Second Half Big Ten Preview
We're around halfway through the college basketball regular season and here is my prediction for how the Big Ten will finish:
1. Ohio State Buckeyes
They have been unstoppable so far led by freshman Jared Sullinger and David Lighty. Sullinger hasn't just been the best freshman so far, he's been the best all around player. Jon Diebler has range and Dallas Lauderdale is a consistent threat down low with Sullinger.
2. Michigan State Spartans
The Spartans are done with their tough non-conference schedule meaning they will meet high expectations. Whether it's Kalin Lucas, Draymond Green or Durrell Summers making the plays they will have a fantastic second half.
3. Minnesota Gophers
Devoe Joseph, the great guard is gone but the Gophers still have a lot of depth leading from sharpshooting Blake Horffarber and rebounding machine Trevor Mkabwe. In order to continue the strong season they're having they must get minutes to bench players like Al Nolen and Colton Iverson.
4. Purdue Boilermakers
The loss of Robbie Hummell earlier this season will hurt more at the end of the season than early on because of his experience. They do have center JaJuan Johnson and E'Tuwan Moore who will keep Purdue in the race.
5. Illinois Fighting Illini
The Fighting Illini are a quiet, under the radar powerhouse. They have guard DeMetri McCamey who can change games and can dish it easily inside to huge center Mike Tisdale who is good on defense and offense.
6. Wisconsin Badgers
Jon Leuer has had a good season but in order for the Badgers to have a chance at winning the Big Ten he needs to be great. Jordan Taylor is an explosive guard and experienced Rob Wilson will make plays.
7. Penn State Lions
Maybe a little high? No, because the Nittany Lions have all-star guard Talor Battle who if he played at a bigger basketball school would be a Player of the Year canidate.
8. Northwestern Wildcats
The Wildcats may not end their long tournament drought this season but they will contend thanks to Michael Thompson. John Shurma is experienced and when healthy is probably the most important player on the team.
9. Indiana Hoosiers
Tom Crean has done a good job turning around the Hoosiers basketball program but it still isn't good enough to win the Big Ten. Verdell Jones III is an assist machine and Maurice Creek is a big guard.
10. Michigan Wolverines
The Wolverines have no problem outside where they have Zak Novak and Darius Morris. But without DeShawn Sims Michigan has a very weak inside game where the only somehwhat of a threat is Jordan Morgan.
11. Iowa Hawkeyes
The Hawkeyes may end up being the only Big Ten team with a sub 500 record to end the season. But, they do have guard Matt Gatens and Bryce Cartwright.