The Big Ten is loaded with talented basketball players, so it’s only natural that some guys to go unnoticed or receive less respect than they deserve. That’s why I compiled my 2012-13 All-Big Ten Underrated Team. Who made the list? Find out in this post. Did I forget anyone? If so, leave it in the comment box at the bottom of the post.
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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.
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Indiana reclaimed the top spot in the polls after it held off Michigan in Bloomington. The Hoosiers lit up the Wolverines’ defense to the tune of 1.17 points per possession, the highest mark allowed so far this season by John Beilein’s team. And the reality it that it could have been much worse, as careless turnovers were about the only thing that slowed down the IU offense.
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.
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Kansas big man Jeff Withey leads the nation in blocks, averaging 5.4 swats per game entering Saturday’s game at Ohio State. So, as you can imagine, not many players succeed in challenging the stud center near the rim. Unless your name is Lenzelle Smith Jr., apparently. The Ohio State junior went at Withey and hammered home a left-handed slam in the first half of Saturday afternoon’s loss. Watch the dunk here.
Ohio State’s Lenzelle Smith Jr. took a shot to the face in Saturday night’s Elite Eight win over Syracuse (AP recap), and the eye looks a lot worse than one that required only three stitches. See a picture of Smith’s swollen eye, courtesy of @OSUADAthComm, plus photos of the injury, in this post.
It’s certainly been an interesting start to the Big Ten season. Wisconsin looks vulnerable, Indiana looks much improved, and Minnesota is still fighting after losing its star. But what do that numbers say at the one-third mark?