As you saw in the previous post, the Big Ten only announces the media’s top three teams in its preseason rankings.
Herb Gould of The Chicago Sun-Times conducted his own poll, which includes one media representative from each school, for a complete rundown of the conference. There’s a shift in the top three when comparing the Sun Times poll to the official media poll.
The Sun Times poll has MSU-Ohio State-Illinois while the official media poll has MSU-Ohio State-Purdue. (The injury to Robbie Hummel likely dictated this shift.)
Park Ridge, Ill.– Coming off its second consecutive Final Four appearance, Michigan State was selected to finish first in the Big Ten, as voted upon by a panel of conference media. Ohio State and Purdue were picked to finish second and third, respectively. Spartan senior Kalin Lucas was named the Preseason Player of the Year for the second straight season and was joined on the Preseason All-Conference team by Illinois’ Demetri McCamey, Purdue’s JaJuan Johnson and E’Twaun Moore and Wisconsin’s Jon Leuer.
Michigan State returns three starters and nine letterwinners from last year’s squad that went 28-9 and tied for the Big Ten Championship with a 14-4 conference record. Head Coach Tom Izzo took the Spartans to their second straight Final Four, marking the team’s sixth appearance in the event in the last 12 years.
Ohio State brings back four starters and six letterwinners from last year’s squad that tied for the Big Ten title with a 14-4 conference mark, won the conference tournament advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16. The Buckeyes finished the 2009-10 season with a 29-8 overall record, giving the Buckeyes 20 or more wins in each of their six seasons under head coach Thad Matta.
Two starters and 10 letterwinners return for Purdue, who tied for the Big Ten title and advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 in 2010. The Boilermakers finished the season with a 29-6 mark and advanced to their fourth straight NCAA Tournament under the guidance of head coach Matt Painter.
Lucas earns his second straight Preseason Player of the Year honor after earning first-team All-Big Ten recognition following the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons. The Big Ten Player of the Year as a sophomore in 2009, Lucas enters the season as the conference’s third-leading active scorer, with 1,418 career points. The guard is one of 10 Big Ten players named to the John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 List.
The 2010-11 Preseason All-Big Ten team includes three first-team All-Big Ten honorees from last season in McCamey, Lucas and Moore. Johnson was named first-team honoree following the 2008-09 season and earned a spot on the second team last year. Leuer was an honorable mention selection a season ago.
It’s time for Inside the Hall’s player-by-player breakdown of the 2010-2011 Indiana Hoosiers. Today: Daniel Moore.
We will tarry not long on young Daniel Moore, for there is much to be said about the coming of Cody Zeller-palooza (and also Halloween) to the shores of Bloomington at week’s end. But in keeping with — and, now, ending our player profile series — it seemed fitting to include Moore, a walk-on, with the rest of Indiana’s scholarship players.
Like most of the faces that popped up seemingly from nowhere in the 2008 media guide, Moore’s story is well known. He played at Carmel, Indiana All-Star, too small for the Big Ten but plays tough, rugged basketball and has been a spark plug at points during his career.
Of course, last year saw Moore’s minutes dwindle by a full 10 per game, as Indiana gained more depth at Moore’s preferred position of point guard. The coming of Victor Oladipo, coupled with the expected usage of Maurice Creek and Verdell Jones at the point more this season, assuming they’re healthy, seems likely to bump young Daniel even further down the bench.
But it wouldn’t be fair to demean or ignore what Moore gave to Indiana over the last two years, or what he will presumably give them for the next two. Statistics aren’t his strong point, but Moore’s style of play is one that personifies what people consider “Indiana” basketball: toughness, hard work, willingness to do whatever is asked of him.
That 6-25 first season under Tom Crean was rough, and no one was immune to scrutiny. And Moore — because he played 17.2 minutes per night, was often asked to handle the ball and isn’t the most prolific scorer at a position often reserved for scorers — took his share of the criticism. He was too small, we said, too slow and weak offensively. And there was that maddening thing he did, dribbling the ball under the basket and then kicking it out to a teammate who may or may not be open, like a child running the same play over and over again in Madden 2009 because he figured out somewhere along the way that the computer couldn’t defend it.
Three of Indiana’s top recruiting targets, Cody Zeller, Hanner Perea and Yogi Ferrell, are expected to be in Bloomington this weekend for Friday’s “Night of the Living Red” scrimmage. The event, which is free and open to the public, begins at 7PM with Trick or Treating and the scrimmage will begin at 8PM. Zeller will be on his official visit (as will commit Austin Etherington) and Perea and Ferrell will both be on unofficial trips.
Here’s some YouTube-age from each player to get you ready for one of the biggest weekends for IU recruiting in recent memory:
It’s time for Inside the Hall’s player-by-player breakdown of the 2010-2011 Indiana Hoosiers. Today: Will Sheehey.
Like fellow freshman Victor Oladipo and junior college transfer Guy-Marc Michel, Will Sheehey arrives with the expectation, from both himself and from Tom Crean, that he’ll compete for significant minutes in the IU rotation from day one.
Crean, as has been mentioned in this space and also elsewhere, says he has no interest in this group of newcomers waiting their turn and easing into the rotation.
Sheehey hails from a basketball background. His father, Mike, played at St. Bonaventure and Syracuse and his uncle, Tom, played at Virginia and was drafted by the Boston Celtics and played professionally in Spain.
At 6-6 and 195 pounds, Sheehey’s bread and butter offensively seems to be a combination of a solid mid-range game, setting up teammates and finishing at the rim. If given space, he doesn’t hesitate to consistently stick the 15 to 18-foot jump shot. And if he’s defended too closely, Sheehey will use the dribble to get past defenders. His versatility with the ball should afford him the luxury of playing in the backcourt and also on the wing.
