Asmussen's Big Ten basketball report
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)
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
Teams in the NCAA field, or not
Michigan State Lock
Ohio State Lock
Indiana Work to do
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.