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This weekend featured a lot of games where the home team came out of the gate strong, though there were some second half scares as well. Indiana ran all over Minnesota in the first half on Saturday, opening up a 23-point lead after the first 20 minutes.
Greg Bartram-US PRESSWIRE
When talking most improved player, the Big Ten boasts plenty of candidates. There are proven guys who have taken their game to another level, such as Indiana’s Victor Oladipo, and there are previously unproven guys who have made the most of extra playing time, such as Ohio State’s Shannon Scott.
Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE
As we finish up non-conference play, we’re getting a better picture of where the teams stack up, and where they have holes to fill. No team is perfect, so everyone could stand to benefit from some gifts from Santa (or whoever). Here’s a rundown of what everyone needs.
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There are posterizing dunks, and then there is Victor Oladipo’s in-your-face slam from Saturday night. Oladipo, he of several highlight-reel dunks in his two-plus seasons (remember this one?), threw down perhaps the best poke of his career in the first half against Central Connecticut State. In transition, no one accounted for Oladipo, and he drove to the rim, where Terrell Allen went for the block. Needless to say, Allen didn’t get it.
Josh: It’s time to reflect on another season of Big Ten hoops. I think the rest of college basketball has finally taken notice of something that’s been true for the past 18 months or so–the Big Ten is the best conference in college basketball. Still, you look at the conference today, you see two great teams, 3 pretty darn good teams, a team good enough to make the Dance, and then mediocrity. Heck, even a couple of pretty bad teams. I mean, it’s hard to say the conference underachieved, but here goes–the conference underachieved. Sure, this is still the best action you’ll find, and it’s not close, but we’re still talking about a league that’s probably going to get 6 bids, with only a couple of standout teams. Does that sound much different than the past decade, when the Big Ten wasn’t measuring up to the likes of the ACC and the Big East?
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.
There were some rim-rattling slams on the hoop going to the right on your TV screen in Indiana’s victory over Michigan State on Wednesday. Draymond Green started it with a steal that he turned into a powerful And-1 in the first 20 minutes; in the second half, Victor Oladipo added a thunderous dunk, and Cody Zeller matched Green’s steal and slam. As they say, things come in threes. Which dunk was the best? Watch Zeller’s slam now and see the other two in this post. Then, cast your vote for the top dunk. Prediction: It’s going to be a close one.
Another night, another set of at-large hopes dashed. On Wednesday evening, Minnesota hoped to keep their NCAA Tournament hopes alive, at least for another few days, with a crucial home matchup against Michigan State. Things were looking up when the Gophers took a nine-point lead with just over 10 minutes remaining. Maybe Minnesota really would pull this off and get back onto the bubble.
The knock on Indiana this season was that while the Hoosiers are nearly unbeatable at home, they’re almost the opposite on the road. To wit, the home and away efficiencies are Stevenson-esque in conference play:
ESPN2 is running a contest on Facebook for the 2012 Dunk of the Year (you must like the page to vote), and Indiana’s Victor Oladipo and Michigan’s Tim Hardaway Jr. are both nominees. Oladipo is in the mix for his one-handed throwdown in Indiana’s upset of No. 1 Kentucky, while Hardaway is in there for his driving, one-handed flush at Indiana. Both dunks were terrific. Go to the page and cast your vote for the Big Ten. According to the page, the Dunk of the Year will be featured March 26 during Dunks of the Year on ESPN2.
Indiana’s Victor Oladipo has made himself a regular on our latest feature, “Did You See This?” Well, the Indiana sophomore was at again in Indiana’s upset of No. 2 Ohio State on Saturday night (AP recap), tallying back-to-back steals that led to a pair of easy baskets, including a powerful dunk of his own on the second poach. Watch the terrific 20 seconds of game action from the Indiana sophomore right here. Think he enjoyed hanging on the rim there? We sure think so.
Just as we did during 2010-2011 hoops season, we’re archiving Gus Johnson’s greatest calls this season. Johnson called the Big Ten Football Championship for Fox and is calling men’s basketball for BTN all winter long. We clip and post his best calls and archive them here during games, so bookmark the page and come back all season right up through the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament. Right now you can watch Johnson call Jordan Hulls’ lefty 3 to beat the shot clock last night at Indiana. Check out the rest of his Howard-Indiana calls in this post.
It’s another light week for college basketball with many students enduring finals, and the Big Ten is no different. Still, we got a few interesting games last night that are worth discussing, plus the quiet period provides us a nice chance to catch up on some individual player stats. Let’s jump right in.
On Tuesday night’s latest edition of the Big Ten Pulse, our crew kicked around some of their favorite buzzer-beating moments, this coming off Indiana’s dramatic last-second win over top-ranked Kentucky on Saturday at Assembly Hall. Watch now as Rick Pizzo, Derek Rackley and Tim Doyle discuss Indiana’s memorable win over Kentucky now and see our collection of several recent Big Ten buzzer-beaters in this post.
In case you were busy preparing for the Heisman Trophy presentation or doing who knows what, Indiana upset No. 1 Kentucky on Saturday. Yes, Indiana, the same team that combined for two wins over ranked opponents the past three-plus seasons, upset the nation’s top-ranked team. But, as the Hoosiers’ 9-0 start would indicate, this isn’t the same Indiana team. For starters, they have the highly touted Cody Zeller in the fold, along with the most talent they’ve had since Tom Crean came to town. Get reaction, tweets, photos and video from the upset in this post. Speaking of video, watch Christian Watford’s game-winning shot at the buzzer now.
It’s no secret that Indiana’s Victor Oladipo is a human highlight-reel, and the high-flying sophomore proved it again Saturday against No. 1 Kentucky. Oladipo, who always knows how to excite the crowd with impressive dunks, did it all by himself versus the defensive-minded Wildcats. From behind the arc, Oladipo drove the lane, blew by a couple defenders and threw down a powerful one-handed jam, posterizing Kentucky’s Darius Miller in the process. Watch the explosive dunk here. In a word, wow!
Indiana’s Victor Oladipo visits with our crew from The Big Ten Pulse on tonight’s TV show at 7:30 p.m. ET. And what better reason than to roll out this instant classic video of his incredible shot from last season. Listen to Gus Johnson call Oladipo’s buzzer beater at halftime in the game against North Carolina Central last year. Here are Oladipo’s season’s stats so far. And look a little further down in this post to see a nifty spin move by Oladipo more recently against Gardner Webb.
Nearly a month into the men’s hoops season, it’s clear the future of the Big Ten is in good hands. I say this because of the conference’s loaded sophomore class, one headlined by possible NBA departures Jared Sullinger and Tim Hardaway Jr.
The Big Ten announced its first weekly honors for the 2011-12 men’s hoops season Monday. Three players were honored, including a pair of Hoosiers. Sophomore Victor Oladipo took home Player of the Week honors after averaging 18.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 0.5 blocks in Indiana’s first two games, both easy wins. See all the honorees in this post.