Big Ten Basketball Update & Power Rankings
Big Ten basketball Update and Power Rankings
It’s definitely not too early to define Purdue’s game against Wisconsin Sunday at Mackey Arena huge.
In fact, the Boilermakers’ already shaky Big 10 championship and NCAA tournament hopes need a major boost. Purdue’s 0-2 start in conference play is probably the most shocking story of the first week.
Purdue lost to Illinois 71-67 and at Penn St. 67-64. Needless to say, there is some soul searching going on in West Lafayette. Injuries have been part of the problem. They were noteworthy at State College. Robbie Hummel, the team’s second leading scorer at nearly 14 points per game missed the game with a back injury, while guard Kris Kramer did not play with a sprained left foot. It is hoped both will return Sunday.
Coach Matt Painter definitely needs those two back for the Badgers who have suddenly become the story of the season.
For Wisconsin, a season thought to be in transition did not appear to provide many answers in non-conference play. The Badgers lost their only tests to Marquette, Texas and Connecticut.
But coach Bo Ryan just knows how to get his team ready for the conference play. The Badgers have jumped out to a 3-0 start because of great win at Michigan to start. They have since knocked off Penn St. and Northwestern.
One thing Ryan may need to do is give junior guard Trevon Hughes more shots. He is the Big 10’s most dangerous 3-point shooter at 49 percent and has dropped 10 of his last 18 attempts spanning four games.
If one player makes a difference, Ohio St. is really now starting to feel the loss of junior guard David Lighty.
Lighty is out for the season with a broken bone in his left foot. When the Buckeyes went on the road for games at Minnesota and Michigan St., they ran into scoring droughts and organizational issues that took them out of the game.
Minneosota used 14-0 run in the second half of its 68-59 win, while Michigan St. used a 22-7 run in the first half to run away in a 67-58 win.
Lighty’s absence is felt not only from a scoring perspective but a leadership perspective. He was averaging nearly 10 points per game but the Buckeyes need a player to help teammates to fight back against big runs.
Currently, no one on the roster is providing that. They had a non-conference game against Houston Baptist on Jan. 9 but will resume the non-conference schedule with consecutive road games at Michigan and Illinois.
Northwestern’s woes continue
The Wildcats 8-2 thought gave their fans hope that the Big 10 season would be different. Alas, it has not.
Northwestern has stumbled to a 0-3 start and is once again, at the bottom of the standings. 3-point defense has been a real problem as the first three opponents – Penn St., Michigan St. and Wisconsin have each shot 40, 56 and 40 percent from beyond the arc. That will take a team out of a game real fast.
What it also shows is that the Wildcats’ lack of athleticism with their man-to-man defense continues to have problems fighting through screens to attack the edge.
After a 52-49 home loss to Minnesota on Jan. 8, Iowa is 1-7 against Top 25 teams under second-year coach Todd Lickliter….Indiana is off to its first 0-2 start in conference play since 1997-98.
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