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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Detroit 54 3rd Qtr 6:43
Washington 69
Atlanta 41 2nd Qtr 1:46
Miami 31
Toronto 40 2nd Qtr 2:25
New York 43
Memphis 20 2nd Qtr 11:28
Minnesota 24
Brooklyn 7:30 PM
Dallas
Milwaukee 8:00 PM
Utah
San Antonio 8:00 PM
Phoenix
Buffalo 3 FINAL
Florida 5
Detroit 4 FINAL
Nashville 3
Carolina 5 FINAL
NY Islanders 3
New Jersey 2 FINAL
Columbus 0
Arizona 1 FINAL
Boston 4
Toronto 0 2nd Prd 5:45
Montreal 2
NY Rangers 0 1st Prd 12:07
Philadelphia 0
Minnesota 9:00 PM
Colorado
St. Louis 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Ottawa 9:00 PM
San Jose
Kennesaw St 75 FINAL
Lipscomb 94
Navy 57 FINAL
Loyola-Maryland 47
Bucknell 71 FINAL
American Univ 69
NC State 63 FINAL
Boston College 79
East Carolina 71 FINAL
UCF 66
Georgia Tech 63 FINAL
Clemson 70
Lehigh 55 FINAL
Colgate 61
Louisville 81 FINAL
Florida State 59
Missouri 44 FINAL
Georgia 68
Army 64 FINAL
Lafayette 74
Michigan 56 FINAL
Maryland 66
Georgetown 70 FINAL
St Johns 81
Rhode Island 59 FINAL
La Salle 56
Western Carolina 67 FINAL
Citadel 54
Nebraska Omaha 87 FINAL
IUPUI 80
Maine 56 FINAL
New Hampshire 65
Samford 80 FINAL
Va Military 69
Presbyterian 53 FINAL
Winthrop 80
Utah State 74 FINAL
Air Force 60
Vermont 73 FINAL
Albany 79
UMBC 69 FINAL
Binghamton 76
Indiana State 60 FINAL
Bradley 52
Butler 67 FINAL
DePaul 53
Illinois State 69 FINAL
Evansville 67
Wright State 46 FINAL
Ill-Chicago 61
Fla Gulf Coast 67 FINAL
Jacksonville 75
Ole Miss 63 FINAL
LSU 73
North Carolina 73 FINAL
Miami-Florida 64
Wagner 64 FINAL
Mount St Marys 74
TCU 60 FINAL
Oklahoma 67
Delaware 65 FINAL
Towson 60
Cincinnati 63 FINAL
Tulane 47
Dayton 59 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 55
Northern Iowa 60 FINAL
Wichita State 74
Drexel 80 FINAL
William & Mary 66
Oakland 63 FINAL
Green Bay 83
Villanova 78 FINAL
Xavier 66
Campbell 65 FINAL
Longwood 70
Sarah Lawrence 55 FINAL
NJIT 90
Middle Tennessee 95 FINAL
UAB 100
UNC-Asheville 95 FINAL
Liberty 77
Southern Utah 71 FINAL
North Dakota 65
Utah Valley U 44 FINAL
Chicago State 65
ULM 43 FINAL
Appalachian St 66
Bowling Green 62 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 57
Long Island 73 FINAL
Sacred Heart 84
West Virginia 66 FINAL
Baylor 78
Holy Cross 77 FINAL
Boston Univ 70
MD-Eastern Shore 69 FINAL
Delaware State 65
Wofford 62 FINAL
Furman 60
Montana State 73 FINAL
Idaho 80
Hofstra 73 FINAL
James Madison 82
Iowa State 69 FINAL
Kansas State 70
Arkansas 67 FINAL
Kentucky 84
Missouri State 51 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 65
Fordham 74 FINAL