Like Oladipo, Sheehey should help Indiana on the offensive glass and if he’s able to establish himself early in that regard, that should increase his likelihood for playing time. (Crean is placing a big emphasis on improved rebounding this season.) He appears to have improved upon his physical stature from the time he first met with the media in late July to Hoosier Hysteria earlier this month. But as is the case with most first-year players, continued improvement of strength and conditioning is a necessity to compete in physical conference games. Sheehey is also continuing to work on his 3-point range, which has been, to this point, one inconsistent part of his game.
Bottom Line: Sheehey should compete for minutes in a rotation that will be much more difficult to crack than the previous two seasons. He will likely get plenty of opportunities in the early out of conference slate. And if he rebounds well, defends and limits his mistakes, Sheehey should be in the mix come Big Ten play in late December.
Quotable: “People talk about the tradition, but it really is one of a kind. With all the other schools recruiting me, I felt this one was the one that if you turn this place around it will be one of the stories of basketball history.” – Will Sheehey
It’s time for Inside the Hall’s player-by-player breakdown of the 2010-2011 Indiana Hoosiers. Today: Matt Roth.
Suddenly, we’re talking about Indiana’s depth at guard, and how reliable it is less than three weeks from the start of the season. And so when we talk about Matt Roth, we need to frame the conversation thusly.
Roth certainly has a chance to win some playing time, with Verdell Jones tweaking an ankle and Maurice Creek still taking a wisely cautious approach to his return from a knee injury. The problem with Roth is that the questions in need of answering won’t have any until we see him in game action.
Statistics don’t tell us anything we don’t already know: Roth is a blistering 3-point shooter when he’s hot, and still one of the best in the league when he’s a touch off. Thad Matta probably still has the occasional night sweat about the flood of threes Roth dropped on Ohio State in 2009.
The problem is that Roth hasn’t played in a game since November of last year, thanks to an ankle injury suffered early in the Hoosiers’ trip to Puerto Rico. That had the double-edged effect of robbing Roth of a year of development and not allowing him to try and prove that the deficiencies he said he had improved upon were indeed behind him.
In his freshman season, Roth was often a defensive liability, often outmatched athletically. He was also quite one-dimensional on offense, and without the ability to drive into the lane and draw contact, his excellent free-throw shooting rarely got put on display.
Again, it was believed Roth had improved in some of these areas last season, and while it was too small a sample size to get an accurate measurement, he absolutely looked like a more rounded player before his season was cut short.
The foot is now fine, according to Roth, although he also picked up a concussion during the preseason, which also shouldn’t be an issue. But Indiana will need Roth to stay healthy, at least initially.
The bottom line: Roth will absolutely get his chance, with Creek still not 100 percent and Jones recovering from an ankle injury. If he is the more well-rounded player he believes he is, then he should get some minutes in the Indiana rotation. If he’s not much more than a streaky 3-point shooter, then his playing time will reflect that, as well.
Quotable: “Obviously, I’ve gotten a lot stronger and I feel a lot quicker coming back from this injury. My doctors and my trainers did a great job with making sure I did all of my rehab and all of my strength and rehabilitation and stuff like that. I’m looking forward to getting out there and playing a fun style of basketball and making sure the fans are just as energetic watching us play as they are when we’re winning. It’s going to be a great opportunity and I’m looking forward to getting out there.” – Matt Roth
Tuesday, 8:00 AM Update by Alex Bozich: Tom Crean confirmed the ankle sprain on his Twitter account via this series of tweets: “Now we have to deal with different injuries. Verdell is suffering from a ankle sprain he got defending in our scrimmage work this past Saturday. He was playing at the highest level he has been at with us when it happened. Injuries are a part of the game and right now we have way too many assistant coaches because of it. It is no fun for any of us.”
Monday, 9:30 AM Update by Alex Bozich: An ITH reader has reported on Twitter that Jones has been spotted on campus today wearing a boot on his right foot, but is not on crutches.
Inside the Hall has learned that Verdell Jones has suffered an ankle injury, the extent of which is unknown, according to a source with knowledge of the situation. The source did not indicate which ankle.
There is no word, as yet, what kind of time recovery would be expected to take, because the severity of the injury has yet to be determined.
There had been some message board chatter about Jones being spotted on crutches, and this would be why. It goes without saying that this hurts Indiana in guard depth, particularly given that Maurice Creek is not yet 100 percent recovered from a knee injury sustained last December.
Creek, who did not take part in the team scrimmage at Hoosier Hysteria, and Jones represent quite possibly Indiana’s two most dangerous scoring threats, and they were mentioned by Tom Crean as likely candidates for point guard/ball handling duty back in August.
Working in Indiana’s favor is its considerable options left at guard, but the problem with depth comes in the sense that some of those (Victor Oladipo, Will Sheehey) are untested freshmen. Should Jones miss any length of time, it stands to reason Jeremiah Rivers would see more time at the point alongside Jordan Hulls. Oladipo and Sheehey would be needed direly at that wing spot, however.
It also bears mentioning that Derek Elston, Tom Pritchard and Co. would alleviate some stress if they can provide a strong, consistent front court. That would free Christian Watford to spend the bulk of his time at the small forward position — where he was expected to see much of his time this year anyway — and help neutralize the problem of guard depth even further.
Again, no word yet on the extent of the injury. Ankles can be tricky things, but they can also heal quickly. Once we know more, obviously, we’ll make sure you do too.