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Big Ten Geeks: Should every team play in tourney?

We’ve already argued for and against divisions in Big Ten basketball. Today, we discuss whether every member of a 14-team Big Ten should be allowed to play in the Big Ten tournament. Josh: No. Tournaments are a lot of fun. There’s no atmosphere that’s better than a split crowd at a neutral site. And in the Big Ten Tournament, that happens numerous times over a four-day stretch. But for whatever reason, the Committee just can’t seem to recognize a conference tournament for what it is—a handful of conference games in a single-elimination format. The conference tournament should absolutely not trump

Big Ten Geeks: Should basketball use divisions?

With the Big Ten expanding to 14 teams, there is an open question as to whether basketball should go to divisions. Here’s our take on it. Josh: Now that the Big Ten is expanding to 14 teams, should basketball follow the lead of football and go with two divisions? Well, we can first look to a case study—the SEC. Up until this season, the SEC used a two-division format for basketball, splitting up the conference tournament by East and West. This season, the coaches voted to scrap that model, instead opting for seeding the teams based purely on conference record.

Big Ten Geeks: Who lives in the basement?

On our final point/counterpoint, we’ll deal with the question that all Big Ten fans care the most about: who will finish in last place? Point: Penn State Before Tim Frazier was lost for the season, the Nittany Lions had a relatively upbeat (I stress relatively) topic. Something along the lines of whether there was anyone on the current Penn State roster that would be part of the next Nittany Lion team that makes the NCAA Tournament team. Hey, you have to start somewhere. But then Frazier went down, and, well, Penn State’s season was basically lost—not that it was going

Big Ten Geeks: Is Illinois rebuilding?

Today’s point/counterpoint: whether those 9th and 10th place predictions for Illinois are on the money. Point: No. The notion seems ridiculous. We’re talking about a team with six consensus top-100 players on the roster—that’s more than Ohio State, Michigan, and Wisconsin. And all of those top-100 players are sophomores or older, which is the most upperclass top-100 players in the Big Ten. So yes, while this team was not very good last year, there’s plenty of talent on the roster. And what’s more, new coach John Groce figures to be a perfect fit for fixing what was wrong with this

Will Carmody ever take Northwestern to the Dance?

Today’s point/counterpoint is more like point/point. Sorry, Northwestern fans. Point: No. Look, this isn’t a big knock on Carmody. Taking Northwestern to the NCAA Tournament is something that no coach has ever done. And there really isn’t much of an argument against the idea that Bill Carmody is the best basketball coach in the school’s history. He plainly is. But for all that Carmody’s teams do well (offense, shooting), they are consistently plagued by the same defensive issues year after year. Every season, Northwestern is shredded in the interior: Big Ten Ranking: Season Opponent 2-Point Percentage Opponent Offensive Rebounding Percentage

Was it the system, or was it JaJuan?

On today’s point/counterpoint, we debate whether Purdue’s defensive branding is deserved, or just the result of having a very talented defensive player for four seasons. Point: It was JaJuan. Purdue has a reputation as a team that gets tough on defense. And at first glance, it’s a well-deserved reputation for the school, and by extension the coach, Matt Painter: Year Defensive Efficiency Conference Rank 2005-06 1.08 10th 2006-07 0.98 5th 2007-08 0.94 2nd 2008-09 0.96 3rd 2009-10 0.95 2nd 2010-11 1.00 1st 2011-12 1.09 9th For four seasons from 2007-2011, Purdue finished no worse than the 3rd-best defensive team in

Is Ohio State deep enough?

Next up in our point/counterpoint series is Ohio State, which comes off a Final Four appearance and has been atop the Big Ten standings for the past three seasons. Today we consider whether the Buckeyes have enough bodies to keep that up this season. Point: No. Let’s get this out of the way first—Thad Matta is the anti-Izzo in terms of depth. While the Michigan State coach typically wants 9 or 10 players in his rotation, Thad Matta has been prone to use as few as six. But when Matta employs a very short bench, he typically has at least

Big Ten Geeks: Is Indiana No. 1?

In today’s Point/Counterpoint, we tackle a question that has already gotten some play in basketball circles across the nation – has Indiana really gone from an 11-7 Big Ten team to the best squad in the nation? Point: Yes. And by “yes,” I don’t mean that Indiana is ranked by some assortment of polls as the #1 team in the country, but rather whether those polls would be right. And they are. Although, I think a caveat is in order, which is “as long as Nerlens Noel is not as good as Anthony Davis.” If he is (or Shabazz Muhammad,

Is Beilein still a great offensive coach?

It’s already been proclaimed that the preseason expectations for Michigan is this year’s Rorschach test. You can find out where we stand by reading our Big Ten chapter in this year’s College Basketball Prospectus. You can also read about things like “beware negative covariance come March” and about the Six Degrees of Big 12 Coaches. For now, a referendum on John Beilein in today’s Point/Counterpoint. Point: No. In my mind, this isn’t even the right question. The right question should be “Was Beilein ever a great offensive coach?” I know that sounds strange. This is, after all, the coach of

Can Wisconsin survive without Jordan Taylor?

For today’s point/counterpoint, we’re debating how Wisconsin can move on without Jordan Taylor. Point: Yes, and thrive. It goes without saying that Jordan Taylor was not only one of the best players in the country over the past couple of seasons, but he might well be the best Badger of all time. To put it mildly, those are big shoes to fill. But the smart money is on Wisconsin not missing a beat. From a raw numbers perspective, this is an easy argument to make. Consider: Wisconsin was good last year; The Badgers return 76 58 percent (poor Gasser) of last