Big Ten Roundup: January 10th, 2010


We are scrapping the Big Ten power rankings and changing the format of our weekly Big Ten post. The first section will be recapping the latest Big Ten efficiency margins for the week with some quick observations. The second section will be Joe handing out a couple of “awards” such as the biggest surprise, disappointment, unsung hero, etc. Hopefully this format will be a little more flavorful and interesting.

Tempo Free Efficiency Margins [1-10-2011]

Team W L PossPG Off. Eff. Def. Eff. Eff. Margin
Purdue 4 0 68 1.18 0.91 0.27
Illinois 3 0 66 1.23 1.02 0.21
Ohio State 3 0 65 1.15 1.02 0.13
Wisconsin 2 1 57 1.15 1.05 0.10
Michigan St. 2 1 63 1.05 1.01 0.04
Penn State 2 2 63 1.09 1.12 -0.03
Minnesota 1 3 62 1.03 1.09 -0.06
Northwestern 1 3 68 1.06 1.17 -0.11
Indiana 0 4 63 1.08 1.26 -0.18
Michigan 1 2 60 1.02 1.2 -0.18
Iowa 0 3 67 0.98 1.18 -0.20

Stats from

Through three to four games these numbers are still largely influenced by strength of schedule and a limited sample size. For example, Purdue has played Penn State, Northwestern, Michigan, and Iowa – teams that will likely make up the bottom half of the conference. On the other hand, they have dismantled ever team in their path and have the best defense in the conference by a significant margin. Speaking of defense, the Boilers are the only conference teamholding opponents under a point per possession, so much for the Big Ten being labeled as a defensive league.

Illinois and Ohio State are both 3-0 but it is the Illini offense that has been truly impressive, scoring 1.23 points per possession and shooting 64% on threes and 65% on twos. The Illini won’t continue to shoot this well but they have experienced talent that has been playing well. Ohio State’s tendency to let teams back into games near the end of the second half  has cost them a bit and places them further down the pecking order around Wisconsin.

Michigan State is the last team with a positive efficiency margin and they are followed by Minnesota and Northwestern teams that have played brutal early schedules. It’s all about survival mode for the Gophers and Wildcats as their schedules set up favorably for a strong finish.

Michigan checks in at 10th with the conference’s second worst offense and second worst defense. The Wolverines did pick up a win over Penn State but the losses to Purdue and Wisconsin were one sided after the dust settled. Things won’t get much easier with Ohio State next up. – Dylan Burkhardt


Surprise of the week: Penn State pulling off the upset against No. 18 Michigan State at home. Penn State has been a bit better than expected to start off the Big Ten season, and I’m sure Lions fans are happy with the way their team has played through the first four Big Ten games. A win at Indiana, a loss to Purdue who everyone loses to, a close loss at Michigan and a win against Michigan State at home? Not too shabby for a team that ended their non-conference slate with a home loss to Maine. One of the factors that made their win over Michigan State so surprising was that MSU essentially took Talor Battle out of the game and others stepped up — mainly Jeff Brooks, who had 17 points and 12 rebounds.

Disappointment of the week: You guessed it: Michigan State losing to unranked Penn State on the road. To be fair, it’s tough to play on the road anywhere in the Big Ten. However, if you’re Michigan State, you have to expect to win these games. The loss came after the Spartans barely escaped a nail-biter at Northwestern earlier in the week. State just doesn’t look like State right now. Durrell Summers recorded 21 points and was the only player who could get anything going — Draymond Green had five points and Kalin Lucas had an ineffective 14 and two assists. Izzo’s teams tend to get better as the season rolls on, and this year’s team certainly has a lot of room to improve.

Unsung hero of the week: Iowa freshman forward Melsahn Basabe had a heck of a performance against Ohio State: 7-13 from the field for 22 points, 13 rebounds and 6 blocks. This kid is pretty good. He got to the line consistently in Iowa’s near-upset of the Buckeyes and Ohio State’s bigs were unable to stop him. He was the main reason the Hawkeyes were able to hang around long enough to have a chance to tie the game on the final possession against a team that has looked unbeatable. Basabe highlighted Ohio State’s main weakness at this point in the season: interior defense. In that game, Jared Sullinger did not record a block.

Stat line of the week: Ryne Smith simply can’t miss. In this case we’ll feature two stat lines: 20 points on 5 of 5 (5-5 3pt) shooting and four rebounds versus Penn State and 18 points on 6 of 9 shooting with three rebounds and three assists versus Iowa. We’ve harped on Purdue’s need for a third scoring option but if Ryne Smith continues to shoot it like this then the Boilers might have found the answer.

Last Week’s Best Game: It has to be Kansas at Michigan. It may not have been much to look at (both teams shot well under 40% from the field), but it featured some great defense, the No. 3 team in the country, and overtime. Michigan looked dead in the water for much of the first half before going on a small run and ending the half down seven despite playing perhaps its worst offensive half all year. The Wolverines wouldn’t go away, and Darius Morris knocked down a really tough fadeaway jumper with less than a minute left in regulation to tie the game. Michigan took their first lead of the game in overtime but Kansas was just too much down the stretch and avoided the upset.

Game to Watch: Illinois at Wisconsin (Saturday 3pm, BTN). This will be a matchup of two of the Big Ten’s best teams at arguably the most hostile Big Ten arena. Illinois will have to continue to play very well to steal a game from Wisconsin at the Kohl Center, but it can be done. Wisconsin will be looking for payback for the loss the Illini handed them a couple weeks ago at Illinois thanks to 4 of 20 second half three point shooting. Illinois is as hot as any team in the conference and will have something to prove at the Kohl Center.

