Sunday, October 31, 2010

Big Ten Wrapup, 11/1/2010

 This is something new I'm kicking around doing instead of the old Weekend Reviews, which I've stopped doing anyway.  In this space each Monday I plan to run down the results of the Big Ten basketball games from the previous week as well as any interesting news, and also take a look at what's happening nationally on the hardwood.  We'll see how it goes.

This week's version will be pretty short since the Illinois Fighting Illini were the only team to open their exhibition slate, taking on Lewis University on Friday night.  They escaped with a win but it wasn't pretty.  The Illini trailed 29-20 at one point and were actually down 37-35 at half before going on an 11-0 run, holding Lewis scoreless for over five minutes, and ending up with the 75-65 victory.  Illinois used their depth (11 players played at least 12 minutes) and strong second half defense for the win, but struggled shooting from the perimeter (1-10 from three) and taking care of the ball (20 turnovers).  Both of those are going to be year-long struggles for Illinois, and I fully expect them to lose at least one game because they weren't able to hit from the outside.  Mark my words.

Of course, for Gopher fans he big news is the signing of Andre Hollins, who, like current Gopher freshman Austin Hollins (no relation) is a combo guard from Memphis.  Confusing.  Next year's version, the newly signed Andre, ranks #126 on the Rivals top 150, and is the #40 shooting guard and chose the Gophers over Stanford, Harvard, Ole Miss, and Auburn.  No, Harvard is not a misprint, as apparently this guy is a total genius, both off the court as well as on, which bodes well for a combo guard who may end up playing a lot of point.  In any case, another great get by Tubby, and after a bit of an off year this class looks to be back in the territory where he started with Hollins joining Joe Coleman, not only the #1 player in Minnesota but the #116 overall.  Would Hollins be in Minnesota if Chasson Randle didn't commit to Stanford?  I don't know, and it doesn't matter.  It's just Awesome.  Capitalized.

So that's pretty much it.  In other news the ESPN coach's poll was released late last week, and as expected the Big Ten is well represented.  Michigan State came in at #2, with Ohio State at #5, Purdue #8, Illinois #16, and Wisconsin #24.  If you go deeper into "others receiving votes", the Gophers show up as #29 and Northwestern received a single point which makes them team #51, and means over half the conference received votes.  It's going to be a hell of a year, and every game is going to be meaningful.  I can't wait.


The rest of the Big Ten teams open their exhibition schedules, including Minnesota, Michigan State, and Purdue on Tuesday, Indiana on Wednesday, Northwestern Thursday, Michigan Friday, Wisconsin Saturday, and Iowa, Ohio State, and Penn State on Sunday.   


Um, I don't know.  ESPN doesn't exactly report on exhibition games so the info is pretty sparse unless you go to each team/college's official website - something I'm willing to do for the Big Ten but can't exactly pull off for the entire nation.  I mean, no matter how smart I am (and the answer is very, very), I'm still just one man.  Much like Jonathan Moxon.

You can expect my Big Ten preview tomorrow, and then later in the week I'll do a more in depth Gopher preview detailing each player and sort of what I expect/hope for each.

I love college basketball.

And I also love Halloween, especially when it's Wonderbaby's first as a kid old enough to actually trick-or-treat, and it's even better when you do it with Dr. Acula and his kid because then it involves carrying around a 32 oz. travel mug full of White Russian.  Here is a picture for you of Wonderbaby and her haul as well as the whole W family.  I hope you enjoyed your Halloween as much as I did.  Best holiday ever.

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