Tag Archives: Big Ten basketball

Does Thad Matta’s Departure Make Ohio State the Most Coveted Coaching Job?

To many, the announcement that Ohio State head basketball coach Thad Matta would not be returning seemed to strike an odd tone. After all, who parts ways with their coach in June, after the coaching carousel has, for the most part, wound grind to a halt. Clearly athletic director Gene Smith and Matta, agreeing to mutually split, aren’t interested in timelines.

So, as Matta focuses on his well-being, a gaping hole is now left at an Ohio State program that has just come off a lackluster 17-15 season and an early-round exit in the Big Ten Tournament at the hands of Rutgers. And while there’s a possibility that associate head coach (and former Tulane head coach) Dave Dickerson will take over for Matta on an interim basis, you can already see the rumor mill churning.

No sooner did the Matta departure become public than the pundits started dusting off their keyboards and start speculating on a replacement. Dickerson will likely be considered, as will fellow assistant Chris Jent (unless he decides to go back to the NBA, which is possible). Former Buckeye assistant Jeff Boals’ name has also made the rounds, though he only has one 18-14 year of head coaching experience with Stony Brook to his name.

Understandably, a wish list of absurd candidates has already made the rounds. Naturally, Oklahoma City Thunder coach Billy Donovan and Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens have already been sucked into the punditry vortex. But given both of their collective situations, it seems unlikely that either, particularly Stevens, would even think about heading back to the college ranks.

Donovan may have a stronger case to bail on Oklahoma City, but it may still be a hard sell for him. Chicago Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg’s name has also been kicked around as well.

And no, Mike Brown isn’t the answer, either, not matter who thinks it is.

The Buckeyes thought the search may be over before it really even began. ESPN’s Jeff Goodman reported that OSU offered the job to long-time Creighton head coach Greg McDermott after meeting with school officials on Wednesday night. However, McDermott has opted to stay in Nebraska.

With McDermott out, Ohio State may already be on Plan B in the works, as CBS’s Gary Parrish has reported that OSU is finalizing a deal with Chris Holtmann, the currently head coach at Butler, ironically Matta’s alma mater and former coaching stop.

With all the speculation about who will ultimately replace Matta permanently, there still is a question of whether or not the Ohio State job is the most coveted in the nation. Conventional wisdom would tell you that it is.

Part of what makes it a prime coaching job is, as real estate agents stress, location, location, location. Any Big Ten opening would garner a cornucopia of worthy candidates. And in OSU’s case, that thought is bolstered by a string of prior success in the conference, not to mention a pair of Final Four appearances in the last 10 years.

At the same time, the rebuilding process, especially after a down year, may also give some candidates pause. According the Verbal Commits, the Buckeyes only have 10 players coming back on scholarship. And in spite of the fact that Ohio State has recently produced NBA-caliber talent, most recently D’Angelo Russell of the Los Angeles Lakers, there has been a steady stream of players leaving the program.

Despite the recent downturn, which is magnified by the success of the football program, OSU can still hang its hat of years among the upper echelon of the college basketball ranks. And as has been proven in recent years, one huge recruiting class can make all the difference. Considering Ohio State’s ability to produce such a class, the prospects seem rather bright that the right coach can put the Buckeyes back on top.

And that is likely enough to convince a Holtmann, Hoiberg, Mick Cronin, Chris Mack or even Billy Donovan to take a good look at traveling to Columbus.

E-mail Bob at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @bobmcdonald.

Image via Wikipedia

 

Hoosiers Fall as Soon as They Rise

The Indiana Hoosiers were finally back on top.  They had beaten Kansas in their opener, and after a few years of mediocrity (relative to Indiana basketball history) Tom Crean finally had his boys headed in the right direction.

Even ESPN couldn’t ignore the hype, placing the Bloomington Basketball Boys at the very top spot of its latest power rankings (by the way, Indiana was in the 14 spot the week before).  That’s right, it was Indiana first, then Kentucky, Villanova (defending National Champs), Kansas, Duke, Louisville, North Carolina. That’s a big list of big programs.

You know what big time programs have in common? They don’t lose regular season games to mid-major opponents.

If you haven’t heard, the same week Indiana jumped 14 spots to number one on ESPN’s power rankings, they lost to the Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne Mastodons, more commonly known as IPFW, in overtime.

What a way to solidify your spot at the top, right?

Well, it was an away game for Indiana, which had to shift the odds just a little bit, right?

