Men’s Basketball Around the Big Ten: Week Two
Dave Arroyo, Dylan Huberman, Mitch Stewart and Eric Chamblis break down the week two matchups around the Big Ten.
As the season has gotten underway, some teams in the Big Ten have enjoyed success while others are kind of struggling to keep pace with their top-tough schedules.
Indiana is currently the highest ranked team in the Big Ten at number six in the AP poll after a thrilling overtime victory over the Kansas Jayhawks at the Armed Forces Classic. Its victory over Kansas came as a shock as the Hoosiers lost do-everything point guard Yogi Ferrell to the NBA.
His loss was evident on the court as Indiana committed 18 turnovers in the game and at times struggled to run the offense. Transfer Josh Newkirk paced the team in assists and did an adequate job of running the show with his assists and tempo.
James Blackmon Jr. proved how much the Hoosiers missed him last year as he poured in 26 points on his first game back from injury. If he can continue to play at a top level, Indiana will probably be taking home its second consecutive Big Ten regular season title.
The Hoosiers next couple of games are not going to tax them as they should easily win out until their Nov. 30 showdown with the North Carolina Tar Heels. But Indiana was not the only Big Ten team that played in the Armed Forces Classic, as the Michigan State Spartans participated in it as well.
Unfortunately for Michigan State though, it lost its opening game and then got blown out by Kentucky in the Champions Classic. The 21-point beating showed that Michigan State has a long way to go and that freshman Miles Bridges needs to improve his game dramatically for the Spartans to succeed.
After carrying Michigan State throughout the season opener, Bridges struggled mightily as he shot 2-11 from the floor and had nine turnovers, which are numbers he should not have. His three-point shot should improve as he has also has struggled with that so far this season.
The offense has struggled as a whole as it has only scored 108 points in two games this season. Michigan State can be thankful that its next stretch of games is against teams it can bet as the Spartans desperately need to find offensive chemistry if they want to have any shot of succeeding in Big Ten play.
Wisconsin were the team expected to win the Big Ten, but a Tuesday loss to Creighton puts some doubt in mind. The Bluejays are not a team to be messed with as they were ranked 22nd in the nation, but the fact that the Badgers allowed 46 second-half points raised some alarm.
Wisconsin is known for being a good defensive team, but that did not show up in the second half. The Badgers attack also struggled, as it was pretty much all Bronson Koenig and Nigel Hayes as the two players combined to score 37 of the team’s 67 points.
Wisconsin will need more consistent play from the rest of the team, which will happen this week as they take on lowly Chicago State. The top teams in the Big Ten had an interesting run of things and will look to continue their winning ways against lowly competition.
Joe Esquivel-Murphy is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism and Spanish. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.