Big Ten Roundup: January 24th, 2011

Team W L Poss. Off Eff. Def. Eff. Eff. Margin
Purdue 6 1 64 1.19 1.01 0.18
Wisconsin 5 2 57 1.19 1.03 0.16
Ohio State 7 0 63 1.14 1.00 0.14
Illinois 4 3 63 1.14 1.06 0.08
Minnesota 4 3 61 1.09 1.08 0.01
Michigan State 4 3 64 1.05 1.06 -0.01
Penn State 3 4 60 1.09 1.11 -0.02
Northwestern 3 5 65 1.08 1.14 -0.06
Indiana 1 6 64 1.09 1.20 -0.11
Iowa 1 6 68 0.98 1.13 -0.15
Michigan 1 6 59 1.04 1.22 -0.18

Scatter plot now lives here.

Ohio State just keeps winning games but it is time to consider Purdue, and maybe Wisconsin, as legitimate title contenders. Purdue lost at Minnesota but the Boilermakers rebounded with a statement win over Michigan State and have blown out the remainder of their conference foes. Wisconsin exploded versus Northwestern on Sunday, scoring 78 points on just 50 possessions, and continues to post gaudy numbers on both ends.

Illinois is stuck between the first and second tier but we’ll lump them along with Minnesota, Michigan State, and, dare I say, Penn State. Michigan State’s offense is still bad, third worst in the conference, and Michigan State actually has a negative efficiency margin seven games into conference play. You could say Minnesota survived its treacherous schedule early on but the news that Al Nolen is out at least four weeks is deflating.

The bottom tier has separated itself clearly: Indiana, Iowa, and Michigan. Michigan fans will be upset to see that Michigan not only has the worst defense in conference play but also the worst efficiency margin. Scary times in Ann Arbor.

The real story with these numbers is the offense that has swept the league. Big Ten teams are scoring at an unprecedented (to my knowledge) and alarming rate. Here in our very own corn-fed league of toughness, grit, defense, and rebounding, we are seeing an offensive explosion.

Four teams are scoring over 1.11 points per possession, the same per possession average that the league’s best offense, Wisconsin, produced last season. 10 of the 11 Big Ten teams are averaging over a point per possession and no Big Ten team has managed to hold opponents under the point per trip threshold. In comparison, seven teams topped 1 point per possession last year, and just six managed it in the previous two years. Purdue and Wisconsin’s 1.19 points per possession almost have to regress over the second half of the schedule, but the numbers are still extremely impressive. This offensive explosion isn’t limited to just the top four offenses – three other teams average 1.09 points per possession, which would have been second best in last year’s Big Ten

Video: Trey Burke and Northland vs. SVSM

Capital City Preps put together these highlights from Northland’s victory over Akron St. Vincent St. Mary’s at the Scholastic Play-by-Play Classic in Columbus, Ohio. 19 points on 7 of 13 shooting with 8 assists, three blocks, and two steals in the Northland win. We’ll have our full recruiting roundup posted tomorrow. Burke wears #3 in white.

5 Key Plays: Minnesota at Michigan

1) Evan Smotrycz and Jordan Morgan in foul trouble early

Jordan Morgan and Evan Smotrycz have both developed the tendency to pick up ticky-tack fouls early on in games. It’s not just those two, all of Michigan’s bigs are picking up fouls at a high rate, 5.4 fouls are called on Jordan Morgan per 40 minutes, Smotrycz 4.8, McLimans 5.5, and Horford 7.5. Some of these fouls appear very minor but their consequences are not. The team that attacks the rim is rewarded and in this game that was Minnesota. Unfortunately, it appears the game-plan for most teams that play Michigan is to attack our bigs and get them in foul trouble. The default position for most Big Ten teams is to attack the rim and rebound, but teams know it is extremely easy to draw fouls in the post against the Wolverines. Smotrycz was pulled for his second foul after just six minutes and could have contributed to throwing off his shot for the rest of the game. Morgan was pulled for the remainder of the first half at around six minutes and was in foul trouble throughout the rest of the game. Out of everything, early foul trouble may be Michigan’s biggest problem right now — especially when limiting opposition free throws is a primary focus of the defense.

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Game 20: Minnesota at Michigan Recap

mbakwe-dunk

Different game, same story. This team’s inability to play defense in the Big Ten becomes more evident with every game. This time it was Minnesota that dismantled the Michigan defense with an overwhelming number of easy looks around the basket and offensive rebounds. Michigan appeared to have a chance to make the game interesting down the stretch but was unable to the two or three stops in a row necessary to have a chance.

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Video: John Beilein After Minnesota Loss

Video of John Beilein’s post-game press conference is below. Notes and quotes after the jump.

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Video: Morris, Novak and Douglass After Minnesota Loss

Post-game video of Darius Morris, Zack Novak and Stu Douglass talking about Michigan’s 69-64 loss to Minnesota at Crisler Arena.

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