Please.

Indiana basketball is to Indiana what Kentucky basketball is to Kentucky, or what Ohio State football is to Ohio. If Kentucky were to travel to Newport to play Northern Kentucky, the stadium would be full of blue and white.  If Ohio State were to travel to Bowling Green, you would be hard pressed to find any orange and brown in the crowd.

It was no different for the Hoosiers last night in Fort Wayne’s Allen County War Memorial Coliseum.  Bloomington, the home of Indiana University, is around a three-hour drive from Ft Wayne, so fans from the far eastern part of the state that don’t generally get a chance to see their beloved Hoosiers gobbled tickets up. In fact, tickets to the game sold out in less than an hour.

How did this happen?

Indiana’s starting five included a former three-star recruit, three former four-stars, and a five-star.

IPFW’s starting five consisted of three guys that weren’t ranked as high school recruits, plus a two-star, and a three-star transfer.

That three-star transfer, Fort Wayne native Bryson Scott, shot 50 percent from the field while scoring 18 points and grabbing 12 rebounds (he’s 6’1”).  It was the first time Scott had ever amassed over 10 rebounds in a game.

As you can expect from a 71-68 game, the numbers in each statistical category were pretty similar.  Indiana had a slight edge in rebounds, free throw percentage, and field goal percentage.  The most lopsided categories fell IPFW’s way as the Mastodons accumulated 11 steals to Indiana’s four and seven blocks to the Hoosiers’ three.  Indiana finished with 15 turnovers, seven more than IPFW’s eight.

As far as Indiana and its fans are concerned, though, none of that matters.

Indiana has been revealed as a phony and we’re only a few weeks into the season.  With a non-conference schedule that includes North Carolina, Butler and Louisville, plus a tough Big Ten slate, you can probably expect quite a few losses from the Hoosiers, and don’t even think about a national title.

This is a knee-jerk reaction based on one bad result.

No it’s not.  This is an educated prediction based on NCAA history.  I’m not claiming the Hoosiers won’t win the Big Ten or make the tournament, but you’d be hard pressed to go back in history and find a team, ANY TEAM, that has lost to a mid-major opponent and proceeded to prove itself a championship contender.

That’s my challenge to you, actually. Find me a team that matches that description and tweet it to me @evanskilliter or email me at [email protected].  I’ll be happy to hear from you.

E-mail Evan at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @evanskilliter.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

There’s Nowhere To Go But Up For Rutgers Men’s Basketball

Rutgers basketball fans kept waiting to hit rock bottom.

In typical New Jersey fashion the university and it’s fans became impatient 10 years ago. Gary Waters had just led the Scarlet Knights to a 19-14 season, 7-9 in the Big East, when the Big East was still THE Big East. Kenpom had them as the 71st team in the nation– nothing to write home about, but respectable enough that there was light at the end of the tunnel.

Instead of keeping Gary Water on the banks Rutgers turned its program over to Fred Hill, a man who had built his reputation as a recruiter. Quincy Douby, the last Rutgers player to be drafted into the NBA was gone — Rutgers finished 207th.

2008 brought highly coveted local recruit Corey Chandler, it didn’t work out — the team finished 11-20 overall and 3-15 in the Big East. 2009 brought in another highly touted local recruit in Mike Rosario, along with a talented big body in Gregory Echenique.

The 2009 team had a ton of talent, but for as much talent as they had, they possessed even less discipline. Rutgers finished 11-20 overall and 2-16 in conference and 159th in the nation.

In 2010, Dane Miller and Jonathan Mitchell came on board. Mitchell, a junior who had sat out the previous season after transferring from Florida was a do it all forward/wing. Dane Miller fit the same role, a slasher who ran on pure athleticism at times. Rutgers finished 15-17 overall, 5-13 in the Big East.

That would be Fred Hill’s last season as Rutgers head coach. As he departed so did Mike Rosario (transferred to Florida) and Greg Echenique (transferred to Creighton).

After going in the recruiting direction with the Fred Hill hire Rutgers turned to a hard working X’s and O’s guy in Mike Rice for 2011. He took the remaining talent and mixed in two freshman — a New York City guard in Mike Poole (would end up redshirting) and big man Gilvydas Biruta.

The result was the Scarlet Knights best campaign since Gary Waters’ final season. Rutgers finished just 5-13 in the Big East but 15-17 overall, good for a final KenPom ranking of 78th.

