Every year around this time, each league selects their all-conference teams. Most of the time it consists of a 1st, 2nd and 3rd team. I decided to construct one, but with a slightly different take. I made a Big Ten all-star team with the idea in mind that they would actually have to play someone.
The following team doesn't necessarily reflect who I think should be on the traditional all-conference team. Instead I placed importance on what players would play well together, thus, forming the best team. Anyway, here is the squad:
PG - Trey Burke 6'0"Michigan: Easy choice here. Burke is not only the best point guard in the country, but he might win the Wooden Award. Outstanding facilitator (6.9 APG), scorer (19.1 PPG on 49.2% shooting) and defender.
SG - Gary Harris 6'4" Michigan State: Harris has turned into one of the most reliable 3-point shooters in the B1G (47.1% in conference play), and he is also one of the better on-the-ball defenders. He would help make Burke's job a lot easier.
SF - Victor Oladipo 6'5" Indiana: In my opinion, Oladipo is the best overall player in the country. He is probably the most explosive athlete in college basketball, a great defender, a killer offensively (63.1% from the field!), and a reliable shooter (49.1% from 3). Game-changer is the best adjective I can think of describe Oladipo.
PF - Deshaun Thomas 6'7" Ohio State: Thomas is arguably the best natural scorer in the conference. He would get a ton of open looks in this lineup, and his shooting percentages would go way up. Thomas has also improved his defense greatly, even though it isn't close to being a strength.
C - Trevor Mbakwe 6'8" Minnesota: Most would put Zeller here, but I don't think he is what this lineup needs. The combination of Burke, Harris, Oladipo and Thomas wouldn't need any help scoring, but what every team can use is a dominate physical presence down low (8.7 RPG and 1.5 BPG). Not to mention, he owned Zeller a week and a half ago.
PG - Aaron Craft 6'2" Ohio State: Again, this team won't need a lot of scoring. However, having the best defensive player in the country wouldn't hurt any team.
SG - Brandon Paul 6'4" Illinois: Paul has had a nice career with Illinois, even though they really haven't won anything while he's been there. If the team needed a big shot, Paul could really help out nicely.
SF - Tim Hardaway Jr. 6'5" Michigan: Michigan:Streaky shooter and player, but he can really fill it up when he gets hot. Good player, and will be a pro very soon.
PF - Adreian Payne 6'10" Michigan State: What's not to like about Payne? He has length (7'4" wingspan), he can shoot (44.4% from 3 and 81.7% from the line), he can defend (1.2 BPG), and he can rebound (7.6 RPG).
C - Cody Zeller 6'11" Indiana: If you can't tell by the "2nd team," the Big Ten is pretty good. Zeller might be the B1G's best pro prospect, and he is really a crafty scorer in the post. He would provide a great lift as the team's 6th man.
PG - Jordan Hulls 6'0" Indiana: Senior who is a great team-guy and a knock down shooter. Might be nice to have a the end of the game when the opposing team is fouling.
PF - Christian Watford 6'9" Indiana: Too good of a player to be left off of the team.
C - Jared Berggren 6'10" Wisconsin: Can't hurt to have a another great defender (2 BPG) who happens to be a big body and a senior.
If you happen to be a fan of another conference, this team would slaughter your all-star team. A lot of NBA prospects on this team, and a ton of versatility. If they were playing a team with a lot of length, Payne and Zeller would step in and play more minutes than Thomas and Mbakwe. Conversely, this team would have the ability to go small, as well.
unfortunately – and by unfortunately, I mean fortunately, because I am sick of
writing these fucking things – will be my last Power Rankings entry of the year.Fret not, however, because I will still have
plenty of topics to cover.For starters,
in the next couple of weeks you can look for my All-Big Ten and All-White Trash
1) Indiana 25-5 (13-4): Indiana is still the best team in
the country, in my not so humble opinion.However, the distance between them and the rest of the field isn’t as
great as I previously thought.Last
night, Indiana got physically dominated by a hungry Ohio State team.The same thing happened recently when they
played Minnesota.IU’s skill is off the
charts, but I am not sure they are physically tough enough to cut down the
nets.Well, it really depends on what
kind of scissors they buy.
That said, I
still think they will win the Big Ten outright, which would be an incredibly
impressive accomplishment.Thus, even
though they got everyone’s hopes up last night, I think they go to Ann Arbor on
Sunday and leave with a W.
