Big Ten men's basketball team-by-team preview

  • Article by: AMELIA RAYNO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 29, 2012 - 9:50 PM

DeShaun Thomas has been a one-man wrecking crew for Ohio State, but the Buckeyes have not beaten anyone of note in the nonconference season.

Photo: Mike Munden, Associated Press

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Star Tribune staff writer Amelia Rayno takes a look at every team in the Big Ten as conference play is slated to begin. Teams are listed in alphabetical order:

ILLINOIS

The Gophers aside, the Illini have been the Big Ten's biggest surprise of the early season, winning their first 12 games (including winning the Maui Invitational over Thanksgiving) and making it as high as No. 10 in the rankings before falling to then-No. 7 Missouri on Dec. 22. Behind Brandon Paul, the Illini have had impressive play from the backcourt, making a Big Ten-best 9.4 three-pointers per game. But as successful as the Illini have been in that regard, Missouri exposed them as somewhat one-dimensional, without the frontcourt strength to battle inside.

IOWA

With most of the Big Ten talk surrounding the six teams in the Associated Press poll, the Hawkeyes have been a bit overlooked, but Iowa's early successes shouldn't be ignored. The Hawkeyes have gone 12-2 in nonconference play, boasting an improved defense and plenty of depth. Devyn Marble has become the go-to guy and will try to lead Iowa to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2006.

INDIANA

The Hoosiers have fallen from their spot atop the national rankings after their loss to Butler, but there still is plenty to be in awe about with this balanced squad. Cody Zeller has been everything expected in his sophomore season, and the Hoosiers do just about everything right -- the highest-scoring team in the country, second in field-goal percentage, 12th in rebounding and outscoring opponents by more than 30 points per game.

MICHIGAN

This always was supposed to be a guard-driven team, and behind Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr. and freshman Nik Stauskas, the Wolverines are shooting 51 percent from the floor. But unlike in the recent past, this season's version isn't as reliant on outside shooting alone, with multiple weapons in its arsenal. Michigan has gotten a big lift inside from 6-10 freshman Mitch McGary.

MICHIGAN STATE

The Spartans still are ranked No. 19 nationally, a fact that seems to be undercut with pundits eager to talk about how Michigan State just hasn't been up to its traditional standards this season. Without graduated Draymond Green, the team has struggled some inside and still is searching for that leader to bind everything. But losses to Connecticut and Miami (Fla.) don't paint the full picture. The Spartans are battle-tested, and still have a strong core with Keith Appling, Branden Dawson, Derrick Nix and Adreian Payne.

MINNESOTA

The Gophers have been here before -- looking at the start of the Big Ten schedule fresh off a nonconference slate of successes. But something feels different this time. Maybe it's the fact that the team is healthy. Or that the team's defense is hugely improved. Or that it finally has found offensive balance. Whatever the reason, the Gophers have caught the nation's eye and head into the Big Ten season ranked No. 11 in the country, their highest ranking in the Tubby Smith era.

NEBRASKA

After the Cornhuskers lost five of their six top scorers from a team that struggled a year ago, expectations were not high. But new coach Tim Miles has been effective in getting this team to play, and the result has been some intrigue with a rebuilding team that has beaten Wake Forest and Southern California. Dylan Talley has been a leader and a legitimate scoring threat, but the biggest surprise has perhaps been inside, where Brandon Ubel and Andre Almeida have held their own.

NORTHWESTERN

The Wildcats suffered a big blow when they lost Drew Crawford for the season to a torn labrum earlier this month. The senior forward had been Northwestern's leading scorer at 13.5 points per game. Without him, the Wildcats have two players -- Reggie Hearn and Dave Sobolewski -- who are capable three-point shooters, but their inside play will need to improve.

OHIO STATE

The Buckeyes haven't disappointed early, but they haven't exactly wowed either. Ohio State lost to Kansas and Duke and had its aircraft carrier game with Marquette canceled, so its most impressive victory has been over Long Beach State. Deshaun Thomas has been great, but otherwise the Buckeyes are in need of another scoring threat. With Jared Sullinger gone, the team doesn't have a player taller than 6-8, so rebounding hasn't come easy and the Buckeyes can be bullied inside.

PENN STATE

The Nittany Lions would have struggled anyway, but since their senior point guard Tim Frazier suffered a season-ending Achilles tendon injury in November, Penn State is rebuilding. Sophomore D.J. Newbill and junior Jermaine Marshall have held the team together through the nonconference schedule, and freshman forward Donovon Jack shows promise. This season, however, figures to be another down one in State College.

PURDUE

At 6-6, the Boilermakers have had a rough start. Losing to Bucknell, Oregon State, Villanova, Xavier, Eastern Michigan and Notre Dame wouldn't be unthinkable, in a prism, with talent on each of those teams. But losing all of those games spells trouble for Purdue. The frontcourt has shown some pop, but with the backcourt doing most of the scoring, coach Matt Painter has opted to go small.

WISCONSIN

Four losses have dropped the Badgers out of the Top 25, and while they have talent, there is plenty to improve if the team wants to make waves in league play. With Josh Gasser injured, Wisconsin needs either George Marshall or Traevon Jackson to separate himself at point guard and look like a true floor general. While Jared Berggren and Ben Brust have played well, the team still is in search of a go-to scorer.

