Up is down. In is out. Black is white. Welcome to Big Ten basketball 2012, a season filled with twists and turns that have jumbled the race (standings). And the conference season isn’t even half over. This past week was filled with tumult that scrambled the league standings and made one thing perfectly clear: This is going to be a wild race for the Big Ten championship.
With an amazing 43-point performance from Brandon Paul, Illinois shocked Ohio State in Champaign. Coming in, this looked like a game that the Illini might hope to keep close with their defense, but it seemed unlikely that Bruce Weber’s struggling offense would be able to scrape together enough points against the nation’s top defense. That analysis went out the window once Paul got rolling.
Michigan State senior captain Draymond Green doesn’t do a lot of his work high above the rim. No, most of Green’s damage on the offensive end is done with jumpers and inside post moves. That wasn’t the case late in the first half of Michigan State’s game against Iowa on Tuesday night, however. With just under three minutes remaining before halftime, Green ran the floor and got high up to connect with Brandan Kearney on a terrific alley-oop. Watch the alley-oop now and be sure to check out Green’s face on the way back down the floor.
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.
Wisconsin and Michigan State squared off last night in a game that will not help the Big Ten’s national image. Via a combination of slow pace, good defense, and missed shots that both teams would normally make, the Spartans and Badgers labored for points. It took Michigan State over 13 minutes of game time to break into double digits–and even then they were only down two points. Wisconsin’s shooting nightmare that began against Iowa persisted, and it truly looked like the first team to 50 would win.
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. Watch Gus Johnson call Ben Brust’s sixth 3-pointer from Saturday’s win over UNLV now and see the rankings in this post.
The Big Ten Conference announced its weekly Men’s Basketball Players of the Week on Monday. A pair of forwards shared player of the week, while a standout point guard took home freshman honors. See the winners in this post.
Every Sunday night during the hoops season, BTN.com web editor Brent Yarina recaps the week that was on the men’s hardwood and hands out his weekly honors. See Brent’s latest installment, for action from Dec. 5-11, in this post. Also, watch Christian Watford’s last-second 3-pointer to stun No. 1 Kentucky and the resulting celebration Saturday at Assembly Hall. And get ready for the coming week of Big Ten action with our Big Ten scoreboard.