Big Ten Roundup: February 14th, 2011

Team W L Poss. Off. Eff. Def. Eff. Eff. Margin
Wisconsin 9 3 57 1.18 1.03 0.15
Ohio State 11 1 63 1.15 1.01 0.14
Purdue 9 3 65 1.13 1.02 0.11
Illinois 6 6 64 1.08 1.02 0.06
Minnesota 6 7 62 1.05 1.06 -0.01
Penn State 6 7 58 1.07 1.08 -0.01
Michigan State 6 6 63 1.05 1.09 -0.04
Michigan 6 7 61 1.07 1.13 -0.06
Indiana 3 10 64 1.04 1.11 -0.07
Northwestern 4 9 63 1.05 1.15 -0.10
Iowa 3 10 65 0.98 1.10 -0.12

As our tempo free aerial illustrates this very clearly but three teams are playing significantly better basketball than the rest of the league: Wisconsin, Ohio State, and Purdue. These three teams are not only playing better defense than anyone else, they are scoring much more efficiently. Wisconsin’s home win over Ohio State has actually put the Badgers slightly ahead of Ohio State in this week’s efficiency numbers but there’s still a rematch in Columbus which could even that out.

The middle of the pack is hard to distinguish. The numbers say Illinois is playing better basketball than the rest of the Big Ten’s middle but you wouldn’t think so watching the Illini play. Bruce Weber has called out his senior leadership publicly and his team is 3-6 over its last nine games. With so many seniors on the roster, the question is whether Illinois can turn it around and starts spiraling downward. Everyone started to write Michigan State off a week ago but the Spartans are down but not out. A couple big wins and Michigan State is right back in the thick of things around the 4-5 spots.

Michigan’s numbers put the Wolverines closer to the basement (hint: allowing 20 point leads to collapse into 4 point wins doesn’t help) than the middle of the pack but the Wolverines are playing much better basketball lately. Michigan has scored 1.11 points per trip and allowed 1.04 over its last 372 trips possessions in the last six games — far improved from the handful of deflating setbacks early on. Things won’t be easy down the stretch as the Wolverines still have three more road games left on the docket. – Dylan Burkhardt

wisconsin-leuer-620[1]

Surprise of the week: Iowa giving Wisconsin all they could handle in Iowa City on Wednesday, pushing the Badgers to overtime before falling 62-59. Iowa has actually been very good at home recently, blowing out Michigan State two weeks ago and beating a tough Indiana team as well. The Hawkeyes actually seemed to be in control much of the game and took a 23-18 lead into the locker room at halftime. But Wisconsin is Wisconsin for a reason, and Jon Leuer, who had 19 points and 15 rebounds, and company made sure the Badgers escaped with a victory. – Joe Stapleton

Disappointment of the week: Iowa getting blown out at home by Minnesota just four days later. The question going in was would Iowa ride the momentum of playing the No. 13 team in the country so close the game before, or was that game simply a gut-punch that would deflate the Hawkeyes. The answer was the latter. Michigan can relate a bit: after losing a close one at Crisler to Ohio State, Michigan then went on to play two of its worst games of the season at Indiana and Northwestern. Iowa reacted to the tough loss in similar fashion against Minnesota. The Hawkeyes were dominated on the glass and shot just 21 percent from 3 in the loss. – Joe Stapleton

Unsung hero: Trevor Mbakwe from Minnesota in the Gophers’ tough loss to Illinois. While Minnesota lost a great opportunity for a very good Big Ten win, Mbakwe was very effective in the loss, tallying 17 points and 16 rebounds. In the gophers’ two previous games, Mbakwe scored just seven and eight points against Indiana and Ohio State, respectively, so it was good to see him get back on track. The performance appeared to get Mbakwe back on track as he notched 24 points and five rebounds in Minnesota’s win at Iowa. – Joe Stapleton

