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. Otherwise, hang on and buckle up for what could be wild February. Who will be the next upset victim? THREE STOCKS TO BUY 1. Michigan State. Just when it looked like injuries to
Weekends like this one have me considering whether it’s just better to disregard the non-conference season entirely. Because despite the last three months, there was a lot of reverting to preseason expectations. In turn… Wisconsin’s Defense is a Concern Last year the Badgers were an elite defensive unit that couldn’t score. A big reason for that was the team adopted the personalities of its two senior leaders, Ryan Evans and Jared Berggren. Both players were fantastic defenders, but they also struggled to put the ball in the basket. With those offensive anchors removed—and replaced by personnel with loads of offensive
Most of the conference fed on cupcakes this weekend, but there were a few games of note. The best game of the weekend was Michigan’s trip to Iowa State. Sadly, it did not go as the Wolverines would have liked, although Iowa State was actually favored in this game (which calls the subsequent court-storming into question, for those who dream of joining the Fun Police). A full-strength Michigan played classic Beilein Ball, shooting a lot of threes while minimizing turnovers and shooting a high percentage on twos. And it mostly worked. The Wolverines turned it over on fewer than 16
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. While I believe Wisconsin committed error when it opted not to foul Michigan before Tim Hardaway Jr. knocked down a three-pointer to break a tie with just a few ticks left, I don’ think Michigan did anything wrong by forcing Ben Brust to make a contested 40-foot runner at the buzzer.
The Big Ten had a relatively bad weekend, dropping marquee games against other high-major conference teams. The main event was a battle between two top-10 teams when Kansas visited Columbus. Given that the game was on the Buckeyes’ floor, Ohio State should have won this game, and probably by more than just a point or two. Instead, Kansas ended up with a relatively comfortable 8-point win. The Jayhawks led most of the way, and started pulling away with about ten minutes left. There was no great mystery as to why OSU lost—they were terrible shooting the ball, both inside and
Continuing the discussion of what each team could use this holiday season. Part one here. Nebraska (6-2) Already, Tim Miles has been successful in installing parts of his system. His Colorado State and North Dakota State teams dutifully cleaned the glass on defense, and we’re seeing similar results with the Huskers (a cynic would point out that defensive rebounding was a relative strength for Nebraska last year as well. To the cynic—stop being such a Scrooge.). But the team hasn’t been as quick to adopt Miles’ affinity for attacking the basket. In each of his last three seasons, Miles’ Colorado