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Big Ten Geeks: Indiana 2013-14 Preview

Last year, the Hoosiers moved on from a rebuilding job to regaining its place among the best teams in college basketball. But Indiana came up short against Syracuse’s 2-3 zone in the Sweet 16. Today I’ll look at whether IU can climb back up the mountain this season. 2013 Record: 29-7 (14-4) Conference Offensive Efficiency: 1.14 (1st) Conference Defensive Efficiency: 0.98 (5th) Percentage of Conference Minutes Returning: 31 Percentage of Conference Minutes Played by Returning Freshmen: 21 Shots fired. In a stunning display of abuse of power by a headline writer, the Wall Street Journal labeled an Indiana team that

Big Ten Geeks: Illinois 2013-14 Preview

The yo-yo continues. Since the Dee Brown Era, Illinois has reliably alternated good season with mediocre, missing the NCAA Tournament every other year. This past season did its part in an up year, as the Illini were only 5 points from reaching their first Sweet 16 since 2005. That certainly qualifies as a successful season for first year coach John Groce, who injected plenty of energy into the program. But also, Groce injected a ton of three-pointers. The feel-good story would be that John Groce (who comes from the coaching tree of Thad Matta, whose teams almost always shoot well)

Big Ten Geeks: Our Michigan vs. Syracuse preview

After nearly five months of basketball, we’re now down to the Final Four, with Michigan the lone Big Ten representative. Needless to say, a national title for the Wolverines would provide a nice boost for the conference’s reputation, as banners carry more lasting relevance than computer ratings that have pegged the Big Ten as the nation’s best conference for three years running. Rightly or wrongly, postseason success trumps all else. With that in mind, what are Michigan’s chances Saturday night against Syracuse? KenPom projects the game as a virtual toss-up, with the Wolverines favored by a 67-66 score in 63

Big Ten Geeks: Inside Thursday's Sweet 16 battles

As expected, four Big Ten teams have advanced to the Sweet 16, with play resuming Thursday night. Let’s take a close look at tomorrow’s matchups (Ohio State vs. Arizona; Indiana vs. Syracuse). On Thursday, we’ll preview Friday’s regional semifinals (Michigan State vs. Michigan vs. Kansas). Ohio State vs. Arizona, 7:47 pm ET, Los Angeles, CA The Buckeyes reside in the wild West, where the 3, 4, and 5 seeds all went down in the second round, and the 1 seed bowed out in the third round. That leaves the winner of this crucial game as the favorite to reach the

2011-12 Season Preview: Ohio State

Now, it’s time to unveil the projected champs of the Big Ten. Look at us, out here on this limb, picking the Buckeyes. Ohio State 10-11 Overall Record: 34-3 10-11 Conference Record: 16-2 10-11 Conference Efficiency Margin: 0.16 Percent of Returning Minutes: 57.0 Percent of Returning Freshman Minutes: 40.1 Ohio State is the 1 percent. Since 2006, the Buckeyes have exceeded the 0.10 point-per-possession threshold four times, winning the conference in each of those seasons. All the while, Thad Matta has transformed Columbus, Ohio into a temporary stop for athletes on their way to the NBA. And none of that

2011-12 Season Preview: Wisconsin

Our penultimate preview is for the Wisconsin Badgers, a team that’s been a lot more dominant over the Big Ten of late than most people realize. Wisconsin 10-11 Overall Record: 25-9 10-11 Conference Record: 13-5 10-11 Conference Efficiency Margin: 0.11 Percent of Returning Minutes: 51.3% Percent of Returning Freshman Minutes: 14.5%Wisconsin has made some dynamite hires over the past 25 years. Barry Alvarez certainly stands out. So does Pat Richter and Bret Bielema. But is the best one Bo Ryan? Ryan took over the team beginning with the 2001-02 season. Under his watch, the Badgers have never missed the NCAA

2011-12 Season Preview: Purdue

Next up on our Big Ten season previews are the Boilermakers, who lost stars E’Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson but return the other popular Baby Boiler, Robbie Hummel. What’s a reasonable range of expectations for Matt Painter’s team? We have them finishing in third place. Purdue 10-11 Overall Record: 26-8 10-11 Conference Record: 14-4 10-11 Conference Efficiency Margin: 0.13 Percent of Returning Minutes: 64.5 Percent of Returning Freshman Minutes: 14.0 How does a big increase in usage affect the efficiency of a role player? That is the question at hand for the 2011-12 Purdue Boilermakers. It’s hard to imagine a

2011-12 Season Preview: Michigan

It’s time now to turn to the teams that figure to be in the thick of the conference title hunt. First up is a team that exhibited a split personality last season: Michigan. Michigan 10-11 Overall Record: 21-14 10-11 Conference Record: 9-9 10-11 Conference Efficiency Margin: -0.03 Percent of Returning Minutes: 82.5% Percent of Returning Freshman Minutes: 41.8% Over the last 15 games of last season, there wasn’t a game that Michigan was ever out of. Even when Duke opened up a 15-point lead on the Wolverines with about ten minutes to go in the second round of the NCAA

2011-12 Season Preview: Illinois

We continue to work our way up our projected standings, and today we’ve reached our pick for fifth place: the Illinois Fighting Illini. Bruce Weber’s squad may be the biggest wild card in this season’s Big Ten, as it is supremely talented but woefully inexperienced.  What’s a reasonable range of expectations for a team like this? Let’s find out. Illinois 10-11 Overall Record: 20-14 10-11 Conference Record: 9-9 10-11 Conference Efficiency Margin: 0.04 Percent of Returning Minutes: 41.6 Percent of Returning Freshman Minutes: 16.2 Picture a major conference college basketball team with plenty of tradition. Said squad enters a season

2011-12 Season Preview: Michigan State

Next up on our previews are the mighty Spartans, who endured a pretty substandard season last year (where “substandard” = still dancing. Must be nice.). Michigan State 10-11 Overall Record: 19-15 10-11 Conference Record: 9-9 10-11 Conference Efficiency Margin: -0.04 Percent of Returning Minutes: 50.9% Percent of Returning Freshman Minutes: 17.3% Looking back now, it seems simple.  With Raymar Morgan and Chris Allen gone, the Spartans lost two of their most efficient scorers.  While Derrick Nix was too raw to chew up minutes, Korie Lucious was too out-of-control (both on and off the court), and the Michigan State offense cratered.