President Obama will deliver the annual State of the Union Address tonight. That being the case, I thought I’d do something super-cheesy and address the state of each Big Ten men’s basketball team. See my take on all 12 teams in this post.
Saturday night brought a clash of the only two remaining conference unbeatens when Michigan traveled west to take on State in East Lansing. The Spartans were down their frontcourt, as Branden Dawson’s hand lost a bout with a table earlier in the week, and Adreian Payne was still a week or two away.
The Big Ten announced its latest weekly men’s basketball honors Monday morning, and a pair of Michigan players swept the awards. Star Nik Stauskas took Player of the Week and Derrick Walton Jr. claimed Freshman of the Week, this after the duo helped the Wolverines beat No. 10 Iowa and No. 3 Michigan State to stay perfect in Big Ten play.
Nik Stauskas and Michigan had plenty of reasons to celebrate following their rivalry win at No. 3 Michigan State on Saturday night. Not only did the decision hand Michigan State its first loss and give Michigan sole possession of first place, it marked the team’s third consecutive win over a top 10 team, with two of the wins coming on the road. So, how did Stauskas celebrate? By blowing a kiss to the Breslin Center crowd after the final buzzer.
The season is nearing the halfway point, and the Big Ten race is starting to crystalize. Michigan State, Michigan and Iowa look like prime contenders. Wisconsin, Ohio State and Minnesota are lurking. The other six schools? Well, let’s just say they have a lot of work to do.
We already knew Michigan’s Nik Stauskas was one of the top shooters in the Big Ten. This 3-point dagger last Saturday at Wisconsin was further proof of that.
The midseason John Wooden Award watch Top 25 list is out. This is a big deal, as the Wooden often is considered to be the premier national player of the year honor.
If Buckeyes fans aren’t feeling good today, we understand. That’s four losses in a row for Ohio State, which fell at Nebraska last night to a Cornhuskers’ squad that was 0-4 in the Big Ten. This is OSU’s longest losing skid since 2007-08.
Weekends like this one have me considering whether it’s just better to disregard the non-conference season entirely. Because despite the last three months, there was a lot of reverting to preseason expectations. In turn…
Nik Stauskas has hit a lot of big shots in his year-plus at Michigan. That said, he hasn’t hit many bigger than the clutch 3-pointer he nailed in the final minute Saturday at No. 3 Wisconsin. Up one point and with just under a minute left, Stauskas went between the legs and drained a trey to help Michigan tally its first win in Madison since 1999. Watch the pretty shot in this post.
If you’re on Twitter, you can vote in our ongoing series of Big Ten Twitter polls for our weekday TV show #BTNLive weekdays at 6 p.m. ET. On tonight’s #BTNLive show, our experts discuss this question: Who is the mid-season Big Ten Men’s Basketball MVP? Our candidates for this poll: Keith Appling (#BTNAppling), Sam Dekker (#BTNDekker), Roy Devyn Marble (#BTNMarble), Nik Stauskas (#BTNStauskas), or Aaron Craft (#BTNCraft).
OK, Big Ten Nation: If you could pick one player to take a last-second shot, who would it be? I polled seven Big Ten writers. And, here were their choices. Looks like the guy to pass to is … Michigan’s Nik Stauskas.
Michigan survived a tough test against Florida State, a team whom not many thought much of coming into the season. This was, after all, a bad team last year that was losing its best player in Michael Snaer. But sometimes, weird things happen. In the Seminoles’ case, the player wearing the #30 jersey is clearly someone pretending to be Ian Miller.
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Nik Stauskas promised it on Twitter. On Wednesday, he delivered the goods. The Michigan guard put on another remarkable shooting exhibition (watch earlier one) on his outdoor court and posted the proof on YouTube. Once again, the sharpshooter drained trey after trey despite bad weather conditions. This time, Stauskas traded the cold for rain.
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Take a look around the Big Ten, and you’ll see many of them: freshmen playing big roles for teams. In fact, it has become common for freshmen to come in and not just contribute but grab the starring role.
Entering Wednesday’s game, Michigan sharpshooter Nik Stauskas had made just 7 of his last 22 3-pointers (32 percent). That’s not a huge slump for many shooters across the country, but Stauskas drained 57 percent of his triples during the nonconference season.
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I’ll admit—I’ve never truly forgiven Minnesota for 2010. Back in those days, when the internet was over, it was my opinion that the Gophers should have been contending for a Big Ten championship. I wasn’t even close, as Minnesota finished the season at 9-9, and squeaked into the NCAA Tournament (the Gophers barely had enough time to check into their hotel before Xavier dispatched of them in the first round).
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Here’s something Big Ten hoops fans learned quickly this season: Michigan freshman Nik Stauskas can shoot. Like really well. Through his first 12 games, the sharpshooter is nailing 51 percent of his shots, including 56 percent from distance (34-of-61).