I hope you all have been enjoying your holiday season so far. Seeing family can often result in drinking too much and I hope you did that as well. My future brother-in-law had never had eggnog in his life, but fear not, I poured some brandy into that nog and we went to town!
Anyways, all of the B1G teams won their tune-up games before conference play...except Rutgers. Ohhhhhhhh Rutgers, you couldn’t make it all the way until conference season without cocking it up. You were even winning at halftime! Against a decent Seton Hall team, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
Let’s dive into the week that was with advanced stats courtesy of KenPom and GIFs of classic Thursday night NBC comedies courtesy of my average Google skills.
KenPom rank: AdjEm: 15th; AdjO: 10th; AdjD: 36th
Previous week’s results: (W) vs. Austin Peay 97-62
Biggest strength: Point guard Josh Newkirk had 11 points and 11 assists against Austin Peay. They shot 58% from distance and will continue to steamroll teams if they keep that rate up. Their game coming up against Louisville should be a good one.
Biggest weakness: Austin Peay is hot garbage as a college basketball program.
tfw Indiana plays another sub-300 kenpom team pic.twitter.com/K0Khh5AJUk— CHRISTMAS QUARRY (@crimsonquarry) December 22, 2016
This week’s schedule: Wednesday vs. Nebraska; Saturday vs. (neutral) No. 8 Louisville
KenPom rank: AdjEM: 64th; AdjO: 81st; AdjD: 63rd
Previous week’s results: (W) vs. Charlotte 88-72
Biggest strength: The Terps started off very slowly, which is a thing that they are trying to put a trademark on, but eventually realized they were a much better team than Charlotte and put them away in the second half. Melo Trimble had 21 points and Ivan Bender had 10 off the bench.
Biggest weakness: The slow start thing might come back to haunt them against better teams. Thankfully they only play Illinois and Nebraska this week. Still some time for them to sort things out against the dregs of the country.
This week’s schedule: Tonight vs. Illinois; Sunday vs. Nebraska
KenPom rank: AdjEM: 29th; AdjO: 20th; AdjD 65th
Previous week’s results: (W) vs. Furman 68-62
Biggest strength: Noted son of Die Hard villain, Moritz Wagner, dropped 18 points and added six rebounds.
why don't they build the entire offense out of Moe Wagner— Ace Anbender (@AceAnbender) December 23, 2016
Biggest weakness: Not a whole lot to like for Michigan last week. Barely beating Furman is no way to go through life. Also, can we talk about Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman’s, or The Hyphen as Jon Gruden probably would call him, stat line for a minute? This young man played 21 minutes (over half the game!) and missed all three shots he took, only grabbed one rebound, dished out one assist, turned the ball over once, and had two fouls. HOW THE HELL DO YOU PLAY THAT MANY MINUTES AND RECORD THAT MEANINGLESS OF A STAT LINE?!?!
This week’s schedule: Sunday at Iowa
Michigan State Spartans
KenPom rank: AdjEm: 53rd; AdjO: 67th; AdjD: 54th
Previous week’s results: (W) vs. Oakland 77-65
Biggest strength: Showed great bounce-backability after their disheartening and embarrassing loss to Northeastern. Nick Ward poured in 25 points and hauled in nine rebounds. Nick Ward sounds like a name for a TV detective that doesn’t play by the rules.
Biggest weakness: Turned the ball over an awful lot. Tum Tum Nairn doesn’t play enough for a guy named “Tum Tum.” It also appears as though the Spartans won’t be at full-strength for the conference opener.
Looks like Bridges will be out for the Big Ten opener Tuesday https://t.co/SB1SHhWoib— The Only Colors (@TheOnlyColors) December 26, 2016
This week’s schedule: Tonight at Minnesota; Friday vs. Northwestern
Ohio State Buckeyes
KenPom rank: AdjEM: 41st; AdjO: 73rd; AdjD 25th
Previous week’s results: (W) vs. Youngstwon St. 77-40; (W) vs. UNC Asheville 79-77
Jae'Sean Tate: Still a national treasure— Land-Grant Holy Land (@Landgrant33) December 23, 2016
Biggest weakness: Blew out Youngstown St., but had some real issues with UNC Asheville. I don’t really know what to make of these Buckeyes. But hey, the Browns won and the Cavs beat the Warriors again!
This week’s schedule: Sunday at Illinois
Penn State Nittany Lions
KenPom rank: AdjEM 96th; AdjO 166th; AdjD 69th
Previous week’s results: (W) vs. Morgan St. 96-55
Biggest strength: Six players scored in double-figures and a seventh player had nine points. Tony Carr was two assists shy of a triple-double and Lamar Stevens had 20 points. Here is what the folks at BSD have to say about PSU’s non-conference play. They’re bullish on the future, but not super hopeful about the rest of this season.
Biggest weakness: Haven’t reeeeeeaaaaaalllllly beaten anyone this year. The offense is bad too. In much more important news: Yuengling is distributing to Indiana! America’s oldest brewery is slowly creeping westward and I am too. Perhaps I should move back to Chicago...
This week’s schedule: Tonight vs. Northwestern; Sunday at Rutgers
Rutgers Scarlet Knights
KenPom rank: AdjEM: 115th; AdjO: 163rd; AdjD: 84th
Previous week’s results: (L) at Seton Hall 72-61
Biggest strength: Rutgers was winning at halftime of this game against Seton Hall, who is probably going to be a Tournament team, but just couldn’t hang on. Corey Sanders had 17 points and Deshawn Freeman had 11 boards.