There was hope on the banks, the 2011 team played hard and was fun to watch. Mike Rice got the most from a team led by seniors Jonathan Mitchell, Mike Coburn and James Beatty.

Adding to the fans optimism was a 2012 recruiting class that infused the program with talent. Guard Myles Mack, Eli Carter and Jerome Seagers were joined by wing Malick Kone and big man Kadeem Jack.

Mack and Carter were local Paterson products, Kadeem Jack was from Queens. The Scarlet Knights had not only brought in talent, they had landed local talent. The team finished 14-18 overall and 6-12 in the Big East. The final KenPom ranking of 120 was a step back, but it was to be expected with such a young team.

After the 2012 season sophomore Gilvydus Biruta decided to transfer to Rhode Island (where former Rutgers assistants were now employed). At the time there wasn’t much concern, in hindsight it was a sign of things to come.

For the 2013 season, Rutgers would add Wally Judge who was now eligible after transferring from Kansas State. It helped ease the blow of losing Biruta the previous offseason. The Scarlet Knights now had talent which had gained valuable experience the year prior.

Half way through the season things started to get ugly. They finished the season 5-13 in the Big East and 15-16 overall — one Big East Tournament win away from their first .500 season since Gary Waters roamed the sidelines.

Then everything imploded.

Rutgers needed to do damage control, they went with program legend Eddie Jordan.

Jordan returned home with a NBA pedigree as he had both played and coached in the league. Many viewed it as a way to move past unfortunate recent events, while reminding both fans and potential recruits of Rutgers illustrious past.

In 2014, Rutgers would be playing in the American Athletic Conference, a one-year stop mover before their new home in the Big Ten. While expectations were low following a flood of transfers after the firing of Mike Rice, the AAC set Rutgers up with a softer conference schedule than the Big East they once competed in.

The team would finish 12-21 overall, 5-13 in conference. At the time it was easy to overlook, the program had just been through a lot. Talent had been lost and pieces needed to be plugged in last minute.

In hindsight there was still plenty of talent left in the program. Myles Mack, Jerome Seagers and Kadeem Jack were now all juniors. Rutgers had committed a fatal flaw when they handed the program over to Eddie Jordan — he had no idea how to run it.

College isn’t the NBA, in the NBA players are often as talented as they think they are– in college that’s rarely the case.

More than anything college players need to be broken down, their game dissected and torn apart before being rebuilt into a superior finished product. While John Calipari at Kentucky often has NBA level talent, he’s great at doing this.

Now in the Big Ten, Rutgers would finish the 2015 season with an overall record of 10-22 and a conference record of 2-16. Overall KenPom would have them ranked as the 198th team in the nation.

A team with talented seniors in Myles Mack and Kadeem Jack was getting blown out in non-conference play by 27 to George Washington and 18 to Saint Peter’s.

In 2016, now with both Mack and Jack gone, the Scarlet Knights would bring in talented playmaking guard Corey Sanders. Sanders would be joined by Deshawn Freeman and Jonathan Laurent, Rutgers was once again young but somewhat talented.

Poor play and injuries defined the 2016 season.

Rutgers would go on a 17 game losing streak, double digit conference blowouts were more likely than wins. There was a 22-point loss to Wisconsin, followed by a 25-point loss to Maryland, followed by a 34-point loss to Nebraska, followed by a 26-point loss to Ohio State, followed by a 50-point loss to Purdue

…followed by a…you get the point.

Rutgers finished last season 7-25 overall and 1-17 in Big Ten play. Their lone Big Ten win coming in their final conference game — at home over Minnesota.

KenPom had the Scarlet Knights ranked as the 279th best team in the country come seasons end. Their offense ranked 303rd, their defense ranked 235th. Rutgers would be labeled by most national media reporters covering college basketball as “the worst Power 5 program in the country”.

ROCK BOTTOM.

Now Steve Pikiell takes over — the UConn product who was able to build his previous universities program from the ground up (Stony Brook).

Here’s to digging our way out of this hole together.

E-mail Zak at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @playorbplayd.

Photo Courtesy of sheilnaik, Flickr

Big Ten Chat Podcast – Episode 11: Scott Dochterman On Iowa!

