Around the Big Ten: Postscript

Dylan Burkhardt
Big Ten Blogger Predicted vs. Actual Standings
Team Actual Blogger Predicted Diff.
Michigan St. 14-4 14-4 0
Purdue 14-4 14-4 0
Ohio State 14-4 13-5 +1
Wisconsin 12-5 10-8 +3
Illinois 10-8 11-7 -1
Minnesota 9-9 12-6 -3
Northwestern 7-11 9-9 -2
Michigan 7-11
Indiana 4-14 6-12 -2
Iowa 4-14 5-13 -1
Penn State 3-15 7-11 -4

Well this is the part where we see which bloggers are worth their weight. Before the season started I interviewed bloggers and writers from each school to participate in a preview interview that included a predicted record.

Optimism was rampart, considering that the overall predicted record for the 10 other conference schools was 101-79. The season didn’t go quite as well as expected for a number of teams in the conference. A league that was predicted to get as many as 7 or 8 tournament bids has turned into a 4 bid league — three of which go to co-champions Ohio State, Purdue, and Michigan State.

So now is the time to see who was on the right track and who wasn’t close.

KJ from The Only Colors (MSU) and the folks at Boiled Sports (Purdue) were right on point, both hitting their conference record perfectly. Bob Baptist (OSU) wasn’t quite as confident in the Buckeyes, going with 13-5, and imagine how that prediction would have changed if you told him Turner would miss a few Big Ten games.

Hoops Marinara (Wisconsin) fell for the same trap that non-Wisconsin fans fall for every year: underestimating the Badgers. Wisconsin finished 3 games ahead of Phil’s predicted 10-8 record. When will we learn?

Paint the Town Orange was just a little too confident in the Illini, giving them the one more win they probably needed to make the tournament. Minnesota has to be the home of the most disappointed blogger (well, ok, the second most disappointed Big Ten hoops blogger). Jonathan predicted a 12-6 record for the Gophers and they came in three wins short at 9-9.

As I predicted at the time, the bottom of the conference would be worse than originally predicted. I don’t think I could have seen a Talor Battle led Penn State team winning 3 conference games though so I can’t blame Eric from Battle Does It Again (PSU).

Perhaps the most ridiculous part of the interview was the question the interviewees nominated “most feared player”. Manny Harris recieved the most votes with 4 while Evan Turner notched 3. Lucas (2) and Moore (1) shared the final three votes. If you were to give this survey now I would fully expect Turner to win unanimously. There’s a reason that he looks to be a shoe-in to win National Player of the Year.

Then you have Michigan. I didn’t provide a prediction but I did say that I predicted Michigan to end up with a winning record. My basic arithmetic skills tell me that 7-11 isn’t quite a winning record. Michigan’s season was painfully disappointing on a number of levels and there will be plenty of time to discuss them, beginning with my postmortem thoughts on the debacle in East Lansing, but I had a couple respects to wrap up this feature and thought it’d be interesting.

  • Tweeter

    well besides PSU, Minny and UM, the predictions were pretty accurate. There always have to be some dissapointments, it just sucks when its your team. I am pretty optimistic about next year. I dont think they will be great but I think they should be good enough to get into the tournament.

  • Drew

    Sigh. That’s painful to look at.

  • Kevin

    Great article on Peedi. It all kind of fits in with his career. The quote from Beilein is great.

  • Trueblueintexas

    At least Beilein finally admitted that his players across the board are not tall enough or tough enough to beat the better teams. Too bad it took until the last game of the season to recognize this instead of when he was recruiting the last two years classes.

    Also, bad news on Morgan. Looks like the chance for a taller more rugged post presence last year is injury prone.

  • gpsimms

    true blue-

    beilein has brought in two clases so far. the first was 6-0, 6-5, and 7-1,

    the next was 6-4,6-5, 6-8,6-10

    next will be 6-5, 6-9, and possibly one more big. what else would you like?

    beilein did not just ‘admit’ we need more height, he’s been trying to bring some in since day 1.

  • Brian W

    gpsimms is right. I don’t think Beilein envisioned that the 7-1 big man he recruited in first year would be spending the first week of March in New Orleans on a mission trip instead of banging against Nix yesterday in the State game. Last summer, Beilein was counting on Cronin and Morgan to play this year and have McLimans redshirt. Morgan’s knee moved him into a redshirt year, and Cronin’s non-recovery from hip surgery jettisoned any hope of him playing. Adding Horford (6-8 and still growing), Piotrowski (7-1), or another big man the upcoming recruiting class will help.

  • fresh

    beilein obviously knows he cant play a 6’4″ 4 man consistently and win, especially when the 4 man cant provide any post moves and is only capable of shooting 3-5 threes a game …….he realizes what he needs in order to win, the man has been a successful head coach for 30 years…….it doesnt take a genius to realize that your tallest player needs to be bigger than 6’8″ and that you have to match size with size in games like today…….he knows michigan doesnt have enough man power and he knows that he needs more people capable of driving the lane, developing a mid range game and creating for themselves consistently……..we saw michigan state take out manny and deshawn and we know that nobody else is capable of doing anything to help at this point………whether beilein admits anything he knows and everybody else thats a michigan basketball fan and watches these games know what the issue is

  • fresh

    michigan just isnt consistent enough and versatile enough or have the players to consistently play at any level above mediocre

  • DaveR

    The first class was 6-0, 6-5 and 7-1 but the 7-1 guy was gimpy from the start – he was an unranked 7-1 guy for a reason. So he struck out on frontcourt recruiting in year 1. His second class was 6-3, 6-4, 6-8 and 6-10 but both bigs were unranked unrecruits. The 6-10 Mclimans wasn’t even good enough to play his first year. The only possibly decent frontcourt player from the first 2 classes is 6-8 Morgan and he’s unranked and unproven.

    So that’s two poor years of recruiting frontcourt talent.

    With that record and the loss of both experienced front court players, the frontcourt was priority number one in this year’s recruiting class. Yet Beilein has only picked up one finesse 6-8 frontcourt player in this class.

    So Beilein hasn’t recruited big men well and that was the primary reason this team had a crappy season. It may be partly bad luck but it’s also partly just subpar recruiting.

    Even Michigan’s 2011 class is starting to shape up as a lean year for the frontcourt – one commitment from a guard and one offer for a wing player.

    Maybe Beilein will be able to work some magic and put together a decent frontcourt next year – maybe Morgan, Mclimans and Smotrycz will all be major contributors and maybe he’ll add another talented frontcourt player this class or next.

    But right now it’s not looking extremely promising.

  • coachbsj

    Coach Beilein’s great conflict is to bury himself in his philosophy or to adjust that philosophy and build a team that can compete nationally. I don’t care if our 6’10” 7 footers can shoot a three. I care whether they take up space, rebound and are the defensive presence they need to be. He needs to abandon the mid major mindset that says we will have players for four years with time to develop them.

    I cringe when I hear him hold Wisconsin up as the program he hopes to build here. Yes they are a solid upper tier Big Ten team year in and year out and always will be as long as Bo Ryan is there. My question is simply how many Final Fours have they been to the past ten years? Compare that answer with MSU and maybe it’s not as much about developing players as it is recruiting impact players that can come in today and make a difference. Hey, Coach… You’re at MICHIGAN now. We have won a national championship, been to numerous final fours so you don’t have to settle. Tweak the finesse philosophy just a little and go get some tougher kids you mentioned yesterday. I hope it turns around. Darius will be a special player, Hardaway may bring the scoring and athleticism needed, Evan will certainly help in the post with his skill and touch but we still need muscle. Until that happens our aspirations may shift from Wisconsin to Butler.