Massachusetts 82
Nicholls 78 FINAL
McNeese State 83
East Tenn St 64 FINAL
Mercer 69
Coppin State 88 FINAL
Morgan State 77
San Diego 78 FINAL
Portland 66
Gardner-Webb 62 FINAL
Radford 72
St Francis-PA 70 FINAL
Robert Morris 71
Duquesne 75 FINAL
St Bonaventure 92
Creighton 66 FINAL
Seton Hall 67
Oklahoma State 62 FINAL
Texas Tech 63
Alabama 66 FINAL
Vanderbilt 73
Virginia Tech 57 FINAL
Virginia 69
Bethune-Cookman 49 FINAL
NC Central 72
St Francis-NY 51 FINAL
Bryant 61
Drake 57 FINAL
Southern Ill 63
High Point 93 FINAL
Char Southern 97
Central Conn St 66 FINAL
Fair-Dickinson 73
Eastern Mich 72 FINAL
Western Mich 80
Texas 64 FINAL
Kansas 69
Chattanooga 61 FINAL
UNC Greensboro 58
SE Louisiana 72 FINAL
Central Arkansas 74
South Dakota St 64 FINAL
South Dakota 80
Montana 77 FINAL
Eastern Wash 76
Georgia State 75 FINAL
Troy 64
Old Dominion 70 FINAL
North Texas 57
Arkansas State 60 FINAL
Texas State 70
Texas Southern 58 2nd Half 0:25
Alabama State 49
Tennessee St 62 FINAL
Belmont 88
Princeton 80 FINAL
Brown 62
Dartmouth 56 FINAL
Cornell 45
Tennessee 49 FINAL
Florida 66
Jacksonville St 55 FINAL
Morehead State 87
San Jose St 51 FINAL
Nevada 62
Florida A&M 65 FINAL
NC A&T 77
Iowa 81 FINAL
Penn State 77
Loyola Marymount 49 FINAL
Pepperdine 65
Miss State 68 FINAL
South Carolina 81
Savannah State 68 FINAL
SC State 57
Miss Valley St 49 FINAL
Jackson State 73
Alcorn State 63 FINAL
Southern U 71
Harvard 56 2nd Half 9:25
Columbia 48
George Washington 46 2nd Half 10:32
Davidson 55
Syracuse 36 2nd Half 11:34
Duke 51
Tenn Tech 53 2nd Half 5:50
Eastern Ky 56
UNC-Wilmington 27 2nd Half 13:25
Elon 47
Stony Brook 57 2nd Half 10:34
Hartford 35
Northwestern 40 2nd Half 10:47
Illinois 60
Western Ill 48 2nd Half 7:54
IUPU-Ft Wayne 68
Buffalo 50 2nd Half 11:28
Kent State 41
Incarnate Word 39 2nd Half 14:17
Lamar 52
Cal State Fullerton 37 2nd Half 11:55
Long Beach State 58
TX-San Antonio 58 2nd Half 6:25
Louisiana Tech 61
Fla Atlantic 51 2nd Half 7:46
Marshall 56
Richmond 52 2nd Half 7:42
Saint Josephs 46
George Mason 60 2nd Half 9:39
Saint Louis 41
Austin Peay 47 2nd Half 7:34
SE Missouri St 73
Ball State 47 2nd Half 8:34
Toledo 56
Penn 47 2nd Half 3:53
Yale 43
Milwaukee 63 2nd Half 9:45
Youngstown St 53
Stetson 53 2nd Half 7:24
North Florida 73
USC Upstate 60 2nd Half 6:51
Northern Ky 63
Grand Canyon 40 2nd Half 13:11
UMKC 38
Abilene Christian 20 2nd Half
New Orleans 38
Murray State 42 2nd Half 15:33
UT Martin 39
Hampton 40 2nd Half 17:53
Howard 36
Prairie View 34 2nd Half
Alabama A&M 43
Northeastern 25 1st Half 6:33
Coll of Charleston 20
Tulsa 16 1st Half 8:47
Memphis 18
Wyoming 21 1st Half 7:31
