People like lists.
Whether they agree with them or not, people still enjoy reading lists.
Basketball is the ultimate team sport. But, at the same time, it is one that can be taken over by a single player. There have been some incredible individual performances over the past couple of seasons in the Big Ten and this year should bring more of the same.
The 2012-2013 season seems to have the Big Ten as strong as it’s ever been. Three teams (Indiana, Ohio State and Michigan) are all ranked in the top five in preseason polls.
On those great teams obviously are some outstanding players. So here are my top ten players in the Big Ten conference for this upcoming season.
10. Brandon Paul (SG, Illinois)
Those unforgettable individual performances from last season I mentioned earlier in this column? Yeah, Brandon Paul had one of those when he lit up Ohio State for 43 points. The senior guard averaged 14.7 points per game last year and is as solid of an all-around player as you will find in the Big Ten. This will be Paul’s senior season for the Illini and knowing they have a player of his caliber on the floor, you can never count the Illini out of any game.
9. Keith Appling (PG, Michigan State)
With Draymond Green finally departing from East Lansing, the Spartans become Appling’s team. Appling averaged 11.4 points and 3.9 assists per game last year, and with Green gone and it being his team this year, there should be a jump in those stats this year. Head coach Tom Izzo will have his Spartans right in the thick of things again this year in the Big Ten and Appling will be his best player.
8. Christian Watford (F, Indiana)
Watford may have already had his moment in his college career when he hit the game-winning shot at the buzzer last year to knock off No. 1 and eventual national champion Kentucky. You learned a lot about Watford’s game with that shot, though. He’s absolutely fearless and he’s got a smoothness to his game that is fun to watch. He averaged 12.6 points and 5.8 rebounds per game a year ago while shooting 43.7% from deep. Watford will no doubt be a key component to Indiana’s national title run.
7. Tim Hardaway Jr. (SG, Michigan)
Hardaway Jr. had somewhat of a disappointing sophomore season after an outstanding freshman campaign. But, that doesn’t take away from his talent. He’s a sensational all-around player who averaged 14.6 points per game a year ago. If Michigan wants to be an elite team this year, it will need more production out of the junior guard.
6. Trevor Mbakwe (F, Minnesota)
I had a difficult time trying to figure out where to rank Mbakwe as he comes back from tearing his ACL and only playing in seven games last year. In those seven games, Mbakwe averaged 14 points, 9.1 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game. If he is fully recovered, he is easily a candidate to be an All-American. He can be a dominating force in the paint, but once again, the question is his health. Read More
With basketball season rapidly approaching and a lot of information to digest from around the conference, I thought it was high time we here from bloggers representing them. We kick off a series in roundtables with our first five today and we are doing our very best to round up the rest of the B1G for you! We hope you enjoy the feature and give us plenty of feedback!
We’re doing our best attempt at giving everyone a good picture of each team with a variety of questions. I want to take this opportunity to thank our first four panelist; Covering Purdue and a great video guy that you can catch here exclusively to tBBC at times, WCBI TV’s own Robby Donoho and his latest video ; covering Spartan Nation is one of the best in that state up north in Hondo Carpenter; taking care of the Hoosiers for us from Crimson Quarry is John M. featured blogger for them and very well respected in the state just west of us; getting us straight with Bucky Badger will be Andy from Mad Town Badgers a great blog for Wisconsin; and finally but certainly not least, my old writing partner here at tBBC and current Buckeye Empire member Joe Dexter.
Hondo S. Carpenter Sr.. Spartan Nation. Keith Appling (G) is a key player back for the Spartans. He is Tom Izzo’s “guy” on this team and with that comes a lot of minutes. Not a natural point, that is the only spot he could play at the next level and Izzo is committed to him playing there.
Adreian Payne (C) is a native of Ohio and if you are a Buckeye fan, you would think he is all world. Against the Buckeyes he lives up to the hype he had coming out of high school. Against every other team, he is a key role player.
Derrick Nix (C) is the best of the MSU big men. Not as athletic as Payne, he can bang with anyone and take the ball and the game to the rim.
Branden Dawson (F/G) is listed by MSU as a G, but he is a SF. He is the real deal. Arguably, Dawson is the best player on the team. He suffered a late season injury, but he will for sure be 100% by conference play. They say before that, but MSU in my opinion has a history of rushing players back too fast. He is too valuable with too much basketball ahead of him to rush it. He is a complete player. Read More
College basketball hasn’t been friendly to Indiana Hoosier fans over the last few seasons. When it comes to hoops in Bloomington, there is no room for head coaches to breathe.
So when Tom Crean takes to the bench for the 4th year as the head Hoosier man, Indiana fans might be hoping that the Michigan native is on a short leash.
But with the top recruit of 2011 now on campus, and a very impressive 2012 class on it’s way, it looks like Crean is here to stay– for better or worse.
This afternoon we continue our preparation for the upcoming B1G season by previewing the one of the nations most beloved basketball schools. Ladies and Gentleman, The Indiana Hoosiers.
Anyone enjoying this basketball season? Yes? Well good news! There’s another game this Sunday!
Just three games remain on Ohio State’s 2010-11 regular season schedule. The first of those will occur this weekend when Indiana comes to town, seeking to pay back the Buckeyes for the 85-67 thumping that the Scarlet & Gray laid on them back on New Year’s Eve. It seems like a long time ago now, and indeed it has been a bit of a long season for the Hoosiers. Their prior loss to Ohio State came in the middle of a six-game losing streak, and a Buckeye victory on Sunday would result in another winless stretch of six straight games. The only Big Ten wins on the season for Indiana have come against Michigan, Illinois, and Minnesota, and all were at home in Bloomington.
The win over Illinois led to one of the more memorable scenes in college basketball this season, as the students rushed the court in Assembly Hall and coach Tom Crean celebrated in the hall…where people were assembled, naturally…a short time later (you have to wait until about 1:00 before he is actually visible):
While it would be easy (and sure, kinda fun) to point and laugh, this was probably a nice scene for the Indiana faithful, and certainly Crean is building a good relationship with the fans that will be important to carry the program through the difficult years like this one into the more successful years that seem sure to come before long. One perspective on the program under Crean is that it is geared toward attracting top-level talent rather than mid-level talent, and while an immediate reaction may be that any program is trying to attract top-level talent, the point is that Crean’s approach is to implement a system that truly relies on getting certain players rather than staying competitive year after year with “interchangeable parts.” With that in mind, and considering the way Thad has developed our team over his time here, it will be interesting to see how Indiana progresses over the next few years. Read More