The Big Ten features many dynamic newcomers who have had a profound impact on the conference this season. Indiana’s Noah Vonleh, Nebraska’s Terran Petteway and Michigan’s Derrick Walton, Jr., among others. Minnesota’s DeAndre Mathieu also belongs in the conversation.
It’s the weekend, so that means it’s time for my weekly survey. This week’s query: Who is the Big Ten’s top newcomer? I’m talking true freshman, redshirt freshman, JC transfers and four-year transfers. There are some good choices. A tough call. I posed the question to seven top-notch scribes who cover the league. Lots of love for Indiana’s Noah Vonleh. Here you go.
This week “The Journey: Big Ten Basketball 2014″ airs Sunday at 5 p.m. ET after Illinois plays Indiana on BTN/BTN2Go and we’ve got the stories right here. Come meet Minnesota point guard DeAndre Mathieu, a former walk-on and JUCO transfer who is now flourishing in Richard Pitino’s system – all while honoring a friend. Also, track the long and winding road taken by Champaign native Rayvonte Rice, who wound up at Illinois as one of the leagues’ top scorers.
It would be tough to find anyone with knowledge of college basketball who would argue against the Big Ten being among the top conferences in the country this year. We are in early January, and already, the conference features nine teams with double-digit wins, five of which are currently ranked in the AP Top 25 poll.
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We’re all set to tip-off conference play on Tuesday, which means it’s time to hand out our final grades for the nonconference season. We’ll do this in alphabetical order.