The college basketball season has now been going for one week. Though the season is young, most teams have played just two or three games; there have been some patterns and surprises. Some teams have challenged themselves away from home, while others have stayed home and beaten cupcakes. Here are my three most notable observations from the first week of Big Ten basketball.
Indiana is for real. This is no surprise; they were ranked no. 1 in the country coming in to the season. But, for a team that has not been used to being ranked so highly in the last few years, it is still important to come out strong tot start the season. There were a couple of highly ranked teams across the nation that either lost or did not look as good as advertised. I am looking at you, West Virginia. Player of The Year frontrunner, Cody Zeller, has looked fantastic, another non-surprise. Obviously, Indiana hasn’t really played anyone tough yet; just Bryant, North Dakota State and Sam Houston State. Things pick up when the Hoosiers take on North Carolina, November 27, in a battle of the top two big men in the country, Zeller and James Michael McAdoo.
I have written about this before, but Michigan’s new athleticism is incredible. They bring in tow freshmen who are already game changers, in Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III. Both players have made exciting plays that Michigan basketball is used to seeing made against them, not by players in their own uniforms. When you add that exciting youth to the returning core of Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr., you have a special collection. They too have not played any quality opponents, but take on Pittsburgh on Wednesday before challenging no. 6 NC State in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.
Purdue has been the least impressive team so far this season. They are 1-2, having lost to Bucknell and Villanova. Those are not horrible losses, but teams that the Boilermakers should be beating if they want to compete in the Big Ten. They are not a finished product, though, as many teams evolve a lot before conference play begins. Purdue has not been able to make three pointers and committed dumb fouls at the end of the Villanova game, costing them a lead in the final minute. Matt Painter has a lot of work ahead of him to get them in to good form in the next month or so. I believe they have enough talent to challenge for an NCAA Tournament bid, but they have to tweak some things.