BTN2Go is a digital extension of BTN that delivers live and on-demand programming to existing BTN subscribers via the web, mobile phone and tablet. It's available for free to subscribers of participating TV providers.
In the opening game of the conference season, Minnesota held serve at home by pulling away from Michigan State in the final minutes. Over the last 10 minutes of the game, the Gophers outscored the Spartans 22-6, erasing a three-point lead by MSU. This was a game between two teams that play very similar styles. For the most part, neither squad is blessed with outside shooting, and they know it—only Purdue shoots fewer three-pointers than these teams.
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.
It’s time for No. 1. The last nine days, BTN.com’s Brent Yarina has unveiled his 2012-13 preseason Big Ten Player Rankings one by one. See players 2-10 here. Who’s No. 1? It’s pretty simple at this point, really. The pick is Indiana sophomore Cody Zeller. Reminder: Once the season gets underway, Yarina will release a weekly Player Rankings every Monday.
Indiana’s Cody Zeller and Michigan’s Trey Burke shared last season’s Big Ten Freshman of the Year. Could they share a court in the 2016 Olympics? That’s what CBSSports.com’s Jeff Goodman predicts. With rumors that Olympic basketball will go with players 23-and-under beginning in 2016, Goodman compiled his Team USA roster, and the starting 5 included the current Indiana and Michigan stars.
Indiana fans love Cody Zeller. The rising sophomore not only brought the Hoosiers back to relevancy last season, he also put off the NBA to return to Bloomington for at least one more year. Grateful for both things, the Indiana faithful knows Zeller’s decision means the world, especially with the nucleus the Hoosiers have coming back in 2012-13. The fans are so excited, in fact, some of them created an entertaining YouTube video in Zeller’s honor. If you haven’t see it, watch the video in this post.
A year ago at this time, Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger and Baylor’s Perry Jones were projected high lottery picks in the 2012 NBA Draft. Injuries, however, saw the two stars drop to No. 21 and No. 28, respectively, in last week’s draft. Using that logic, LostLetttermen.com’s Anthony Olivieri brought up this interesting question in a recent column: could Cody Zeller, the No. 1 pick in several 2013 mock drafts, regret coming back for his sophomore season?
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?
BTN announced the 2011-12 All-Big Ten Men’s Basketball Teams live on Monday night. Michigan State star Draymond Green was the only unanimous first-team player and also won Player of the Year from the coaches and the media, while Green’s coach, Tom Izzo, claimed both Coach of the Year honors. As for the highly debated Freshman of the Year laurel, Trey Burke (media) and Cody Zeller (coaches) were both selected. Let the debate continue!
With Keith Appling draped all over him, William Buford hit an absolute dagger of a shot to help Ohio State down Michigan State and ensure a three-way tie atop the Big Ten conference for the season. While that makes banner manufacturers very happy, it was not the result the Spartans were expecting after they found themselves up by 9 after the first half. Ohio State won this game by keeping MSU off the glass, getting to the free throw line, and by the excellent work by whoever had the job of talking Buford into coming back to school every May. With Jared Sullinger largely ineffective, Buford put the Buckeyes on his back, carrying them with 25 points on 14 shots.
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.