In Episode 11 of the Big Ten Chat Podcast, the Cedar Rapids Gazette’s Scott Dochterman joins in to talk about the amazing times for Iowa men’s sports, currently basketball. As it stands, the basketball Hawkeyes are ranked No. 3 in the AP poll and an undefeated 7-0 in Big Ten play. The remaining schedule has some potential land mines to be sure, but with this kind of historical and generational success following so hot on the heels of the football program’s (and the baseball program’s for that matter), these are heady times for both fans and Iowa athletics. How far will they go this season? Sweet Sixteen? Final Four? The ride will be an exciting one for sure.

Subscribe to the Big Ten Chat on iTunes, Soundcloud, or at bigtenchat.com. Follow the show on Twitter at @bigtenchat.

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A Farewell to Spike Albrecht

He’s not going to go down as one of the greatest players in the history of University of Michigan basketball. He won’t be known as someone who changed the game or would’ve changed it at the next level. There was nothing about his game that made the pro scouts drool.

But the University of Michigan still laments the loss of point guard Spike Albrecht and really, so should the entire world of college basketball.

On Friday the 11th of November, Albrecht announced that he was ending his on the court career to allow for a nagging hip injury to finally heal. For a kid who was having trouble getting out of bed and out of his desk at class, the fact that it took him this long to finally succumb is pretty amazing.

Fans all over college basketball might not recognize his name immediately until you bring up the 2013 National Championship game against Louisville. With Player of the Year Trey Burke on the bench, the freshmen that would later be dubbed “The Baby Faced Assassin” would step in and start raining 3’s in a half like no other. Spike Albrecht literally made it a game almost by himself.

Pretty good for a kid who the University of Michigan security thought was a manager the first time he showed up.

I personally remember him as the guy who after injuries kept knocking players out last season would essentially play from start to finish in 2015, averaging 32 minutes a game. He never asked to be the star on or off the court, never wanted to be the focus of the offense. He was just the guy that did what was asked of him and what needed to be done. The entire time he was battling through the hip injury that inevitably cost him the rest of his collegiate career.

And that’s why the rest of college basketball should lament the retirement of Spike Albrecht.

He was the the guy that parents could point out to their sons and daughters who wanted to play but were never sure if they were good enough. Spike had one other scholarship offer from Appalachian State and that’s it. No one but he and John Beilein thought he was good enough. He went from the kid mistaken for a manager, to postseason hero, to two-time team captain and the MVP of the 2014-2015 team. He kept his head down, played like a team player and showed everyone what the little guy could do.

Spike Albrecht was one of the best stories sports can offer and the game will be worse off without him. At least if you’re going to retire, you might as well retire as one of the most beloved players in recent memory. Best of luck in whatever you do Spike and thanks for the memories.

Five-Star Target Diamond Stone Commits to Maryland

In the wake of a tough loss in the third round of the NCAA Tournament, the Maryland Terrapins got some fantastic news Friday night. The Terps landed one of their biggest recruits in program history.

Diamond Stone, a five-star, 250-pound center from Milwaukee, committed to playing basketball at the University of Maryland.

The highly-touted prospect out of Dominican High School was deciding between Maryland, Wisconsin, Oklahoma State, and Connecticut. Friday night, he announced his decision to play ball in College Park.

Earlier this week, freshman phenom point guard Melo Trimble announced his decision to remain a Terrapin for the 2015-16 season. With Stone’s announcement, the Terps are primed to have a stacked starting lineup next year. In addition to Stone and Trimble, Georgia Tech transfer Robert Carter, Jr. will be eligible to play as a Terp for the first time. The thought of Carter and Stone playing together in the Maryland frontcourt will undoubtedly frighten opponents throughout the Big Ten.

Not only did the Terps land a nationally-recruited, five-star athlete in Stone, Maryland may have finally acquired the superstar presence under the basket this team has been lacking for decades.

The 2014-15 college basketball season ended up being a surprising one for the Terps, as they finished the season with a 27-5 overall record while climbing as high as No. 8 in the AP Poll. After receiving a lower-than-expected seeding in the NCAA Tournament, Maryland was bounced in the round of 32 by the pesky Mountaineers of West Virginia and their game-long, full-court press.

Diamond Stone could very well be the missing piece the Terps have needed to push them over the hump and get this team to an elite level.

The future is bright for Maryland, and it just got a whole lot brighter with the addition of Diamond Stone.