UNLV 16
Central Mich 15 1st Half 9:16
Northern Ill 19
Denver 18 1st Half 7:41
Oral Roberts 18
Charlotte 24 1st Half 7:00
Rice 18
Boise State 8 1st Half 6:58
San Diego St 17
St Marys-CA 6 1st Half 7:48
Santa Clara 16
Texas-El Paso 23 1st Half 5:42
Southern Miss 15
New Mexico St 0 Postponed
TX-Pan American 0
FIU 19 1st Half 8:22
Western Ky 18
Stephen F Austin 29 1st Half 9:47
Houston Baptist 16
Grambling St 7:30 PM
Ark-Pine Bluff
Ga Southern 0 1st Half 18:07
Louisiana 2
Auburn 0 1st Half 19:36
Texas A&M 0
Ark-Little Rock 8 1st Half 15:24
Texas-Arlington 6
Sam Houston St 7:30 PM
TX A&M-CC
Arizona 8:00 PM
Utah
Northern Ariz 8:00 PM
Northern Colorado
UC Davis 0 1st Half
Cal Poly 0
New Mexico 9:00 PM
Fresno State
BYU 9:00 PM
Gonzaga
Pacific 9:00 PM
San Francisco
Idaho State 9:00 PM
Weber State
Sacramento St 9:05 PM
Portland State
UC Riverside 9:30 PM
CS-Northridge
Washington 9:30 PM
USC
CS-Bakersfield 9:30 PM
Seattle
UC Irvine 10:59 PM
UC Santa Barbara
Michigan 60 FINAL
Illinois 72
Lipscomb 57 FINAL
Kennesaw St 75
North Florida 45 FINAL
Stetson 77
Samford 65 FINAL
Mercer 70
Liberty 64 FINAL
Campbell 57
North Texas 48 FINAL
Old Dominion 70
St Francis-NY 62 FINAL
Bryant 52
St Francis-PA 58 FINAL
Robert Morris 73
Long Island 71 FINAL
Sacred Heart 78
Sam Houston St 52 FINAL
TX A&M-CC 60
Kent State 59 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 66
ULM 61 FINAL
Appalachian St 80
Boston U 62 FINAL
Holy Cross 76
Nicholls 73 FINAL
McNeese State 68
Akron 80 FINAL
Buffalo 87
Ball State 50 FINAL
Western Mich 51
MD-Eastern Shore 68 FINAL
Delaware State 61
Northern Ill 52 FINAL
Eastern Michigan 60
Bowling Green 47 FINAL
Ohio U 67
Central Michigan 53 FINAL
Toledo 62
Coppin State 55 FINAL
Morgan State 73
Bethune-Cookman 50 FINAL
NC Central 33
Central Conn St 77 FINAL
Fairleigh Dickinson 56
Memphis 24 FINAL
(1) Connecticut 87
Georgia Tech 67 FINAL
Wake Forest 60
East Carolina 69 FINAL
Temple 79
Fairfield 72 FINAL
Manhattan 54
Niagara 53 FINAL
Iona 81
Marist 65 FINAL
Rider 56
Michigan State 61 FINAL
Purdue 56
Northern Ky 83 FINAL
USC Upstate 60
East Tenn St 42 FINAL
(18) Chattanooga 64
Furman 70 FINAL
Wofford 53
Longwood 58 FINAL
Charleston Southern 51
UNC-Asheville 87 FINAL
Coastal Carolina 53
Winthrop 60 FINAL
Presbyterian 53
Western Ill 75 FINAL
South Dakota 78
Detroit 78 FINAL
Valparaiso 57
Cleveland State 69 FINAL
Milwaukee 76
Georgia State 75 FINAL
Troy 88
Lafayette 41 FINAL
Army 57
Arkansas State 74 FINAL
Texas State 83
IUPUI 53 FINAL
South Dakota St 82
Tennessee St 70 FINAL
Belmont 53
Eastern Illinois 55 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 72
