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During football season, we'd have a weekly recap of the goings on in the Big Ten that erred on the side of levity as opposed to analysis.
At least I thought they were funny. FINE, MAYBE THEY WEREN'T FUNNY AT ALL! Whatevs, guys, it's not important if they were funny or just stupid. What is important is that they were written and not everyone knows about them if they joined the site recently.
What I'm trying to say is: I'm going to break down every tournament entrant in the Big Ten with "strengths" and "weaknesses" and probably some "other" thrown in the mix as well. Let's get down to business!
Indiana (No. 10, Midwest)
KenPom rank: 53rd overall, 10th AdjO, 216th Adj D
NCAA tournament opponent: No. 7 Wichita State
Biggest strengths: Indiana can score the basketball (the Hoosiers averaged 77.5 points per game this year, 18th best in the country); Yogi Ferrell is a good player and has a cool nickname; they shot over 40 percent from three as a team; warm-up pants are still cool.
Biggest weaknesses: They don't have tall people and basketball is a tall person's game; they can't stop their opponents from scoring the basketball; haven't beaten a tournament-caliber team since Jan. 22 (they've had eight chances); Tom Crean is an insufferable, four-eyed baby.
Potential next-round matchup: No. 2 Kansas or No. 15 New Mexico State
Iowa (No. 7, South)
KenPom rank: 24th overall, 35th AdjO, 42nd AdjD
NCAA tournament opponent: No. 10 Davidson
Biggest strengths: Like a number of Big Ten teams in the tourney, Iowa seems to be a tiny bit underseeded (not sure if this is really a strength or not); makes a lot of free throws; Aaron White looks like "Powder" Reed; scouting the opposition.
.@DavidsonCollege just to confirm...Steph Curry is out of eligibility, right?— University of Iowa (@uiowa) March 15, 2015
Biggest weaknesses: Lost to both Northern Iowa and Iowa State this year, making the Hawkeyes the worst team in Iowa; Fran McCaffery regularly plays History's Greatest Monster Adam Woodbury (probably out of eye-gouge fear more than anything); lost to Penn State in the Big Ten tournament; don't shoot the ball particularly well.
Potential next-round matchup: No. 2 Gonzaga or No. 15 North Dakota State with a potential meeting against Iowa State in the Sweet 16!
Maryland (No. 4, Midwest)
KenPom rank: 33rd overall, 56th AdjO, 36th AdjD
NCAA tournament opponent: No. 13 Valparaiso
Biggest strengths: Melo Trimble and Dez Wells are legit stars; shoot free throws even better than Iowa; beat Wisconsin -- a No. 1 seed in this year's NCAA tournament, in case you've forgotten; locks down jump shooters on defense.
Biggest weaknesses: Might be the only Big Ten team that is overseeded; five of the Terps' six losses came away from home (although they did beat Iowa State on a neutral court); rely a lot on scoring from the charity stripe and Valpo is a team that doesn't foul a whole lot; need to watch out for Vashil Fernandez who swats shots at an alarming rate for the Crusaders.
Potential next-round matchup: No. 5 West Virginia or No. 12 Buffalo (I've fully bought into the Buffalo hype, BTW. SWEET 16 BABYYYY!).
Michigan State (No. 7, East)
KenPom rank: 17th overall, 14th AdjO, 53rd AdjD
NCAA tournament opponent: No. 10 Georgia
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Biggest strengths: Way underseeded, according to KenPom's rankings and by some national pundits as well; took Wisconsin to overtime in the Big Ten championship game and Wisconsin is a No. 1 seed in this year's NCAA tournament, in case you've forgotten; moves the ball really well and gets assists on most of its made baskets; hits the offensive boards hard; Tom Izzo is still the coach.
Biggest weaknesses: No players with last names that line up with holidays during the tournament for good headlines if they were to make a buzzer-beater; terrible free throw shooting team... just awful; don't force a lot of turnovers; Lourawls Nairn doesn't just have "Tum Tum" on the back of his jersey like a Brazilian soccer player.
Potential next-round matchup: No. 2 Virginia or No. 15 Belmont
Ohio State (No. 10, West)
KenPom rank: 21st overall, 29th AdjO, 40th AdjD
NCAA tournament opponent: No. 7 VCU
Biggest strengths: D'Angelo Russell has been pretty not bad this year; 6'4 freshman power forward Jae'Sean Tate is your favorite player that you don't know about or probably really like since he plays for Ohio State; offensive rebounding; Sam Thompson dunks.
Biggest weaknesses: I don't like Thad Matta's face; another bad free-throw shooting team; only team of consequence that the Buckeyes beat in the last month was Purdue (whom they lost to earlier in February); just overall a stupid school with stupid fans that has already stupid won enough things this year.
Potential next-round matchup: No. 2 Arizona or No. 15 Texas Southern
Purdue (No. 9, Midwest)
KenPom rank: 49th overall, 57th AdjO, 69th AdjD (nice)
NCAA tournament opponent: No. 8 Cincinnati
Biggest strengths: Height -- I'm pretty sure the Boilermakers have 16 7-footers on their roster; Rapheal Davis and A.J. Hammons are both excellent defenders; Jon Octeus has been a revelation at point guard since transferring to Purdue right before the season started; they block a lot of shots due to, you know, their height.
Biggest weaknesses: They turn the ball over so much... just all the time and it drives me insane; lost to North Florida (a No. 16 seed in this tourney) and Gardner-Webb at home; got blown out by Wisconsin in the Big Ten tournament; in case you've forgotten, Wisconsin is a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament this year.
Potential next-round matchup: No. 1 Kentucky or No. 1 Kentucky. I mean... let's be serious.
Wisconsin (No. 1!!!!! West region)
KenPom rank: 3rd overall, 1st AdjO, 30th AdjD
NCAA tournament opponent: No. 16 Coastal Carolina
Biggest strengths: Frank Kaminsky, Nigel Hayes, Sam Dekker, Josh Gasser and Bronson Koenig; Bo Ryan; being the most efficient offense in history; never turning the ball over; never fouling; helping old ladies cross the street; stopping bullets with their minds; ordering pizza for you when you're hungover; they really do it all.
Biggest weaknesses: Bench play (BUT, Duje Dukan may have emerged from his slump with two nice performances off the bench in the conference tournament); Traevon Jackson's health; stopping penetrating guards and wings.
Potential next-round matchup: No. 8 Oregon or No. 9 Oklahoma State