2015 Maryland Terrapins, Like 2010 Terps, Earn No. 4 Seed

Greivis Vasquez, heavily defended, threw up of one of his patented, off-balance, seemingly erratic shot attempts from about eight feet. The ball gently kissed off the glass and fell through the net, giving the Terps a one-point lead with six seconds remaining in the game. The Terrapins had rallied against Michigan State in the second half, overcoming a 16-point deficit. As the floater off the fingertips of Vasquez gave the Terps the lead, Michigan State would need a miracle to steal the win back from Maryland’s grasp. With a Sweet Sixteen birth on the line, reserve guard Korie Lucious delivered the miracle Michigan State needed by draining a three as time expired.

As hard as that may have been for Terps fans to read, it was even harder to write. The four-seed Maryland Terrapins were ousted from the tournament in true March Madness fashion and have not been back to the dance since. This unfortunate tradition finally came to an end in 2015.

Yes, I am having difficulty balancing my satisfaction with seeing the Terps back in the Tourney with my dissatisfaction that they were inexplicably relegated to a four-seed (Oklahoma gets a three-seed with 10 losses?!?).  But immediately upon hearing the Terps announced as a four-seed I thought back to that 2010 team that had so much potential.

Much has changed since that 2010 team. The players have obviously changed, but so has the coaching staff. Legendary Maryland head coach Gary Williams left after the following season, giving way to current head coach Mark Turgeon. The Terps have not participated in the NCAA Tournament since that heartbreaking end to the 2010 season.

Equally as frustrating as the Terps’ exit from the Tourney in 2010 is the thought of what could have been. Had Lucious’ game-winning three rimmed out, Maryland would have faced Northern Iowa, the nine-seed, in the Sweet Sixteen. The UNI Panthers had miraculously upset the first-seeded Kansas Jayhawks in the second round. In the Elite Eight, Maryland would have drawn a beatable sixth-seeded Tennessee team who previously pulled off an upset of their own by taking down Ohio State, a two-seed. In the Final Four, the Terps’ opponent would have been the surprising Butler Bulldogs for a chance to face Duke (yes, Duke) in the National Championship game. Of course the Maryland-Duke Championship matchup contained quite a few hypothetical assumptions, but the lower-seeded teams had done most of the heavy lifting in the Terps’ region by taking out the one- and two-seeds.

While predicting March Madness outcomes is undeniably an annual impossibility, I thought it would be interesting to take a look back at the last Maryland team to make the Tournament and compare it to the team that is finally back this March after a five-year hiatus.

Regular Season

The 2010 Terrapin team finished the regular season with a 24-8 overall record and a 13-3 conference record. Significant outcomes included wins over No. 4 Duke and No. 18 Florida State, a loss to William & Mary at home before conference play began, and getting knocked out of the ACC Tournament in the first round by a mediocre Georgia Tech team. That Maryland team finished the season nationally ranked at No. 20, their highest ranking of the 2009-10 season.

The 2015 team finished the season with an impressive 27-6 overall record and a 14-4 conference record. The Terps have suffered some lopsided defeats this season, including getting beaten by 19, 24, and 16 points by Indiana, Ohio State, and Iowa, respectively. But nonconference wins against Arizona State, Iowa State, and Oklahoma State, as well as conference wins over Michigan State (twice), Indiana, and Wisconsin afforded the Terps a No. 8 ranking in the AP Poll to finish the season. Head coach Mark Turgeon led the team to its highest regular-season win total in school history.

Star Power

The 2010 Terps were led by their fearless, unpredictable, chest-pounding leader Greivis Vasquez. You never knew when Vasquez was going to toss up one of his spontaneous running floaters or jack up an NBA-range three, but the Terps unquestionably would not have achieved the level of success that season without him. Vasquez received national attention and put himself on the radar of NBA scouts en route to being named Player of the Year in the ACC. He also won the Bob Cousy Award as the top point guard in NCAA Division I basketball and was a Wooden Award finalist. He averaged 19.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, 6.3 assists, and 1.7 steals per game.

As great as Vasquez was for Maryland, I believe the 2015 team has the edge when it comes to its star players. Vasquez put the team on his back and carried them thorough the 2009-10 season and into March. There were other solid contributors on the team, namely Jordan Williams, Eric Hayes, Sean Mosley, and Landon Milbourne, but Vasquez was the lone true star.

The Terps will need freshman phenom Melo Trimble to hit threes and get to the foul line in March. Photo Courtesy AP Photo/Patrick Semansky.
The Terps will need freshman phenom Melo Trimble to hit threes and get to the foul line in March. Photo Courtesy AP Photo/Patrick Semansky.

