Asmussen's Big Ten basketball report

THE STANDINGS
AS AN NFL TEAM, THEY’D BE:
Michigan State    Patriots (Past champs)
Wisconsin    Packers (Of course)
Ohio State    Panthers (Cam seems like a Buckeye)
Illinois    Da Bears (George Halas would be proud)
Indiana    Colts (No Luck needed)
Iowa    Saints (Offense comes first)
Michigan    Seahawks (Carroll loved the Fab Five)
Minnesota    Vikings (They miss Leslie Frazier)
Purdue    Chargers (Alum Brees started here)
Penn State    Jags (Want them to beat Texans twice)
Nebraska    Lions (Looking hopeless)
Northwestern   Browns (Looking really hopeless)
    
THE SCHEDULE
Want to know which of this week’s games are worth your time? Here’s help from Bob Asmussen, who hopes to pick the games better than Jim Rossow did last season:

SATURDAY
Indiana at Penn State, 11 a.m., BTN
Wonder if new football coach James Franklin will be introduced to the “crowd?” And can he play forward? Indiana is passing the Nittany Lions as a football school.

Asmussen’s pick: Indiana, 66-55.

Minnesota at Michigan State, 1 p.m., BTN
Spartans have the most talent in the Big Ten. The key is keeping everybody healthy.

Asmussen’s pick: Michigan State, 70-67.

SUNDAY
Nebraska at Purdue, 11 a.m., BTN
Tim Miles is trying and he has a fancy new arena, but Huskers look years away from contending in the Big Ten.

Asmussen’s pick: Purdue, 81-59.

Iowa at Ohio State, 12:30 p.m., WCIA (CBS)
If it is good enough for the big shots in New York, it is good enough for us.

Asmussen’s pick: Ohio State, 70-64.

Illinois at Northwestern, 6:30 p.m., BTN
Do you think Chris Collins realizes he isn’t in Durham anymore? Probably.

Asmussen’s pick: Illinois, 75-65.

TUESDAY
Wisconsin at Indiana, 6 p.m., ESPN
For one game, the Hoosiers should let Bob Knight on the bench for a scowl-off with Bo Ryan.

Asmussen’s pick: Wisconsin, 69-68.

Penn State at Michigan, 7 p.m., BTN
Seems like a long time since the Wolverines played for the national title. Think the early entries would like to come back?

 

Asmussen’s pick: Michigan, 65-55.

WEDNESDAY
Michigan State at Northwestern, 6 p.m., BTN
Maybe Collins would have been better off staying with the Blue Devils and waiting for Coach K to call it quits.

Asmussen’s pick: Michigan State, 50-49.

Purdue at Illinois, 8 p.m., BTN
Wonder if Brian Cardinal will make the short jaunt over to see Dad’s favorite team? Could be fun.

Asmussen’s pick: Illinois, 73-63.

THURSDAY
Ohio State at Minnesota, 8 p.m., ESPN2

The Big Ten wasn’t kind this week to the Gophers when it came to scheduling. Wasn’t the Heat available?

Asmussen's pick: Ohio State, 71-63.

THE LISTS

ILLINOIS MVP
Player
Rayvonte Rice
Jon Ekey
Tracy Abrams
Joseph Bertrand
Nnanna Egwu
Asmussen’s take: The only bad part is that the Centennial product has two years of eligibility at Illinois. What would have happened had Bruce Weber made a run at him and he started his career at Illinois instead of Drake? John Groce might still be at Ohio. And Weber might still be running the show in C-U instead of building the program at Kansas State. As Frank S. sang, “Regrets, I’ve had a few ...”

BIG TEN MVP
Player    School
Rayvonte Rice    Illinois
Gary Harris    Michigan State
Yogi Ferrell    Indiana
Adreian Payne    Michigan State
Nik Stauskas    Michigan
Asmussen’s take: Among the Big Ten scoring leaders, nobody is shooting better from the field than the Wolverines’ sophomore guard, who is hitting 49 percent. Rice is next at 47 percent.

FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR
Rookie    School
Noah Vonleh    Indiana
Sanjay Lumpkin    Northwestern
Zak Irvin    Michigan
Nigel Hayes    Wisconsin
Kendall Stephens    Purdue
Asmussen’s take: At this point, Indiana’s big guy is running away with the rookie of the year honors, ranking among the Big Ten’s best in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots.

COACH OF THE YEAR
Leader    School
Bo Ryan    Wisconsin
Tom Izzo    Michigan State
Thad Matta    Ohio State
Richard Pitino    Minnesota
John Groce    Illinois
Asmussen’s take: Fran McCaffery would have made the cut without his ridiculous outburst. Hey, bud, the officials don’t appreciate it when you show them up. The suspension was appropriate. Hopefully Fran will stay calm the rest of the year. The penalty will be harsher the next time.

DANCE CARDS
Teams in the NCAA field, or not
SCHOOL    STATUS
Wisconsin    Lock
Michigan State    Lock
Ohio State    Lock
Illinois    Solid
Minnesota    Solid
Iowa    Solid
Michigan    Solid
Indiana    Work to do
Purdue    NIT
Nebraska    Next year
Northwestern    Next year
Penn State    Next year
Asmussen’s take: If the tournament started today, the Big Ten would edge the Pac-12 and SEC with the most tournament bids. If the teams don’t beat up on each other too much, the Big Ten will end up with a small edge. Better yet for the Big Ten is the depth at the top. The three best teams in the Big Ten are all considered a threat to the Final Four and the next four can make deep runs ... if the matchups are right. Illinois, Indiana and Michigan need to avoid bad losses.  
 

Comments

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walker wrote on January 11, 2014 at 4:01 pm

your "Asmussen take" regarding Rice coming directly to Illinois and thereby causing Weber to keep his job is pretty far fetched.  Weber would have rendered Rice ineffective by forcing him to play in the rigid 'motion offense' instead of the free lance sort of game that brings out his talents.

orangeandblueblood wrote on January 11, 2014 at 10:01 pm

I agree.  However, for a different reason. Ray's physical and mental development was made under the current coaching staff and I can't name a player that actually developed under Weber!