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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.