Biggest weakness: Oh man is Rutgers bad this year. It literally pained me to not be able to write that in this column yet. Their team’s hashtag is #OneAgenda which sounds like a scheduling app that your dumb company uses. This kid is dabbing, which I guess is still a thing the kids are doing.
Hopefully, the PA system was playing Migos (starts shouting RAINDROPS! DROPTOPS!).
This week’s schedule: Tonight at Wisconsin; Sunday vs. Penn State
Illinois Fighting Illini
KenPom rank: AdjEM: 66th; AdjO: 77th; AdjD: 72nd
Previous week’s results: (W) vs. (neutral) Missouri 75-66
Biggest strength: Beat Mizzou in the Braggin’ Rights game, to which there were many good seats still available.
Not a great crowd for the old Braggin' rights game, Mizzou-Illinois. pic.twitter.com/IYQFXHvsK2— Doug Vaughn (@DougVaughn_590) December 22, 2016
Malcolm Hill and Maverick Morgan had solid games.
Biggest weakness: Run The Jewels 3 came out on Christmas Eve. It rules and might be the best rap album of 2016. With George Michael passing on Christmas day it was nice to have some good news come out of the musical world this weekend. And, uh, I don’t know? Illinois is kinda trash and somehow Mizzou is wayyyy worse.
This week’s schedule: Tonight at Maryland; Sunday vs. Ohio State
KenPom rank: AdjEM: 68th; AdjO: 52nd; AdjD: 105th
Previous week’s results: (W) vs. North Dakota 84-73; (W) vs. Delaware State 89-57
Biggest strength: You guys! We talked about this a bit in last week’s column, but Fran McCaffery is a God damned madman.
Apparently he was mad about some chippy play from North Dakota earlier in the game or something. But really with these #Frantrums who the hell knows? I bet he’s a terrible guest at a restaurant. Peter “Yung” Jok had a great week.
Biggest weakness: I love how defensive Iowa fans get when you make fun of McCaffery. Ok, in the comment section let’s get a poll going: Who is a biger hot-head? Bo Ryan or Franny Mac?
This week’s schedule: Wednesday at Purdue; Sunday vs. Michigan
Minnesota Golden Gophers
KenPom rank: AdjEM: 47th; AdjO: 97th; AdjD: 22nd
Previous week’s results: (W) vs. Arkansas State 82-75
Biggest strength: Do you want to know why the RPI is an outdated and dumb metric? Minnesota is ranked 8th in it and Wisconsin isn’t in the top-25.
Biggest weakness: People here in the Twin Cities are pretty jazzed up about the Gophers’ chances this year. It will really be nice to see the collapse of the Gophers up close and personal. Also, since they’ve only played one road game I can’t even imagine how much season tickets cost for the Gophers this year. With roughly 400 home games and the average ticket price being roughly free *does math in head* you spent way too much money on Gopher tickets.
This week’s schedule: Tonight vs. Michigan State; Sunday at Purdue
Previous week’s results: See above
This week’s schedule:
KenPom rank: AdjEM: 46th; AdjO: 66th; AdjD: 42nd
Previous week’s results: (W) vs. IUPUI 87-65; (W) vs. Houston Baptist 72-63
Biggest strength: Sanjay Lumpkin went for 13 and 13 against IUPUI and added 11 and nine against Houston Baptist.
Biggest weakness: Did any of you win your fantasy football championships? I got blown out in mine. I’m like the Northwestern Has Never Made the NCAA Tournament of losing in fantasy football, it’s a yearly tradition.
This week’s schedule: Tonight at Penn State; Friday at Michigan State
KenPom rank: AdjEM: 12th; AdjO: 15th; AdjD: 12th
Previous week’s results: (W) vs. Norfolk State 91-45
Biggest strength: This was such a badass tweet from when Caleb “Biggie” Swanigan signed with Purdue.
I don’t know if you saw Swanigan’s stats against Norfolk St., but they were fricking amazing. He dropped 32 points and pulled down 20 rebounds. Oh, it was his second straight games with 20 or more rebounds. Think B1G indeed.
Biggest weakness: I think Big Ten Network should produce a reality show that is similar to Vanderpump Rules. Jim Delany could be Lisa Vanderpump and all the coaches would be the various vapid employees that work at her bar. I should probably stop watching Bravo while writing this.
This week’s schedule: Wednesday vs. Iowa; Sunday vs. Minnesota
KenPom rank: AdjEM: 10th; AdjO: 12th; AdjD: 18th
Previous week’s results: (W) vs. Florida A&M 90-37
Biggest strength: I hope that dude who owns the Florida A&M Starter jacket wasn’t too upset about this game. I couldn’t find a picture of the jacekt, but check out this sweet hat! I can’t blame the Rattlers for getting the doors blown off them becuase their travel schedule was ridic! D’Mitrik Trice had 14 points. Andy Van Vliet made all three of his threes.
Biggest weakness: In personal news, my wife is pregnant and we are very excited to have a little Badger fan running around our house this spring. The first thing I’m going to buy her is baby ear muffs for attending sporting events. Mainly because they are hilarious but also to protect her tiny ears from all the yelling.
This week’s schedule: Tonight vs. Rutgers