aaron Craft, Aaron White, Cody Zeller, Deshaun Thomas, Jermaine Marshall, Keith Appling, Lenzelle Smith Jr., Melsahn Basabe, Mike Bruesewitz, Traevon Jackson, Trey Burke
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We all know who the superstars are in the Big Ten—Cody Zeller, Victor Oladipo, Trey Burke, Deshaun Thomas, Brandon Paul, Trevor Mbakwe. This year the list really could go on quite a bite. But who do I think have been some of the most underrated players this season in the conference? Glad you asked.
Any sober look at Iowa in the preseason would have put the team somewhere in the vicinity of the bubble. The team was coming off an 8-10 Big Ten campaign that, albeit one blessed with good fortune, portended good things to come with most of the roster returning this season.
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We’re only a few weeks away from Selection Sunday, and there’s only a handful of games left for teams to pick up signature wins. This weekend, some did, and some didn’t.
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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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As we finish up non-conference play, we’re getting a better picture of where the teams stack up, and where they have holes to fill. No team is perfect, so everyone could stand to benefit from some gifts from Santa (or whoever). Here’s a rundown of what everyone needs.
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Up until Saturday night, Illinois’ season has been described in strange terms. At that point, it was “surprising” that Illinois was undefeated. The Illini won the Maui Invitational, which was a very “prestigious” early-season tournament. This isn’t normally how one talks about an undefeated team that’s ranked in the top-15.
Josh: It’s time to reflect on another season of Big Ten hoops. I think the rest of college basketball has finally taken notice of something that’s been true for the past 18 months or so–the Big Ten is the best conference in college basketball. Still, you look at the conference today, you see two great teams, 3 pretty darn good teams, a team good enough to make the Dance, and then mediocrity. Heck, even a couple of pretty bad teams. I mean, it’s hard to say the conference underachieved, but here goes–the conference underachieved. Sure, this is still the best action you’ll find, and it’s not close, but we’re still talking about a league that’s probably going to get 6 bids, with only a couple of standout teams. Does that sound much different than the past decade, when the Big Ten wasn’t measuring up to the likes of the ACC and the Big East?
Find out more about: Aaron White, Branden Dawson, Bryce Cartwright, Cody Zeller, Dave Sobolewski, Derek Elston, Draymond Green, Jared Sullinger, John Shurna, Jordan Taylor, Josh Oglesby, Matt Gatens, Melsahn Basabe, Meyers Leonard, Robbie Hummel, Roy Devyn Marble, Trey Burke, Verdell Jones, Victor Oladipo, William Buford
Purdue picked up a huge victory for their at-large profile at Illinois on Wednesday. This game was mostly decided in the first half, as the Boilers jumped out to a 13-point lead after 16 minutes. Bruce Weber’s team couldn’t stop the smaller Purdue lineup, and it failed to take advantage at the other end by getting the ball to Meyers Leonard. From that point forward, the Illini played much better, even using a triangle-and-two to good effect in the second half, but the Boilers would never fully relinquish their lead. The split of the efficiencies tells the story of too little, too late:
In a conference that boasts Indiana’s Cody Zeller and Michigan’s Trey Burke, sometimes Iowa’s Aaron White flies under the radar when it comes to the Big Ten’s top freshmen. A few more plays like the one White made in Wednesday’s win against Minnesota, and his name will be up there with Zeller and Burke. Watch White’s impressive And-1 off of a missed shot now and check out Devyn Marble posterize Minnesota’s 6-foot-11 center Ralph Sampson III in this post.
It’s early in the conference season, but not so early that teams don’t have something they need to work on. To get them in shape, let’s hand out some homework assignments.
Illinois picked up a much needed victory at Northwestern, but they sure didn’t make it easy on themselves. The Wildcats came out executing their offense to the tune of 1.13 points per possession in the first half, a very solid showing against a good Illini defense. John Shurna was at the forefront of the attack, putting up 17 first half points. Northwestern built a double digit lead before a late Illinois run made it closer at the half.
Every year, it’s a test of one’s will to avoid drawing any conclusions prior to the beginning of conference play. For instance, two years ago the Texas Longhorns jumped out to an undefeated mark before beginning their conference slate. Non-conference opponents included Pitt, UNC, and Michigan State. After opening conference play with wins over what turned out to be the bottom of the Big XII, Texas sat atop both polls (I still don’t understand the point of polls in college basketball) and was generally recognized as the best team in the country.
Wednesday’s and Thursday’s games marked the end of non-conference play for many Big Ten members. With the holiday break looming, let’s run down who has been naughty and nice.
The Big Ten announced its first weekly honors for the 2011-12 men’s hoops season Monday. Three players were honored, including a pair of Hoosiers. Sophomore Victor Oladipo took home Player of the Week honors after averaging 18.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 0.5 blocks in Indiana’s first two games, both easy wins. See all the honorees in this post.