Joe Stapleton

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  • Wish that highlight dealie over on the right were more user-friendly. Would like to show that D Mo highlight reel to my wife and daughter, but I can’t seem to get back to it. It’s quite a little show. . . might even sway some of the doubters.

  • mgocanada

    If kansas was in the big ten, they would unquestionably vie for the league title with OSU. It was easy to say “Clemson sucks” after we had our way with them, but the team we took to the wire yesterday will be an NCAA one-seed come March. They’d win at the Kohl, they’d win in Champaign, and they’d win in the Breslin. Based on our defensive toughness yesterday (if not our shooting), I say we should be able to stay close with any of these teams (OSU excepted) — with the shooting issue addressed, and the same heart and determination shown yesterday, we ought to win a few shockers. The bigger question is if we can take care of business, not slacken against the weaker teams, and finish with the record we need to have a shot at The Postseason (only referring to one thing here).

    • gpsimms

      let’s not get carried away. wiscy beat duke at kohl last year, didn’t they? no team is so good that they would definitely beat wisconsin on the road.

    • bird

      If Kansas was in the Big 10, I think it would have no better than the #7 coach in the conference. It might be even lower: it’s hard to say what Iowa’s got in McCaffrey (I’m impressed so far) and I don’t even understand that freak in Evanston — but I like him. I’m going next Tuesday — gonna try to stubhub some seats behind NW’s bench.

      I wouldn’t trade Beilein for Self. I really wouldn’t. Ryan, Izzo, Smith, Matta, Painter, Weber, Crean — I don’t think any of their schools would swap them for Self. All those coaches beat No. Iowa last year, too. And then stupid Sparty isn’t in the final four…

      • Beast1530

        lol, what?

        Bill Self overall record: 424-148 with one National Championship. He took 3 different teams to a NCAA Elite 8 appearance(Tulsa, Illinois and Kansas).

        Let’s take a look at his records with 4 different teams:

        Oral Roberts:
        21-7 (NIT 1st round)

        23-10 (NCAA 2nd round)
        32-5 (NCAA Elite 8)

        27-8 (NCAA Elite 8)
        26-9 (NCAA Sweet 16)
        25-7 (NCAA 2nd round)

        24-9 (NCAA Elite 8)
        23-7 (NCAA 1st round)
        25-8 (NCAA 1st round)
        33-5 (NCAA Elite 8)
        37-3 (NCAA Champion)
        27-8 (NCAA Sweet 16)
        33-8 (NCAA 2nd round)

        His resume is far better than Bo Ryan, Bruce Weber, Tubby Smith, Matt Painter and Tom Crean. Only Tom Izzo’s resume rivals Bill Self. Bill Self is one of the top 5 coach in the country. He has maintained a high level of dominance with Kansas. He turned around Oral Roberts and took Tulsa into new heights.

        • bird





          • Beast1530

            You could’ve said that already. It could’ve save me and your time from typing a long response. To say that he’s #7 at best is hilarious.

          • bird

            Resumes don’t tell the whole story. Wins and championships are (too) important, but there’s another side to coaching that gets overlooked. It’s the side where you consider who you’d want having that much responsibility and influence over your son’s development not just as a player, but as a person. Those tats on the Morrises looked pricey. I change my mind, Self would be #12 (just after Matta), #13 next year. Plus, whatever, he won at Illinois with Kruger’s kids (yes, Weber won with Self’s), and if his good buddy Calipari could teach free throws, he’d still be on a championship schnide. He’s in that bad-for-college-basketball wing of personalities.

          • mgocanada

            Wait, WTF is happening here. I thought *I* sounded incoherent, bird, but you really take the cake. Anyway, I don’t like Bill Self anymore than you do: he is a smug little man and I think his dismissive attitude actually helped us sneak back into the game. But I was just saying that Kansas, as the #3 team in the country, is far better than the lion’s share of the Big Ten. I wasn’t talking about the coach, I was talking about his team, an undeniable bball powerhouse. And how encouraging it was that we hung with them.

          • bird

            Yes, it was a little non-sequitury of me to make my comment a reply to yours, mgocanada, because it really wasn’t — I was just playing off the “if kansas was in the big ten” thing and took it in another direction. I’ll stop!

          • Beast1530

            Bird, you’re basing on player’s tats? Ridiculous. Michigan athletes have tattoos. By definition, they’re trouble.

  • AG2

    Don’t forget that Durell Summers missed a ft that would have tied the game with a minute to go.

  • Brian W

    Coach Beilein just said on his radio show that Jordan Dumars will redshirt this year and then have three years of eligibility left.

    • Skinzkid

      I like it..

    • gpsimms

      it’s crazy how much people ask about a walk on who will probably never play.

  • bronxblue

    I used to think teams like Syracuse and Kansas just overlooked UM and that is why the games tended to be close, but after yesterday’s effort it is hard to ignore the fact that this team can compete with anyone. I still think the NIT is the ceiling for this year, but I could see them stealing a couple of wins from the Wiscy-MSU-Illinois-level teams this year.

  • JimC

    This is what makes the hoops season overall better than football season. You get an interesting matchup in the Big10 about 4 or 5 times every week. Even the two games tonight are fairly compelling: WI @ MSU (Go Badgers!) and IL @ PSU.

    Even though M is not at the top, it’s so great to have a team in the mix.

  • steve

    bill self is one of the top coaches in the country… but my god he doesn’t know how to handle the 1-3-1… it worked last year in lawrence and this year too… if we play them again i would mainly play that defense until they solve it…