Aaron Craft is a very good defensive player. Let’s get that out of the way. Whatever you think of the next few paragraphs, remember that we all agree that Craft’s defense would improve just about any collegiate basketball team. But the sophomore guard just earned some hardware that bestowed loftier praise than just being “very good.” Indeed, it is the opinion of Big Ten coaches that Craft is the conference’s best defensive player. At the risk of dismissing the opinions of 12 men who know a lot about basketball, I think they got this one wrong. Measuring defense is not
This week on “The Journey: Big Ten Basketball 2012,” we took a look at the special friendship between Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger and Michigan’s Trey Burke and went on campus with Penn State’s Tim Frazier and Illinois’ Brandon Paul. Also, we met Wisconsin’s Otto Puls, the Badgers’ team scorekeeper for four decades. Watch a clip from the show now and see a few bonus clips in this post. Find more on past episodes over here and follow the show on Twitter: @BTNJourney. Learn more about Jared Sullinger and Trey Burke’s friendship: Tour Burke’s bedroom: See Burke’s trophy collection:
Who’s the best player in the Big Ten? It’s a spirited debate. Many feel it’s Ohio State big man Jared Sullinger. Others think Michigan State’s Draymond Green is the top talent. But what about Penn State guard Tim Frazier? That’s right: A player off of a last-place Big Ten team. Before you dismiss the notion, watch Frazier play—and look at his numbers. Neither lies. Frazier is No. 2 in the conference in scoring (18.0 ppg), No. 1 in assists (6.4), No. 2 in steals (2.3) and No. 1 in minutes (36.6). Bottom line: Few players can match the 6-1, 170-pound
After a long break in which it moved into first place, Illinois saw its offense lay an egg in a losing effort at Penn State. It was clear that, despite the rousing win over Ohio State, this is still the same Illinois team we’ve watched all season. Let’s again roll out what we’ll have to start calling the Illini table: First 11 poss Middle 26 poss Final 20 poss Illinois 1.55 0.35 1.30 Penn State 0.82 1.00 0.95 We’ve seen this before, with Bruce Weber’s team coming out of the gates strong, following that up with some of the worst
How do you break a Big Ten losing streak? Last night, the unlikely answer was to take a trip to snowy Indiana. Wisconsin and Minnesota got their seasons back on track with impressive wins in the Hoosier state. First, the Badgers used a return to shooting form and a bit of good fortune to snap Purdue’s 26-game home winning streak. Wisconsin’s offense was unstoppable in the early going, as the Badgers went uptempo (by their standards) and often took the first available open shot. The strategy worked, as Wisconsin made five of their first six attempts from deep and opened
It’s early in the conference season, but not so early that teams don’t have something they need to work on. To get them in shape, let’s hand out some homework assignments. Illinois: Yes, this team can defend. Even when its opponent shoots 59 percent from two-point range (as Nebraska did on Saturday), the Illini will usually hold the other side to under a point per possession. But can they score? In conference play, Illinois has yet to score over a point per possession. A big part of that is the dropoff of the big man, Meyers Leonard: Two-point percentage
One week of Big Ten play in the books, 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. See Brent’s rankings in this post. 1. Michigan State (13-2, 2-0) – The Spartans haven’t lost since the season-opening defeats to North Carolina and Duke. All together, Michigan State
Tim Frazier stands all of 6-foot-1. So when the Penn State point guard elevates to swat an opposing big man, it’s kind of a big deal. The Nittany Lions’ do-it-all star emphatically blocked Cornell’s 6-foot-9 Deion Giddens’ layup in Wednesday night’s 74-67 home victory. The block was quite the highlight, no matter how many inches (8) Frazier was giving up. It was so good, in fact, BTN play-by-play man Eric Collins had this to say: “Blocked away by Frazier! How did he get up there?” Find out in this video now. AP: Penn State rallies past Cornell.
Five Big Ten men’s basketball players have been named candidates for the Bob Cousy Award, handed out annually to the nation’s top collegiate point guard. The list includes Michigan’s Trey Burke, Ohio State’s Aaron Craft, Penn State’s Tim Frazier, Purdue’s Lewis Jackson and Wisconsin’s Jordan Taylor. See the complete list of candidates here. Here’s a sampling of the award’s previous winners: Jameer Nelson (St. Joseph’s), Raymond Felton (North Carolina), Dee Brown (Illinois), Acie Law (Texas A & M), DJ Augustin (Texas), Ty Lawson (North Carolina), Greivis Vasquez (Maryland) and Kemba Walker (Connecticut).
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. Player of the week: Draymond Green, Michigan State – Green scored a career-high 34 points and added three assists and three steals in a big road