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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Cincinnati 34
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South Alabama 27
BYU 30 FINAL
Boise State 55
(6) Oregon 59 FINAL
California 41
North Texas 21 FINAL
Rice 41
UAB 17 FINAL
Arkansas 45
Rutgers 24 FINAL
(16) Nebraska 42
Maryland 7 FINAL
Wisconsin 52
Texas 0 FINAL
(11) Kansas State 23
Minnesota 24 FINAL
Illinois 28
Memphis 48 FINAL
SMU 10
North Carolina 28 FINAL
Virginia 27
San Jose St 31 FINAL
Navy 41
Northern Ill 28 FINAL
Eastern Mich 17
(25) UCLA 40 FINAL
Colorado 37
Akron 21 FINAL
Ball State 35
Massachusetts 35 FINAL
Toledo 42
Ohio U 21 FINAL
Western Mich 42
Ga Southern 69 FINAL
Georgia State 31
Kent State 3 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 10
Oregon State 7 4th Qtr 7:51
Stanford 38
Fla Atlantic 16 4th Qtr 11:13
(23) Marshall 28
Louisiana Tech 24 4th Qtr 7:01
Southern Miss 13
(1) Miss State 31 3rd Qtr 1:39
Kentucky 24
Georgia Tech 42 4th Qtr 11:22
Pittsburgh 21
(22) West Virginia 20 4th Qtr 8:53
Oklahoma State 10
Texas Tech 20 3rd Qtr 9:41
(10) TCU 54
Michigan 3 4th Qtr 12:18
(8) Michigan State 28
Boston College 23 4th Qtr 3:36
Wake Forest 17
Central Mich 20 4th Qtr 3:04
Buffalo 14
Vanderbilt 7 3rd Qtr 2:27
Missouri 17
Old Dominion 44 3rd Qtr 7:00
Western Ky 49
UNLV 13 3rd Qtr 5:53
Utah State 27
Temple 14 2nd Qtr 6:19
UCF 24
(15) Arizona 7 1st Qtr 10:50
Washington St 0
Texas-El Paso 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10:59 PM
Hawaii
(2) Florida State 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Louisville
Troy 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Cincinnati 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Tulane
Tulsa 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Memphis
Purdue 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
(17) Oklahoma 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa State
Oklahoma State 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
(10) TCU 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(22) West Virginia
Texas 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Texas Tech
Northwestern 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa
Maryland 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Penn State
Air Force 11/1/14 10:30 AM
Army
ULM 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Texas A&M
Duke 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Wisconsin 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
Rice 11/1/14 11:00 AM
FIU
(18) East Carolina 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Temple
UCF 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Connecticut
Boston College 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
North Carolina 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Miami-Florida
Washington 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Central Mich 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Western Mich 11/1/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Western Ky 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
NC State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Syracuse
Texas State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico St
Virginia 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech
BYU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Middle Tennessee
Indiana 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(9) Georgia
Georgia State 11/1/14 2:30 PM
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Kentucky 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Kansas 11/1/14 3:00 PM
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(20) USC 11/1/14 3:30 PM
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UNLV
UAB 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
(5) Auburn 11/1/14 6:00 PM
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(1) Miss State
Old Dominion 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Colorado State 11/1/14 6:00 PM
San Jose St
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So Carolina
Southern Miss 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
(7) Notre Dame 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Navy
Illinois 11/1/14 7:00 PM
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(15) Arizona 11/1/14 9:30 PM
(25) UCLA
California 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
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Nevada
Wyoming 11/1/14 9:45 PM
Fresno State
(19) Utah 11/1/14 10:00 PM
(14) Arizona State
Utah State 11/1/14 10:00 PM
Hawaii
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Seattle 2
D.C. 1 FINAL
Montreal 1
Toronto FC 6:30 PM
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Portland 7:30 PM
FC Dallas
Colorado 9:00 PM
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Montreal 23 FINAL
Ottawa 17
Saskatchewan 27 FINAL
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Hamilton 21 14:30
Toronto 15
Brt Columbia 6:00 PM
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Edmonton
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Montreal
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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 TBA
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State TBA
Nov 22 - at Nebraska TBA
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin TBA

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