Maryland currently has three stars with NBA potential. Junior Jake Layman is averaging 13 points and six rebounds per game. He was named to the watch list for the Karl Malone Award, presented to the best power forward in the nation. Senior Dez Wells is averaging 15.6 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per contest, and is one of the best basket attackers in Maryland hoops history. And what can be said of freshman phenom Melo Trimble that hasn’t already been said? The Terrapin point guard is averaging more than 16 points and three assists per game this season. Although he fell subject to a midseason dip in production (as well as going ice-cold in the second half against Michigan State in the Big Ten semi-finals), Trimble caught fire as the regular season winded down, and was named to the Bob Cousy Award watch list.

Big Men

Freshman Jordan Williams provided Maryland with a solid low-post presence on both ends of the court in 2010, but hadn’t yet developed into the double-double machine he would the following season. Williams did finish second in the conference in rebounds in 2010. Senior Landon Milbourne was also a solid contributor at power forward, but was more likely to step back and take a contested shot than back a defender down and go to the rim. He averaged 12.7 points and 4.9 rebounds that season.

If there is one glaring weakness of the 2015 Terrapins it is their lack of production under the basket. While Layman sees time at power forward, he is more of a small forward; a position that also allows him more opportunity to utilize one of his strengths, which is his range from beyond the arc. Sophomore Damonte Dodd and senior Jonathan Graham split time at center/power forward and average a combined 6.3 points and seven rebounds per game. Slovakian freshman Michal Cekovsky hasn’t accumulated much playing time this season, but the seven-footer made his presence felt in the Terps’ upset of then-No. 5 Wisconsin on February 24. He could (or at least in my opinion should) see more playing time at center during the Tournament.

Bench

Cliff Tucker and Adrian Bowie were the Terps’ main sources for a spark off the bench in 2010. While both occasionally started for Maryland, their primary roles were relegated to relieving Vasquez, Hayes, and Mosely when needed. Tucker averaged nearly six points per game while Bowie chipped in close to five.

The Terps currently have several players off the bench who can contribute significant and meaningful minutes. Senior Evan Smotrycz sees the most minutes off the Terrapin bench, but has also started. While a liability on the defensive end (and not much of a ball handler on the offensive end), Smotrycz’s strength lies in shooting threes. He’s averaging around four points and four rebounds per game. Freshman Jared Nickens has found a niche for himself in coming off the bench and hitting threes at important times in a game (averaging 6 PPG, and not just in garbage time). Senior transfer Richaud Pack has also proven he can hit a three when needed, and is averaging 6.1 points and 3.4 rebounds per game. Pack has earned himself a starting spot in several recent games, showing that Turgeon has faith in Pack’s capabilities. Freshman Dion Wiley has also seen meaningful time and is averaging 4.3 PPG.

There are some striking similarities between this team and the 2010 Terps, which I believe bodes well for this team overall, with stellar play from their guards at the top of the list. The main concern heading into March is that Maryland hasn’t shown all that much this year on the road, particularly against more formidable opponents. Drawing a four-seed in a Midwest region that includes Kansas, newly-crowned ACC champs Notre Dame, and that one undefeated team everyone will pick to cut down the nets on April 6, doesn’t necessarily support a favorable outcome for Maryland. But this Terrapin team has many strengths, and I believe they could hang with any team in the country if they limit mistakes, get the usual production out of the “Big Three” (Trimble, Wells, Layman), and get solid defensive production from their bigs (Graham, Dodd, and Cekovsky). The potential of this Terrapin team is apparent, and as Maryland fans know all too well, anything can happen in March.

One thing Terps fans don’t have to be concerned about this March: Korie Lucious graduated in 2013.

The Big Ten’s Unpredictable Basketball Season

As the month of January is moving closer to an end, the Big Ten’s 18-game conference schedule is now one-third complete and totally up for grabs. For some teams, it comes as a relief while others will look to extend their great records.

Overall, it’s been a great season so far for many of the conference’s teams. This week, the Big Ten grabbed the No. 1 spot in the RPI conference ratings with nine Big Ten schools in the RPI’s top-50 team rankings.

Additional national recognition has five schools in this week’s AP poll: No. 6 Ohio State, No. 9 Michigan State, No. 11 Indiana, No. 20 Michigan and No. 22 Illinois.

Not too shabby. Continue reading The Big Ten’s Unpredictable Basketball Season