Stat line: Jordan Taylor, Wisconsin. Against Ohio State the guard was terrific, racking up 27 points on 13 shots as well as seven assists. 21 of those 27 came in the second half and Taylor solidified himself as one of the most clutch players in the Big Ten. When his team needed him, he stepped up big. Taylor scored eight straight points late in the second half, including a pair of back-to-back 3-pointers. Can you name a Big Ten guard you’d rather have on your roster than Jordan Taylor? – Joe Stapleton

Game of the week: Wisconsin beating No. 1-ranked Ohio State on Saturday. True Big Ten fans understand that this wasn’t really an upset, but it was a great game nonetheless. The game was close throughout and Wisconsin needed a major second-half run to beat the previously undefeated Buckeyes. The Badgers went on a 15-0 run in the second half and pretty much rode Jordan Taylor to victory. What a year for Wisconsin athletics — not only did they unseat the previously top-ranked Ohio State basketball team; they did the same thing in football. Fans stormed the court after the victory just as they did at Camp Randall a few months ago. – Joe Stapleton

Game of next week: Wisconsin at Purdue on Wednesday. A battle between teams ranked No. 10 and No. 11, respectively as well as two of the top teams in the conference. Purdue will be looking for revenge after dropping the game in Madison on Feb. 1, and Wisconsin will still be riding the momentum of their huge win over Ohio State. The last meeting was a dogfight, with Wisconsin needing 24 points from Jon Leuer and some big plays in the final minute to hold of the Boilermakers. Considering Ohio State has to play Wisconsin again and travel to Purdue, the winner of this game might hold onto a (small) shot at a share of the Big Ten title. – Joe Stapleton

  • http://Umhoops.com KAB

    Yea it won’t be easy with three road games.Not to mention are two home games are against Wiscy and MSU..We have improved though!

  • AG2

    Well, at least someone pwns OSU.

  • MikeSal

    It’s a great time to be a UM basketball fan so much hope is in the air I love it!

  • gpsimms

    if there was like some sort of win prob aerial thing, i think we’d look a lot better. both of our last two games turned into wins that didn’t really impress in terms of efficiency margin…but i think most will agree we’re playing some pretty good ball right now.

  • Mattski

    Those stats: good corrective for my irrational exuberance.

  • AG2

    ESPN says one of their features this week is the refs for OSU/MSU tomorrow night will be mic’ed up. Does that sound like a good idea guys?

    • Dylan Burkhardt

      Better believe Hightower will be doing that game. National TV and mic’d up refs?!?!?!? He’ll be in heaven. Expect multiple replay reviews where the camera has to focus on him. :-)

    • Tweeter

      this is the worst idea i have ever heard and frankly I am very disappointed in the NCAA for allowing such a thing. Question: Do you know how to tell if you have a good referee for a game? Answer: You don’t even notice that they are there.

      Doing this just makes a spectacle and offers nothing to the viewer unless the refs are really bad. Then you can hear why they made such a bad call, but if they are doing their job, you shouldnt need to hear a thing from them.

    • AG2

      I wonder how many times the mics will pick up Izzo and Thad Matta crying.

    • SteinerBlue

      The only good thing that could possibly come of this would be Izzo and Matta scaling back their whining so the audience can’t hear how pathetic they sound. :)

  • mgocanada

    Sullinger is saying a Wiscy fan spat in his face at the Kohl, and I’m inclined to believe him (he’s a good guy, while Wisconsin fans are categorically the worst). Sure I dislike OSU as much as the next guy, but seriously I hope we pound those badgers in Crisler, even more than I want to sweep State.

    • georgeesq.

      That would be the equivalent of a kiss on the cheek in Columbus.

  • wayman britt

    I know this is out of context and was discuss earlier on the recruiting post, but I hope Beilein does not use a scholarship on Max Bielfeldt. All I hear everybody say about him is he is not athletic and slow. We don’t need more of these type of players. I would rather have a 6’5 athletic player, than a tall slow one.

    • http://www.offtackleempire.com GregGoBlue

      Prayers: answered.

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