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Chicago 17 FINAL
Detroit 34
Philadelphia 3:30 PM
Dallas
Seattle 7:30 PM
San Francisco
Cleveland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Washington 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Tennessee 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
NY Giants 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Cincinnati 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Oakland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
New Orleans 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Carolina 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Arizona 11/30/14 3:05 PM
Atlanta
New England 11/30/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Denver 11/30/14 7:30 PM
Kansas City
Miami 12/1/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
Edmonton 7:00 PM
Nashville
ULM 54 FINAL
Robert Morris 71
Santa Clara 57 FINAL
Tennessee 64
Oklahoma 59 FINAL
Butler 46
Austin Peay 79 FINAL
Brown 58
Princeton 51 2nd Half 0:21
Texas-El Paso 60
Coastal Carolina 46 2nd Half 14:37
Chattanooga 48
Kansas 47 2nd Half 16:16
Rhode Island 33
Wisconsin 11 1st Half 12:08
Georgetown 17
FIU 14 1st Half 9:19
USC Upstate 18
Long Island 3:00 PM
Stony Brook
San Diego 3:30 PM
Xavier
Illinois 4:00 PM
Indiana State
Western Ky 5:00 PM
Saint Josephs
Cal State Fullerton 5:00 PM
Wright State
Michigan State 5:30 PM
Rider
UCLA 6:00 PM
North Carolina
Marquette 7:30 PM
Georgia Tech
Long Beach State 7:30 PM
Western Mich
Stephen F Austin 8:00 PM
Prairie View
UAB 8:30 PM
Florida
Rice 8:30 PM
Mercer
San Jose St 10:00 PM
Washington
Washington St 10:59 PM
UC Santa Barbara
Baylor 10:59 PM
Memphis
LSU 6:30 PM
Texas A&M
(6) TCU 6:30 PM
Texas
Northern Ill 11/28/14 10:00 AM
Western Mich
Nebraska 11/28/14 11:00 AM
Iowa
Western Ky 11/28/14 11:00 AM
(19) Marshall
UCF 11/28/14 11:00 AM
So Florida
Houston 11/28/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Akron 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Kent State
Ball State 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Bowling Green
Buffalo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Massachusetts
Toledo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Arkansas 11/28/14 1:30 PM
(17) Missouri
Navy 11/28/14 2:00 PM
South Alabama
(13) Arizona State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(12) Arizona
Stanford 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(9) UCLA
(21) Colorado State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
Virginia 11/28/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
East Carolina 11/28/14 7:30 PM
Tulsa
North Texas 11/29/14 11:00 AM
TX-San Antonio
Old Dominion 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Fla Atlantic
(16) Georgia Tech 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(8) Georgia
Kentucky 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(24) Louisville
So Carolina 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(23) Clemson
West Virginia 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Rice 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Louisiana Tech
Michigan 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(7) Ohio State
Purdue 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Indiana
Illinois 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Northwestern
Cincinnati 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Temple
NC State 11/29/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Syracuse 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Louisiana 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Troy
Utah 11/29/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Texas State 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Idaho 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Appalachian St
Wyoming 11/29/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico
New Mexico St 11/29/14 2:00 PM
Arkansas State
UAB 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(4) Miss State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Notre Dame 11/29/14 2:30 PM
USC
(10) Michigan State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Penn State
(22) Minnesota 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(14) Wisconsin
(5) Baylor 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Texas Tech
Florida 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
Rutgers 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Maryland
San Jose St 11/29/14 2:30 PM
San Diego St
Tennessee 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Kansas 11/29/14 3:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Connecticut 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Memphis
BYU 11/29/14 3:30 PM
California
ULM 11/29/14 5:00 PM
Ga Southern
Middle Tennessee 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Hawaii 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Fresno State
Wake Forest 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Duke
Pittsburgh 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Miami-Florida
(15) Auburn 11/29/14 6:45 PM
(2) Alabama
(3) Oregon 11/29/14 7:00 PM
Oregon State
Utah State 11/29/14 9:15 PM
(25) Boise State
Washington 11/29/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Nevada 11/29/14 9:30 PM
UNLV
UCF 12/4/14 6:30 PM
East Carolina
Hamilton 11/30/14 5:00 PM
Calgary
Hartford 43 FINAL
Furman 53
Clemson 77 FINAL
Ohio State 86
Idaho State 53 FINAL
San Diego State 68
East Carolina 58 FINAL
(22) Syracuse 69
Santa Clara 0 Cancelled
Texas-El Paso 0
Florida State 16 1st Half 9:37
Washington 15
Wichita State 3 1st Half 13:42
Fla Gulf Coast 10
Wisconsin 3:15 PM
(1) South Carolina
BYU 5:00 PM
BYU-Hawaii
Charlotte 5:00 PM
Montana
Illinois 5:00 PM
(9) Kentucky
Kansas State 0 Cancelled
LSU 0
Central Michigan 7:00 PM
Richmond
Oklahoma 7:15 PM
South Florida
Princeton 7:30 PM
Wake Forest
(19) Oregon State 8:00 PM
Butler
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pmX35-24
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pmX30-7
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. 3 p.m.X24-7
Sep 27 - at Michigan 2:30 pmX30-14
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern 11 amX24-17
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 amX39-38
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 amX28-24
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa 11 amX51-14
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State 11 amX31-24
Nov 22 - at Nebraska 11 amX28-24
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin 2:30 pm

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