Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Big Ten Preview

Since there's not much going on, here's a quick preview of the Big Ten basketball season.

11. Northwestern - Oof. This team never gets better, never steps forward. You'd think they'd at least be competitive at some point. Interesting fun fact is that even though they run the Princeton style offense, which requires good three-point shooting, and even though their whole team is basically little weiner white guys every year, they've only shot better than 33% once in the seven years since Carmody's been the coach. No wonder they suck every year. They'll still beat the Gophers though, since Minnesota has never been able to figure out that zone.

10. Michigan - What do you get when you have a crappy team and then lose your four best players? This team. Beilein is not going to have a very easy first year. He has three players of any significance back - Jerret Smith who was a decent all-around guard, Ekpe Udoh who is a physical freak, and Ron Coleman who was so boring I don't even remember who he is. They have an interesting freshman in Manny Harris, who might be the team's best player right off the bat.

9. Iowa - What do you get when you have a crappy team and then lose your two best players? A slightly better team than Michigan - maybe. Iowa has five guys back who played about 20 minutes a game last year, although none are very special - with the possible exception of guard Tony Freeman. If Freeman can play a little more under control, he could end up having a very good season. Iowa has a freshman in Jeff Peterson who they are really hoping can step in and play the point, allowing Freeman to play the 2 where his game is a more natural fit.

8. Penn State -The Nittany Lions have their top two players back in Geary Claxton and Jamelle Cornley, but then again, they are the top two players back from a team that was 2-14 in conference play last year. Surprisingly, they also have some decent newcomers with two redshirts, two new freshman (including four-star PF Jeff Brooks, why he is at PSU I have no idea), and two juco transfers who could all contribute. In case your curious, the Nittany part of the name comes from nearby Mount Nittany.

7. Minnesota - This actually feels too high, but those other four teams are just terrible. IF Dan Coleman can play defense and learn to score in the paint and IF Lawrence McKenzie can distribute rather than forcing shots and trying to showcase himself and IF Spencer Tollackson can stay out of foul trouble and refine his offensive game and IF Jonathan Williams comes up with some semblance of an offensive game at all and IF Blake Hoffarber can defend on the college level and IF Tubby Smith can outsmart every coach this team may be able to rise as high as 5th. But don't count on it.

6. Illinois Some other Big Ten previews I've seen have these guys higher, but I don't get it. They were going to have four good players back, except Jamar Smith is out for the year after getting drunk and crashing his car, and Brian Randle actually sucks. They are going to have Shaun Pruitt and Chester Frazier back as well, but Frazier is the kind of guard you don't even defend at the three-point line. It will basically be Pruitt and some decent recruits, including guard Demetri McCamey (very good) and MJ's son Jeffrey Jordan (not very good).

5. Purdue - Flippin' Purdue. Who knows how to rate a team that is going to count so much on freshman? More in depth preview herer, but basically they have a few decent players back, and one hell of a recruiting class, tops in the conference, coming in.

4. Wisconsin - It seems weird to put a team losing it's two top scorers (Alando Tucker & Kam Taylor) at number four, but it's typical Wisconsin. They will have a lot of experience back, their style of play will screw up a lot of teams, and the Big Ten is really, really, weak this year. Brian Butch is back after breaking his elbow, and I expect him to take a big leap forward this year with more of the scoring burden on him. With Butch and Bohannon, Flowers, Krabbenhoft, Landry, and Stiemsma all back and being joined by four-star freshmen Jon Leuer (dammit) and Keaton Nankivil, Wisconsin will be pesky good this year. They'll probably end up with 7 guys averaging the same amount of points per game and just annoy the crap out of you.

3. Ohio State - Yep, they lost a ton from last year's National Runner Up team, 73% of their scoring to be exact, but in a weak conference they still have enough to finish third. Jamar Butler, Othello Hunter, and David Lighty are all back. Any one of the three would be Minnesota's best player, but they were overshadowed by all the talent the Buckeyes had last year. Lighty was the 8th best SF recruit last season. Joining them is another stellar class, with three 4-stars and one 5-star player. The five star is big man Kosta Koufos, a seven-footer who can knock down the three or post up. I have a man-crush on this guy already.

2. Michigan State - It's basically a two team race this year, and the Spartans fall just short. Drew Neitzel is the leader of this team, a great scorer who won't have to worry about handling the ball much this season. Not only is fellow returning guard Travis Walton back to handle the pooint, but freshman Kalin Lucas was the #5 rated point guard recruit this season. More scoring punch comes from a super athletic trio in forwards Marquise Gray and Raymar Morgan and incoming freshman guard and 5-star recruit Durrell Summers. This team will likely beat the Gophers by 40.

1. Indiana - I love this team this year. D.J. White is a monster who managed to stay healthy last year and should take his game to another level this season. Two very solid guards in Armon Bassett and A.J. Ratliff are returning (Ratliff suspended for the early season, but will be back). Joining them is Eric Gordon, super freshman who could win Big Ten Player of the Year in his first (and only) season. And the incoming class isn't all Gordon, there are three 4-star players joining the Hoosiers as well.

G - Eric Gordon
G - Drew Neitzel (player of year)
F - David Lighty
F - DJ White
F - Shaun Pruitt

G - Eric Gordon
G - E'Twaun Moore
F - Durrell Summers
F - Manny Harris
C - Kosta Koufos

G - Lawrence McKenzie
G - Chester Frazier
G - Tony Freeman
F - Brian Randle
C - Goran Suton

G - Jason Bohannon
G - Geary Claxton
F - Marquise Gray
F - David Lighty
C - Othello Hunter


PJS said...

A lot of ifs there for the Gophers. It can't be worse than football season.

WWWWWW said...

...or can it?

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WWWWWW said...

What the hell is going on here? What's with all the spam comments? Am I going to be contacted by a lawyer for a deposed Nigerian prince next?