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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Big Ten Preview cont.

Minnesota
Coach: Long gone are Tubby Smith's glory days at Kentucky.  However, this year's recruiting class will try to regain the past.  Tubby may even be a tad underrated thanks to the cries of failure from disillusioned Kentucky fans.   If one aspect is constant it's that Minnesota will defend.  They may be the most improved squad in the conference.
Lineup: PG Al Nolen, G Lawrence Westbrook, G/F Jamal Abu-Shamala, F Paul Carter, C Colton Iverson
Bench:  Ralph Sampson III, Blake Hoffarber, Devoe Joseph
Star: This team doesn't have a true star but transfer Paul Carter may be the leader while the freshmen develop.
Top Freshman:  Ralph Sampson III.  That's right, he's the son of the former NBA star.
Predicted finish: 7th in the Big Ten. NIT bound.

Northwestern
Coach: Bill Carmody finally got a recruiting class.  I believe he is a good coach but never has been much of a recruiter.  Now that he finally has a class he can brag about, the fans expect results.
Lineup: G Michael Thompson, G Craig Moore, G Sterling Williams, G/F Jeff Ryan, F Kevin Coble
Bench: John Shurma, Davide Curletti, Kyle Rowley, Luka Murkovic
Star: Kevin Coble can light it up.  He could be a solid European player.
Top Freshman:  Davide Curletti turned down Michigan St. for NWU.  When was the last time that happened?
Predicted finish:  10th in the Big Ten.

Ohio State
Coach: Thad Matta keeps losing his big men to the NBA.  It's a good thing he found another one, but he too may end up being the first pick in the 2009 draft.  But this team's strength lies in the perimeter and Matta will work to that strength.  Expect a team that shoots a lot of threes and defends the perimeter well.
Lineup: G Anthony Crater, G Jeremie Simmons, G/F David Lighty, F Evan Turner, C BJ Mullens
Bench: Dallas Lauderdale, Nikola Kecman (eligible after 12 games), PJ Hill, William Buford
Star: BJ Mullens is a unique player that should dominate much like Greg Oden did his freshman year.
Top Freshman: BJ Mullens
Predicted finish:  4th in the big ten and a bubble spot in the NCAA tournament.

Penn State
Coach: Ed DeChellis finds himself on the hotseat to start the year.  The administration has made it clear that immediate improvement is needed.  He might have gotten the axe last year if not for an injury to the team's best player, Geary Claxton.  Expect DeChellis to give his best coaching effort in an effort to save his job.
Lineup: PG Talor Battle, G Stanley Pringle, F Jamelle Cornley, F David Jackson, F Andrew Jones III
Bench: Cammeron Woodyard, Danny Morrissey, Chris Babb, Andrew Ott
Star: Jamelle Cornley is an overpowering force in the paint whose downfall is at the line.
Top Freshman: Chris Babb was ranked the #34 shooting guard in the nation last season averaging 31.2 pts, 8.0 rbs, and 7.0 assists as a senior.
Predicted finish:  The team thinks they can finish in the top six but I'm just not seeing it.  Poor shooting will doom them to 9th place.

Wisconsin
Coach: Wisconsin has a unique style of basketball; slow tempo, solid defense, strong rebounding.  These are all characteristics Bo Ryan's theory of how basketball should be played. Personally, I hate it.  But it gets results.  No one can argue with his success and no one can say they enjoy playing the Badgers.
Lineup: G Trevon Hughes, G Jason Bohannon, F Joe Krabbenhoft, F Marcus Landry, F Keaton Nankivil
Bench: Jordan Taylor, Rob Wilson, Jon Leuer, Tim Jarmusz
Star: The box score doesn't show how good Marcus Landry really is.  Wisconsin's style deflates his numbers but with the game is on the line this guy delivers.
Top Freshman: Jordan Taylor
Predicted finish: 3rd place and a top 6 seed on the NCAA tournament.
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