Looking back, looking forward and final football thoughts…
It was another good week for the home teams in Big Ten basketball. There were nine conference games contested with the home team winning seven of them. That runs the home court edge to 15-4 this season, a win percentage of .789. Toss in a nifty home win for young Ohio State over cross-over foe Tennessee and the home team again won 80-percent of the time last week.
Looking ahead, there are some key match-ups in conference play. Purdue hits the road for Madison hoping to unseat the Badgers from their perch atop the conference standings. Four teams sit one game behind Wisconsin and a few of them battle when Iowa travels to Indiana and then the Hawkeyes trek to Columbus to take on Ohio State. The standings could have some major changes come next week as we are now settling in for the long haul.
Finally, some parting football thoughts. The All-Star tour has ensued, but more notably the time for juniors to declare for the draft is upon us. National runner-up Ohio State lost three major underclassman game breakers in Ginn, Gonzalez and Pittman. Most other teams seem to be holding onto their stars heading into spring football, though Michigan lost defensive stud Alan Branch to the draft. It all should make for a shake-up of sorts at the top. Stay tuned…
Team of the week…
Wisconsin answered the bell by hanging on for a hard fought win over Ohio State on Tuesday and then scratching out a tough on in Evanston on Saturday. The Badgers let some shaky free throw shooting get in the way, but in the end survived the week as the lone unbeaten in the conference.
On the rise…
Indiana. The Hoosiers pounded rival Purdue in the mid-week game and then played well at Penn State to pick up a rare Big Ten road win. IU seems to be getting into synch with what Kelvin Sampson wants out of them and it might well keep the Hoosiers in the thick of the Big Ten race all winter.
In need of some “Ws”…
Northwestern and Illinois. The Illini got off the schnied with a tough win over Iowa but below an 11-point half time lead in East Lansing, leaving the orange and blue a shaky 1-3 heading into week three of league play. Northwestern was no match for Michigan State and then gave up a golden opportunity to score a tremendous upset against Wisconsin. The teams are 1-7 combined and desperately in need of wins.
Player of the Week…
This go around, it’s too tough to argue against BigTen.org’s pick - Kammron Taylor from Wisconsin. Taylor was big for the Badgers in a huge home win over Ohio State and a steadying influence in a nail-biter at Northwestern. He averaged 18.5 points for the week to go along with a bonus 4.5 board per game.
This Week’s Schedule:
Jan. 16 – Iowa at Indiana
Jan. 17 – Illinois at Minnesota
Jan. 17 – Purdue at Wisconsin
Jan. 17 – Penn State at Michigan
Jan. 17 – Northwestern at Ohio State
Jan. 20 – Purdue at Michigan
Jan. 20 – Wisconsin at Illinois
Jan. 20 – Northwestern at Minnesota
Jan. 20 – Michigan State at Penn State
Jan. 20 – Connecticut at Indiana (TIEBREAKER)
Jan. 20 – Iowa at Ohio State
Get Gamm Basketball Standings
All four players went 9-1 last week, but yours truly was closer on the margin in the OSU-Wisconsin contest. Picks for the eleven games this week are due by tip of Indiana – Iowa on Tuesday. My picks will be up sometime on Tuesday.
1 - Buckeye Nation: 26-5 (.839) – 1 GG Win
2 - Gamm: 24-7 (.774) – 1 GG Win
3 - PUFan: 23-8 (.742)
4 - Dan Meyer: 22-9 (.710) - 1 GG Win
5 - phatsdawg: 21-10 (.677)
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6 - BigTenSportsFan: 3-8 (.273)