Sunday, December 28, 2008

Big Ten Preview Part 1

Today, I will run down what I think will be the bottom four teams in the conference.

10. Indiana 5-7
We all knew that they were going to be bad, but I'm not sure we knew it would be like this. While it is common knowledge that they lost most of their team last year, including all 5 starters, most people don't realize that their freshman class was pretty typical for IU. Sure, they lost Devin Ebanks and Terrell Holloway, but they still had a very strong incoming class. They were led by Tom Pritchard who was a teammate of Delvon Roe and led their high school team to the Ohio State Championship game without him. They also got Devon Dumes via the JUCO route who was going to go to Ohio State before Ebanks and Holloway decomitted. These two guys have become the leaders of this young team.

Why they could beat MSU:
1) They could out hustle the Spartans. Coach Crean is a great motivator and he has them playing with 100% effort.
2) MSU could play down to the level of their opponents.

Why they won't beat MSU:
1) They are inexperienced, lack chemistry, and are just not physically mature.
2) They lost to Lipscomb and Northeastern at home

Projected record: 2-16

10. Northwestern 8-2
This may be Bill Carmody's final year at Northwestern after he has failed to live up to the high expectations he brought to Evanston 8 years ago. His best finish in the Big Ten has been tied for 5th in 2003 and even then he only went 8-8. His team has been off to a pretty good start this year although most of their wins have been against cupcakes. When facing teams in the top 50, they are 0-2 but have had impressive outings in each of these games on the road. During Carmody's tenure, Northwestern has had similar records as they do now and then go onto win 2 or 3 games the rest of the entire season. I don't see it being any different this year. I think they will split with Indiana and then also pick up an unexpected win somewhere in the regular season.

Why they could beat MSU:
1) They could catch us playing to the level of the competition
2) Bill Carmody needs some big wins this season

Why they won't beat MSU: Because they are Northwestern and we are Michigan State. Evan Eschmeyer isn't walking through that door anytime soon.

Projected Record: 2-16

9. Iowa - 10-3
Todd Lickliter has his team off to a solid start so far this season. This will be his second tour through the Big Ten after a miserable year last year. The Hawkeyes have played a pretty balanced schedule with some quality opponents like West Virginia, Boston College, Kansas State and Drake. The problem is that they only won one of these games. Their schedule will only get tougher as conference play begins and I don't see this year being much better than last.

Why they could beat MSU:
1) Good three point shooting. So far they are shooting over 40% from three lead by freshmen Anthony Tucker and Matt Gatens.
2) Over Officiating. They are shooting over 74% as a team from the free throw line.

Why they won't beat MSU:
1) Inexperience. The top two scorers, Tucker and Gatens, are both freshman and Cyrus Tate is not having the senior year that many expected. He is only averaging 7 points and 7 boards a game.

Predicted Record: 4- 14

8. Penn State 11-2
It doesn't feel right to move Penn State all the way up to 8, but I have one reason: Talor Battle. He has reached double figures in every game this year and is averaging 19 ppg. He also has 5.5 apg along with 5.6 rpg. That is amazing even despite their lack of quality opponents. Maybe Talor Battle can lead the Nittany Lions to the promise land. I doubt it.

Why they could beat MSU:
1) A strong individual performance from Talor Battle
2) They could catch us playing to the level of the competition
3) Because they somehow did it last year

Why they won't beat MSU:
1) Lack of athletes
2) Lack of experience

Projected Record: 6-10

Other Notes:
1) Anthony Crater is transferring out of Ohio State. Apparently he wasn't happy with his role as a back up point gaurd for the Buckeyes. "Noopy" is from Flint and attended Flint SouthWestern through his junior year, but then transferred to a high school in New Hampshire during his senior year. Many Spartan fans wanted him to wear the green and white, but somehow Ohio State landed him. Unfortunately for him, there's no room on this squad for a back up PG. Kalin Lucas is the now and Korie Lucious is the future. Maybe Crater will go to Mott Community College. They win national championships there.

2) Eric Devendorf has been reinstated. Apparently, if you spend 40 hours picking up trash, you get a free pass to punch a woman of your choice in the face. We are so glad that this guy stiffarmed MSU during his junior year by decommitting and eventually going to Syracuse. I could not have dealt with another high profile recruit that didn't live up to expectations. Especially some guy from Bay City.

3)Maurice Joseph is not tearing it up at Vermont. Although he just had his best game as a Catamount with 18 pts, he is averaging just 8.7 ppg. He has an assist-to-turnover ratio of 1:2.8. Yeah, that isn't written backwards. 1:2.8!!!! Interestingly enough, he isn't getting much more playing time than he did at MSU (23 min/game vs. 16). In the end, I think both he and MSU are better off apart. I can't deal with Raymar's turnovers as it is, let alone MoJo's. I do miss the Rec Specs though.

Big Ten Preview Part 2.


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