Around the Big Ten Basketball: Jan. 17
Another week down in the college basketball season, and the Big Ten continues to be a powerful conference in the nation.
In the Week 10 AP Top 25 Poll, five teams enter with an additional team receiving votes to get in. The conference is tied with the Big 12 and the SEC with most teams in the poll and has seven teams projected in the bracket forecast of Joe Lunardi.
As one week turns into the next week, some big storylines are being brought out into the media. Some may have a bigger impact than others.
Johnny Be Good
Wisconsin Badgers guard Johnny Davis has taken the nation by storm. Averaging 22.3 points per game, 7.4 rebounds per game, and 45.2% from the floor, the sophomore has made a name for himself, putting him in contention for the John Wooden Award.
Davis finds himself in the top five for points per game, as one of three Big Ten players to own that same accolade. The Badgers managed to take down the No. 3 Purdue Boilermakers in Mackey Arena, which is one of the hardest places to play in the nation, let alone the conference.
Davis posted 37 points on 54.2% shooting with 14 rebounds. The rebounds category is an impressive statistic considering Purdue has sophomore center Zach Edey, who stands at 7-foot-4-inches.
If Davis keeps up his consistency of scoring over 20+ points per game, the Badgers have a chance to make a deep run into the NCAA Tournament. If Davis doesn’t show up, Wisconsin may be in trouble.
One Bite At A Time
Penn State was put on a hiatus for 22 days due to COVID-19 in their program. It started back up on Jan. 2 to go into their bulk of conference play, with four games in its next nine days.
The Nittany Lions had big opponents coming up in their schedule, with Indiana, Purdue, Northwestern, and Rutgers on the schedule. Most people thought Penn State would falter against those opponents, especially after their COVID-19 break, but coach Micah Shrewsberry had other plans.
The team managed to go 3-1 in that stretch, with their lone loss coming against Purdue by seven points. Currently, the Nittany Lions have found themselves in the top half of the conference standings with a 3-3 record.
It all comes down to defense for Penn State, especially forward Seth Lundy. Shrewsberry gives Lundy the task to guard the best the Big Ten has to offer, including Jaden Ivey and Ron Harper Jr.
Lundy held them to under their season averages, which aids Shrewsberry’s defensive schemes. If the defense holds up, then Penn State has a chance to shock the nation in big ways.
Season from Hail
The Michigan Wolverines had hoped to hoist the national championship trophy in New Orleans this season. Their play as of late has shown the opposite.
Coach Juwan Howard, who recently signed an extension before their game against the Seton Hall Pirates, has lost six out of their last 11 games since he put his name to paper.
Its last two games were bad losses to the UCF Knights and the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, as the team is averaging around 73 points per game. Things have gotten worse for the Wolverines.
Recently, the team postponed their last two games due to COVID-19 issues within their program. It may have been fortunate for them considering that the Michigan State Spartans and the Purdue Boilermakers were coming to Ann Arbor.
For Michigan, they need more production out of Caleb Houston and Moussa Diabate. The freshmen duo has not managed to eclipse the 10 point-per-game mark, but once they get into a rhythm, the Wolverines can get back on track.
Jonathan Draeger is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Third Year / Broadcast Journalism