There were some rim-rattling slams on the hoop going to the right on your TV screen in Indiana’s victory over Michigan State on Wednesday. Draymond Green started it with a steal that he turned into a powerful And-1 in the first 20 minutes; in the second half, Victor Oladipo added a thunderous dunk, and Cody Zeller matched Green’s steal and slam. As they say, things come in threes. Which dunk was the best? Watch Zeller’s slam now and see the other two in this post. Then, cast your vote for the top dunk. Prediction: It’s going to be a close one.
Another night, another set of at-large hopes dashed. On Wednesday evening, Minnesota hoped to keep their NCAA Tournament hopes alive, at least for another few days, with a crucial home matchup against Michigan State. Things were looking up when the Gophers took a nine-point lead with just over 10 minutes remaining. Maybe Minnesota really would pull this off and get back onto the bubble.
In the waning moments of Michigan’s upset win over Ohio State on Saturday, the Twitterverse started naming Trey Burke the Big Ten Freshman of the Year. The point guard was instrumental in the win, scoring 17 points and dishing out five assists, but let’s not consider this thing over. The race is just heating up, as Indiana’s Cody Zeller has been every bit as impressive — probably even more so the past couple of weeks. Brent Yarina breaks down the two worthy candidates in this post.
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:
Indiana big man Cody Zeller has been named a finalist for the 2012 Wayman Tisdale Award, presented annually to the men’s National Freshman of the Year. Zeller is averaging 15.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 1.4 blocks per game, all while shooting a Big Ten-leading 64.8 percent. One of only a couple new faces for the Hoosiers this season, Zeller is the biggest reason for Indiana’s turnaround, which has seen the team go from 12-20 a year ago to 19-6.
The Big Ten Conference released its latest Big Ten Men’s Baketball Players of the Week for Feb. 6-12 action. See the winners and what they did to earn the distinctions in this post.
Indiana made a living at the foul line in a chippy 13-point win over visiting Illinois. For about 30 minutes, this was a tight, back-and-forth game, with six lead changes and 14 ties. Over the final 10 minutes, however, the Hoosiers took advantage of the foul-riddled Illini to pull away. Indiana not only got to the foul line at an astounding rate; it also shot incredibly well from there, going 35 of 42 (83 percent). Paired with the Hoosiers’ customary accuracy from the field and a low turnover rate, it powered Indiana to a scorching 1.26 points per possession, the highest allowed by the Illinois defense all season.
The knock on Indiana this season was that while the Hoosiers are nearly unbeatable at home, they’re almost the opposite on the road. To wit, the home and away efficiencies are Stevenson-esque in conference play:
Derek Elston averaged 2.6 points per game in Indiana’s first nine Big Ten games. On Sunday night against Iowa, the junior forward erupted for eight points in a 70-second span, hitting a 3-pointer, a deep jumper and another 3 on successive first-half possessions. The scoring spree not only marked Elston’s most points in a game since he totaled eight against Howard on Dec. 19, it also turned a tie game into an eight-point Indiana advantage. Oh, and for good measure, the junior blocked a shot to help create the final bucket of the outburst. Watch Elston’s rare explosion now and see Cody Zeller’s dunk-a-thon in this post.
Indiana was looking like they had turned a corner, building a small lead at the Kohl Center early in the second half. As has happened lately to Tom Crean’s bunch, things fell apart and Wisconsin picked up yet another B1G victory. Let’s look at how it happened.
You have more questions, and I have more answers in this week’s mailbag. With the basketball season heating up, readers wonder who the best team is in the Big Ten, what’s wrong with Wisconsin, and who have been the top freshmen. But also: Did Montee Ball make the correct decision to come back for his senior year? I’ll tell you what I think but then you can tell me what you think about that question and others in the comments box at the end of my post.
The Big Ten men’s basketball season is really heating up as we enter a third week of league action, so it’s time to roll out the first installment of my Monday basketball column. We’re calling this my Big Ten Whiteboard, because I’ll be drawing up all the good stuff you’ll need to keep track of in the week ahead.
The Big Ten Conference released its weekly Men’s Basketball Players of the Week for Jan. 2-8 action. See the latest winners and what they did to earn the honors in this post. Also, check out the women’s recipients.
Our award-winning series “The Journey: Big Ten Basketball 2012” returned Sunday night. On the season’s first show, we followed Michigan State’s Draymond Green back to his hometown of Saginaw, Mich., to see how his upbringing made him into the leader he is today, and we introduced you to Indiana’s Cody Zeller. Also, we took a look at Matt Painter’s roots in the state of Indiana and profiled how two Ohio State McDonald’s All-Americans have taken different paths to success in Columbus. Watch a clip from the show now and find a few bonus clips in this post.
Night in and night out, Indiana’s Cody Zeller continues to dazzle and show why he was so highly recruited. The talented freshman entered Thursday night’s game against UMBC averaging 15.3 points, 7.4 rebounds 2.3 steals and 1.6 blocks per game. Those numbers may get better following Thursday’s action. One thing’s for sure: Zeller added two more highlight-reel plays to his first-year resume tape. Watch his powerful jam, set up by a terrific pass from Victor Oladipo, and see his breakaway jam in this post.
Just as we did during 2010-2011 hoops season, we’re archiving Gus Johnson’s greatest calls this season. Johnson called the Big Ten Football Championship for Fox and is calling men’s basketball for BTN all winter long. We clip and post his best calls and archive them here during games, so bookmark the page and come back all season right up through the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament. Right now you can watch Johnson call Jordan Hulls’ lefty 3 to beat the shot clock last night at Indiana. Check out the rest of his Howard-Indiana calls in this post.
It’s time to release my latest Big Ten men’s hoops power rankings. The rankings are not meant to mimic the Big Ten standings. What fun would that be? They aren’t scientific, either. They’re simply my thoughts on where each Big Ten team stands at that time. Agree? Disagree? Tweet @BTNBrentYarina or leave your comments below.
The Big Ten Conference announced its latest Men’s Basketball Players of the Week for Nov. 28-Dec. 4. Three players were honored, including a player who has now been honored three times this season. See all the recipients in this post. Also, check out the women’s honorees.
Indiana freshman Cody Zeller is off to a fabulous start to his college career. The highly touted Mr. Basketball has won each of the conference’s first two Freshman of the Week honors and a third could be on the way when the latest honors are released Monday morning. In Sunday night’s game against back-to-back national runner-up Butler, Zeller went for 16 points, two of which came on this emphatic reverse slam, eight rebounds, two blocks and three steals. It’s easy to see why Indiana fans are so excited about this kid. Watch the big-time dunk now.
On Monday, the Big Ten Conference handed out its weekly Men’s Basketball Player of the Week honors. See the winners for Nov. 14-20 in this post.
Every Sunday night during the hoops season, Brent Yarina recaps the week that was on the men’s hardwood and hands out his weekly honors. See Brent’s first installment, for action from Nov. 14-20, in this post.
BTN.com’s Mallory Treleaven sat down with BTN basketball analyst and two-time Big Ten Player of the Year Jim Jackson to get his early season thoughts on Big Ten basketball. Follow Jackson on Twitter (@BTNJimJackson) and watch him all season long.
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.