Five Big Ten underclassmen declared for the NBA Draft this spring, and all five were featured prominently on episodes of BTN’s “The Journey 2013.” Indiana’s Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo, Michigan’s Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr., and Ohio State’s Deshaun Thomas all have their eyes on the June 27 draft happens at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.. So look into your crystal ball and tell us which one you think will have the most successful pro career.
Deshaun Thomas will forgo his senior season of eligibility at Ohio State to enter the NBA Draft. He finishes his career No. 9 in all-time scoring at Ohio State with 1,630 points, and he led the Big Ten in scoring this seasonr with 19.8 points per game. His total of 733 points last season is third most in Ohio State history.
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Indiana won the Big Ten championship outright by about half a Newton, as Jordan Morgan’s tip-in attempt was a hair too strong, allowing Indiana to complete a road comeback and dulling the festivities of the rest of the weekend. After a sluggish first half that ended with Michigan leading 33-30 (33 possessions), the two teams combined for 80 points in the second half (32 possessions). However, despite the fact that these two teams played a back-and-forth battle, I think the result raises more concerns about Michigan than Indiana.
Any sober look at Iowa in the preseason would have put the team somewhere in the vicinity of the bubble. The team was coming off an 8-10 Big Ten campaign that, albeit one blessed with good fortune, portended good things to come with most of the roster returning this season.
On Saturday night’s “The Journey: Big Ten Basketball 2013,” we put the spotlight on Ohio State’s Deshaun Thomas, Purdue’s Johnson brothers and Wisconsin’s new point guards. In this clip, you get a taste for all three of the latest episode’s storylines. Best of all: We have family video of Terone and Ronnie Johnson as youngsters, and it’s nothing short of cute. Check out the Johnson’s family footage from 1993 in this video.
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Last week “The Journey: Big Ten Basketball 2013” took you inside the Iowa Hawkeyes moving remembrance of former player Chris Street (watch the moment in this post). This week, the show explores how Ohio State’s Deshaun Thomas, the Big Ten’s leading scorer, has matured on and off the court. The show debuts Saturday at 9 p.m. ET after the Ohio State-Nebraska game.
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On Saturday, Iowa defended its home court with a win over Wisconsin. The Hawkeyes raced out to a 30-10 lead before the Badgers finally got something going on offense, though I think that early start for Wisconsin overshadows what kind of game this really was.
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This weekend featured a lot of games where the home team came out of the gate strong, though there were some second half scares as well. Indiana ran all over Minnesota in the first half on Saturday, opening up a 23-point lead after the first 20 minutes.
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It seems ludicrous that a Geek would pose such a question concerning the No. 11-ranked team according to Ken Pomeroy, but it’s fair. While the Buckeyes still look good in the computer’s eyes, but the computer’s eyes aren’t going to determine things like whether Ohio State will be invited to the Dance and how it will be seeded. So far on the season, OSU has faced three quality opponents (Duke, Kansas, and Illinois), and they’ve lost them all.
Illinois’ weaknesses were exposed in a road loss against a mediocre Purdue team last night. The concerning thing isn’t so much that Illinois lost—Purdue isn’t a terrible team, just a terrible offensive team—it’s that it lost to Purdue despite hitting 10 three-pointers (38% from three on the night). Thus, it appears the “Illinois wins when it shoots well” maxim is incorrect. This team can shoot well, and still lose.
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 outside the arc. On twos, Ohio State converted just 35 percent, and they were at 26 percent on threes. Kansas, meanwhile, shot 53 and 46 percent, respectively. Otherwise, OSU outplayed the Jayhawks, but shooting trumps all.
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If Ohio State is going to return to the Final Four, Deshaun Thomas knows he must carry a big load. And he embraces that responsibility playing in a loaded Big Ten that most feel is the best conference in America.
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Continuing the discussion of what each team could use this holiday season. Part one here.
BTN.com’s Brent Yarina continues to unveil his 2012-13 preseason Big Ten Player Rankings one by one. The countdown goes in reverse order, of course, and each installment includes player stats and one video highlight from last season. Once the season starts, Yarina will release a weekly Player Rankings every Monday. Up next: Ohio State’s Deshaun Thomas.
Jared Sullinger and William Buford are gone, but Thad Matta still has plenty of talent coming back for the 2012-13 season. In Aaron Craft and Deshaun Thomas, Ohio State figures to boast one of the Big Ten’s elite duos. Throw in role player Lenzelle Smith and youngsters LaQuinton Ross and Sam Thompson, and the Buckeyes should be just fine. Athlon Sports believes in the Buckeyes, and that’s why the publication was in Columbus recently for a photo shoot. See a picture in this post.
Michigan star Trey Burke announced Monday that he will return to the Wolverines after flirting with entering the 2012 NBA Draft (story). About a week ago, Ohio State’s Deshaun Thomas announced the same thing (story), which got us thinking the following: Which player’s return is bigger? BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart and BTN.com blogger Brent Yarina debate the topic in this post. Also on Monday, Minnesota guard Chip Armelin announced he is transferring (story).
Ohio State saw star center Jared Sullinger turn pro earlier this week after his sophomore season. But the Buckeyes got good news today with Deshaun Thomas’ announcement that he would return for his junior season. “Deshaun, his family and our coaching staff have spent the last week evaluating his future,” Ohio State coach Matta said. “Deshaun determined he wants to remain a Buckeye. We are looking forward to building on the success our team enjoyed in 2011-12 with Deshaun playing a significant role next year.”
Ohio State’s season came to an end in the national semifinal in a close loss to Kansas. The Buckeyes led for the vast majority of this game, and most will probably remember the game as a great comeback by Kansas, but the truth is that Kansas played a much better game than Ohio State. Consider that the Buckeyes were held to 32 percent shooting on two-pointers for the game. Further, OSU was held to rebounding just a quarter of the available offensive rebounds.
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 right now and who would win on a neutral court. Agree? Disagree? Tweet @BTNBrentYarina or leave your comments below. See Brent’s rankings in this post. Also, watch our interview with Aaron Craft, whose Buckeyes host Lamar at 8:30 ET Tuesday on BTN.
Nearly a month into the men’s hoops season, it’s clear the future of the Big Ten is in good hands. I say this because of the conference’s loaded sophomore class, one headlined by possible NBA departures Jared Sullinger and Tim Hardaway Jr.