Jacksonville St 83 FINAL
Morehead St 78
Kansas State 47 FINAL
TCU 67
Cincinnati 56 FINAL
SMU 46
SE Louisiana 57 FINAL
Central Arkansas 73
Denver 40 FINAL
Nebraska Omaha 53
Tulane 52 FINAL
Tulsa 54
IUPU-Ft Wayne 56 FINAL
Oral Roberts 84
Air Force 50 FINAL
Utah State 84
San Diego State 58 FINAL
Boise State 62
Fresno State 60 FINAL
New Mexico 63
Florida A&M 42 FINAL
NC A&T 78
Gonzaga 73 FINAL
BYU 66
South Florida 99 FINAL
UCF 71
UCLA 61 FINAL
Washington 74
(3) Baylor 71 FINAL
Iowa State 76
Tenn Tech 84 FINAL
Eastern Kentucky 71
UMKC 42 FINAL
Grand Canyon 56
Seattle 61 FINAL
CS-Bakersfield 73
Texas Southern 64 FINAL
Alabama State 52
Santa Clara 71 FINAL
St Marys-CA 74
UNLV 68 FINAL
Wyoming 99
Savannah State 55 FINAL
SC State 52
Alcorn State 3:00 PM
Southern U
Miss Valley St 54 FINAL
Jackson State 58
Bucknell 55 FINAL
American Univ 65
Radford 63 FINAL
High Point 83
Eastern Washington 59 FINAL
Montana 69
Idaho 62 FINAL
Montana State 71
Weber State 56 FINAL
Idaho State 63
Green Bay 73 FINAL
Youngstown St 27
Oakland 54 FINAL
Illinois-Chicago 64
Austin Peay 72 FINAL
SE Missouri St 67
Wagner 65 FINAL
Mount St Marys 68
Portland 72 FINAL
San Diego 80
Nevada 72 FINAL
San Jose St 81
Stephen F Austin 69 FINAL
Houston Baptist 57
Incarnate Word 64 FINAL
Lamar 81
Abilene Christian 50 FINAL
New Orleans 71
Pepperdine 57 FINAL
Loyola Marymount 74
San Francisco 91 FINAL
Pacific 79
Prairie View 81 FINAL
Alabama A&M 71
Hampton 106 FINAL
Howard 57
Chicago State 53 FINAL
Utah Valley U 68
Cal Poly 75 FINAL
Cal-Irvine 84
UC Santa Barbara 57 FINAL
UC Davis 52
Marshall 73 FINAL
Florida Atlantic 83
Portland State 77 FINAL
Sacramento St 123
Western Ky 88 FINAL
FIU 47
UAB 62 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 57
Georgia Southern 35 FINAL
Louisiana 62
Grambling 59 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 45
Ark-Little Rock 48 FINAL
TX-Arlington 38
Cornell 33 FINAL
Dartmouth 54
Columbia 81 FINAL
Harvard 82
Brown 67 FINAL
(14) Princeton 79
USC 62 FINAL
Washington St 68
(24) California 55 FINAL
(7) Oregon State 73
Yale 22 2nd Half 10:30
Penn 47
Murray State 74 FINAL
UT Martin 87
Loyola-Maryland 44 2nd Half 5:28
Navy 52
Jacksonville 36 2nd Half 10:15
(21) Fla Gulf Coast 60
Long Beach St 51 2nd Half 7:20
Cal State Fullerton 42
Rice 51 2nd Half 7:17
Charlotte 65
Colgate 30 2nd Half
Lehigh 30
CS-Northridge 26 1st Half 7:50
UC-Riverside 28
Kansas 29 2nd Half
Oklahoma 25
Oklahoma St 17 1st Half 8:15
Texas Tech 11
TX-Pan American 8:00 PM
New Mexico St
North Dakota 8:00 PM
Southern Utah
Northern Colorado 9:00 PM
Northern Ariz
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