Big Ten thoughts from tonight

Nebraska looked great for the first 10 minutes or so at Villanova and then got blown out.Still think Kansas transfer Andrew White will be a good piece for them though.

Writing this at halftime, but Denzel Valentine is so important to everything that Michigan State does. Close to a triple double at halftime, they need someone else to step up as another creator (ala Travis Trice last year). I’m not sure who that is. At least Bryn Forbes wants to shoot and can shoot, but he’s not really a creator.

Maryland won a great game against Georgetown, but another close game. Their record in close games last season has been emphasized as a reason they might regress, but their new pieces look good (the transfers that is… slow start for Diamond Stone) and Melo Trimble is a bad man – huge clutch three in that one. If you give me the best point guard, I’ll probably win more close games.

Also Melo Trimble is a free throw magnet.

An interesting one tomorrow will be Illinois at Providence…Good chance for Illinois to pick up a quality win, but they haven’t looked too hot out of the gate.

Outside of the Big Ten… Kentucky won’t be as good inside as the last couple years, but good grief their backcourt is filthy. Jamal Murray is the real deal, Tyler Ulis is phenomenal… then you have Isaiah Briscoe and Charles Matthews for good measure.

As I was saying…

Huge win for MSU. Valentine was spectacular but he’s gonna need some help at some point. Matt McQuiad also made some huge shots for them down the stretch. Thought Izzo coached circles around Self.

MSU might be the best team in the B1G. Lots of talent on that team, Valentine makes them go but they got contributions from McQuaid and Costello as well.

MSU looked very good. I only caught last five minutes and it seemed they made every 3 they took.
McQuaid was impressive down the stretch.
Impression of Deyonta Davis: he looked like a freshman. Much like Wagner, he needs to hit the weight room.

Valentine is very impressive. I have to admit, like Draymond Green, I have a hard time hating Valentine.

Was at the Illini Sunday.

If Groce is smart(I don’t think he is) he starts playing Coleman at the 1. Khalid Lewis is straight up terrible. Weak handles, no jump shot, and really slow feet for a 1. Coleman hit a couple of big 3’s for them late in the game and caused 4 or 5 TO’s on D. They are going to need to find minutes for him once Nunn get’s back and it’s pretty obvious that should be at the 1 with Tate being out for a while.

Thorne was a beast. Granted his defender was only 6’6 but our 5’s aren’t dropping those kinds of numbers on anyone regardless of their size/talent level.

Much like Irvin for us Leron Black is still getting back into game shape but his jumper looks to be much improved.

I actually liked what I saw of Michael Finke too. He reminds me of Smotrycz with a little bit more coordination and a better sense of his own skill. He can put the ball on the floor, pass it, and knock down 3’s at 6’10. I guess you could also say he’s a slightly less athletic version of DJ Wilson.


Man, I don’t know. Valentine is probably the favorite for Big Ten Player of the Year… I don’t know any team in the conference that will be more dependent on one guy to make something happen.

McQuaid hit some huge shots, but they are just lacking that second creator. Can’t ask for much more out of Valentine though. He literally played an almost flawless game on the big stage.

You’re right that Valentine is hard to dislike. Luckily, Costello makes up for it entirely.

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I don’t think MSU beat a vintage Kansas team (at least without Diallo). They are nowhere near the team that Michigan beat in the Sweet Sixteen three years ago (even if they still benefit from the experience of the 45-year-old Perry Ellis). Still MSU is solid. With our luck, I can see the cold-shooting Nairn catching fire when we play them, and I can also see Davis having an “upperclassman” game against our bigs. And Eron Harris is probably going to gel better as the season progresses.

I think the Big Ten is the deepest conference but there is no truly unbeatable team. Perhaps the team that concerns me most is Indiana, just because they add a dominant big (Bryant) to their terrific back court. On the other hand, Bielfeldt is their starting four, so it’s not like they’re Kentucky.

Also, despite their youth, OSU’s athleticism could give them an edge – they seem to be handling bad teams with ease but we will know more after they play Virginia, Memphis, UConn and UK.

I am not worried about Narim. He is the weak link on that team.

I agree he’s the favorite like I said he was the star last night but they still have a lot of weapons on that team. I imagine Harris at some point will hit some shots, Forbes/McQuaid look good. Bess is pretty much in his first year and he works hard. The scary part is they look this good already after losing Trice and Dawson.

He’s a great player no doubt but I have no problem disliking him. He wears green after all.

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Brutal loss for Illinois at Providence. Had two chances to win it at the end : a missed layup by Malcolm Hill and a missed tip dunk by Finke. Jalen Coleman Lands played well for the Illini thought. Would have been a great W for them.

Hard to dislike?? There might not be a CBB player I’ve disliked more than Valentine.


Izzo is a cult leader. I don’t think it is a coincidence that there is a strong tendency for Izzo’s players to possess deep insecurity which is covered up by false bravado. Generally speaking, they are very bad sportsmen and all of the extracurricular antics are ugly, in my opinion. To his credit, over the course of his career, Valentine seems to be rising above a lot of the Izzo-fostered non-sense. Over time Valentine, has become more business-like. Plus, he is averaging a triple double for his first two games and is doing it in a fun to watch way. Part of me just feels sorry for him, for falling into the Izzo cult trap in the first place. The more I hate Izzo, the more I have compassion for his players.

There needs to be a distinction. It’s very hard to dislike him as a player. I’d take him on Michigan any day. But I think he’s very easy to dislike as a personality. Pretty obnoxious, to be honest.


Yeah I don’t get how people can say it’s tough to dislike him. Dude talks shit constantly and clearly thinks that he’s a tough guy. And his face is just annoying to look at.


If every team going into their game against MSU knows how dependent they are on Valentine, why can’t they put the focus on stopping him and making someone else create plays? Force the ball out of his hands and then deny.

I don’t really like any non-Michigan Big Ten players but I respect Valentine’s skill – having watched Valentine a bit at the Pan Am games I came to appreciate his game outside the MSU context. Frankly, just about any cocky Wisconsin buzz-cut bothers me a lot more, especially the way they protest every call (and get away with it) – I know some Michigan fans “admire” Bo Ryan’s system but I hate the way they play and the constant deference from referees and commentators. In terms of MSU players, Costello bothers me way more because he exemplifies the worst excesses of Izzo’s physical “style.” The fact that he doesn’t foul out every game suggests a major conspiracy is afoot.