Big Ten fans in general have many questions about their teams heading the start of Big Ten play:
1. Purdue: Will their perimeter shooting come together and can Johnson emerge as a big time interior player. Is a big man the only thing Purdue is missing?
2. Michigan State: Can they overcome their poor play at the begining of the year and win the Big Ten? I know Suton was missing and they beat Texas in Austin but if they play like the first month you can just call them a one and done in the tourney.
3. Wisconsin: Can they contend for a Big Ten title? In my opinion, after watching them lose to Texas, Wisconsin lacks a go to player. If the team can come together and Trevon Hughes or Mr. Bohanon can step up, they can contend. Count on their defense being their strength this year though (like I need to tell Big Ten fans this because their D has been one of the best in the Big Ten the last number of years).
4. Ohio State: We know they have Mullens. We know the HAD Lighty. Losing Lighty along with a young team might be a downfall to this team. West Virginia isn't that good and OHST lost by 28 points AT HOME. Offense is defintally an issue and their last place scoring ranking in the Big Ten during non-conference play confirms this.
5. Illinois: Not the team that surprises fans the most so far but by far 2nd best. 12-1 aint to bad but the compettition hasnt been superb. Kent State win in overtime concerns me and and their play against Clemson at home was below average at best. Still they are a contender and with a senior led team they might surprise someone.
6. Minnesota: The Louisville win wasn't a fluke. Louisville is a good team and to beat them is remarkable in itself. Also, they have shown that they can consistantly hold their opponents in the 60's and score in the 70's. Will Tubby get his team into mid-March this year? We will find out soon enough.
7. Michigan: They went from beating Savannah State by 2 points in overtime at home to beating Duke in Crystler Arena. Although that seems like a 360, it really makes me wonder if this team will show up to a few games. Every game is important in conference and the question will be whether the kids will realize it. Sims can play, Harris is 1st team Big Ten without much question but will the role players succeed and can the bench step in?
8. Iowa: Can they surprise and finish in the top 4 in the Big Ten? There team may be ballanced but do they have a star player to make this team contend? They almost beat a decent BC team, played West Virginia better than Ohio State did, but got baried by a good Drake team. A lot we don't know about this team and we will see about their quest for the Big Ten crown.
9. Northwestern: They have a decent team. They lost to Butler by four at Hinkle Fieldhouse and at Stanford by six, both respectable road losses. Their smashing of Big East foe DePaul and their road victory at Brown are big but none is bigger than their victory against Florida State. Moore and Thompson are good guards and Coble is their leader but will they come up big?
10. Penn State: I can hear the critics now "11-2 and you think they are the 10th best team in the Big Ten"? Well my answer is yes. They have had too many close calls with mid-major teams and in their loss to a good Temple team showed a lot of their weaknesses. Cornley, Battle and Pringle all average over ten but can they come together as a TEAM?
11. Indiana: Can they win a game in the Big Ten? If losses at home to Northeastern and Lipscomb and blowout losses to St. Joe, Gonzaga (while were on the subject they may be overated), Notre Dame, a decent at best Kentucky team, and Wake Forest dont tell the story, what does? But they did beat Chaminade by two points so they might be decent in the NAIA. Still the question lingers will they be the Detroit Lions of the Big Ten?
Questions, Questions, Questions- If we all knew the answers...