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Big Ten Geeks: The best B1G defense in a decade?

Wisconsin held Northwestern to a paltry 0.74 points per possession in one of the most methodical blowouts you’ll ever see. The Wildcats were just consistently outclassed, as the Badgers steadily built their lead until it had swelled to the final 28-point margin. Northwestern’s lowly output helped Wisconsin nudge its in-conference defensive efficiency down to 0.901 points per trip. If the Badgers can keep that number at that level, it would be the Big Ten’s lowest ever in the tempo-free era (since 2002-03). The conference has seen some fantastic defensive squads over those ten-plus seasons, but none of them were able

Big Ten Geeks: Say Hello to your champs

Indiana pulled out a huge road win over Michigan State, thanks largely to the all-around heroics of Victor Oladipo. The surging national player of the year contender made things happen all over the court. On the offensive end, Oladipo was about as efficient as it gets, attacking the tin (he went six for seven on dunks and layups, ridiculous numbers for a guard) while turning it over only once. [ RELATED: Big Ten Player of the Year: Burke or Oladipo? ] Scoring 19 points on 11 shots is impressive enough, but Oladipo’s defensive effort was even better. He finished with

Big Ten Geeks: Boiling Over

Illinois exorcised some demons in a 20 point blowout of Purdue. The Fighting Illini seniors had never beaten the Boilermakers, but they changed that in emphatic fashion by attacking the offensive glass and limiting turnovers. In all, Illinois attempted 13 more field goals than Purdue, and those extra looks enabled John Groce’s team to score 1.20 points per trip despite 29 percent shooting on jumpers. It was Illinois’ best output since the win at Gonzaga, and it appears that the Illini of the season’s first month have returned. Illinois also did a good job defensively, especially when it came to

Big Ten Geeks: Michigan State cruises

In the first 2013 installment of an intense rivalry, Michigan State humiliated Michigan by 23 points, a margin that belies how truly dominant Tom Izzo’s team was. The lead touched 31 points before garbage time began, and Michigan’s deep reserves made a run to bring the margin down at the final buzzer. This was something of a bizarro game, as the turnover-prone Spartans took exquisite care of the ball, while the Wolverines threw the ball all over the court. That, along with a dreadful one for 11 shooting night from Tim Hardaway Jr., was enough to limit Michigan to its worst

Big Ten Geeks: Indiana Stunned in Champaign

With one of the most improbable comebacks you’ll see this season, Illinois shocked Indiana in Champaign. This was a game controlled by the Hoosiers most of the way, and Tom Crean’s squad held an eight point lead with 3:01 remaining. At that point, KenPom’s win probability, which factors in time, score, and team quality, gave the Illini just a 1.1 percent chance of coming back to win. With those teams, in that situation, you’d expect Indiana to win 99 out of 100 times. Of course, this game was the one percent. Over those final three minutes, Illinois scored on every possession, and

Big Ten Geeks: Michigan provides another beauty

The Big Ten served up yet another “game of the year” candidate in Michigan’s extra period triumph over Ohio State. This game featured just about everything–impressive defensive plays, back-and-forth big shots down the stretch, and plenty of scoring. Truth be told, you probably couldn’t construct a team more liable to be involved in aesthetically pleasing games than 2012-13 Michigan. The Wolverines have the nation’s most efficient offense, driven by that most crowd-pleasing of attributes: fantastic accuracy from the field. Let’s face it, we like to watch teams make shots, whether it be vicious dunks or feathery threes, and this squad is outstanding

Big Ten Geeks: Defense and Deshaun

In a matchup of the Big Ten’s two best defenses, it was Ohio State that prevailed with a nine-point home victory over Wisconsin. Both of these teams rely on good old fashioned B1G defense: make you miss (without fouling), then secure the carom. Turnovers are optional. True to form, both defenses controlled the glass at their respective ends, and neither team got to the foul line on a regular basis. In fact, for the first time in Bo Ryan’s 12 seasons, the Badgers failed to earn a single free throw. This is a rare occurrence, to be sure, but Wisconsin’s

Big Ten Geeks: Spartans Outlast Badgers

Michigan State won a battle of attrition in frigid Madison, edging Wisconsin by a 49-47 score. The Spartans are now 5-0 in games decided by three points or less, and this win was especially fortunate. The Badgers did an excellent job on defense, forcing Michigan State to take an abnormally high proportion of two-point jumpers: MICHIGAN STATE FGM FGA FG% % of shots Layups/dunks/tip-ins 6 13 46% 28% Two-point jumpers 8 25 32% 53% Threes 4 9 44% 19% For the season, the Spartans dedicate only 33 percent of their shots to two-point jumpers, as they are usually able to get

Big Ten Geeks: Badgers Shock Indiana

Wisconsin now owns the most impressive result in all of college basketball after its five point win at Indiana. During the Badgers’ nonconference struggles, we Geeks wondered what was up with Wisconsin’s defense. While the Badgers were still stifling the offense of many a cupcake, they were getting lit up (in a relative sense) against tournament-level teams. Well, it seems Bo Ryan’s squad has figured things out. Prior to last night, Indiana had not scored lower than 1.12 points per possession in Assembly Hall; Wisconsin held the Hoosiers below a point per trip. A large part of that dominance stemmed

Big Ten Geeks: Gophers make a statement

On Wednesday, Minnesota made a statement, beating Illinois by 17 points in Champaign. This was a strange one, as the Illini actually negated the Gophers’ huge on-paper advantage on the glass. Instead, it was a big discrepancy in shooting accuracy that told the story. Minnesota, normally a mediocre outside shooting team, hit nine of 15 from behind the arc, while Illinois made just three of its 24 three-point attempts. The Gopher defense certainly had a lot to do with the Illini’s struggles–there just weren’t all that many open looks–but it was also just one of those nights (see Andre Hollins’ banked-in three from nearly midcourt to