2) Ohio State 22-7 (12-5): I am going to spend this portion of
the blog giving Thad Matta a ton of credit.For years, I have been saying that Matta is a great recruiter and an
average coach.I am officially changing
that opinion and labeling Matta as a really, really good coach.OSU, under his direction, has been
consistently efficient on offense and good to great on defense.He is also probably the best coach with
regards to BLOBs and SLOBs.If you don’t
know what those things are, Google it (you better not fucking use Bing).
State has gotten a lot better this year on offense.Thomas has (relatively) struggled over the
past 8 or 9 games, but their team has not.On the other side of the ball, I said a few months ago that they could
be a great defensive team, and now they might be the best in the country.Hell, Aaron Craft is the only thing in the
world quicker than a postgame handshake with Tom Crean.
had questioned their ceiling, but I am not longer on board with that train of
opinion, Appling’s play moving forward is really all that matters with this
team.They are going to defend, rebound,
score in the paint, and look meaner
than the competition, but if teams can just sag off of Appling, their offense
will suffer tremendously.
4) Michigan 25-5 (12-5): Unfortunately, for Michigan’s sake,
they seem to have peaked in January.Defensively, they have gotten worse, and their low-post scoring problems
aren’t going away.In addition, Burke is
the only player providing them with any sort of consistency.They can still beat anyone in the country,
but they could also lose in the second round of the tournament.We will see how far Trey Burke can take UM.
5) Wisconsin 20-9 (11-5): The Badgers are doing what they
Badgers do every single year.They are
playing above the talent level that they actually possess.It starts with Bo Ryan, as he knows how to
get more out of his players than anyone in the regular season.I couldn’t even imagine if he coached at a
school that could recruit like North Carolina or Kentucky.
ahead to the dance, Wisconsin will likely have a mediocre tournament like they
do every year.They’ll beat teams they
are supposed to beat, and as sure as NASCAR fans flocking to a NRA rally, they
will lose to a higher seed.
6) Minnesota 20-10 (8-9): In case you were wondering, the
Gophers and I are dating again and things are really rocky.What’s not to love about a team that followed
a win over the #1 team in the country with a loss to Nebraska?At least things are exciting.
With regards to their potential in the
tournament, I still think Minnesota can do some damage.However, in Kindergarten I thought Umps were
called “Ums” and look where that got me.
7) Illinois 21-10 (8-9): Interesting year for the Illini.A handful of tough losses mixed in with a few
outstanding wins (@Gonzaga, vs. IU, and a blowout vs. OSU).Illinois is dangerous because of their 3
point shooting, but that is really all they do well.They are an average defensive team with no
low-post presence on either end of the court.
the Illini will likely finish 8-10 in the conference, I still think they will
make the tournament.Considering
Illinois’ struggles over the past few seasons, that is a step in the right
8) Iowa 19-11 (8-9): If Iowa didn’t have a non-conference
Strength of Schedule ranking of 313, they would probably make the tournament.Unfortunately for them, they played
Sweatpants University, The University of Bronson Arroyo, Butt University, Easter
Egg Hunting Technical Institute, and the University of Texas-Pan American (actually
one of their games).
probably thinking, “Didn’t he make a joke just like that before?”
Don’t end a sentence in a preposition, and I will continue to make up fake
colleges because it is reallyfun.
9) Purdue 14-16 (7-10): Purdue was this close (roughly the length
of a hedgehog’s dick) to getting on my good side.However, even with their loss to Michigan,
they still helped mankind in its fight against evil by beating Wisconsin.Looking at them holistically, I don’t
understand Purdue’s inability to defend this year.Under Painter, they have been outstanding on
that end of the court, yet they are 10th in the conference in
scoring defense this year.Their
offensive struggles have been well documented, but their defense is the reason
they are under .500.
10) Nebraska 14-16 (5-12): I really think Tim Miles has this
program headed in the right direction.It will be difficult, considering they have absolutely no history of
success, but they have a solid fanbase that will support even their terrible
teams.Nebraska is still a long ways
away from being a tournament team, but I think they will get there in 3-4
11) Northwestern 13-16 (4-12): I think it’s time for the Bill
Carmody era to be finished.Not
finishing above .500 in conference play in 13 years is simply unacceptable.This year, Drew Crawford’s injury really
killed them, but a lot of coaches would have taken the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 squads
to the tournament.If you say it can’t
be done at Northwestern, look at what Pat Fitzgerald has done with their
12) Penn State 9-19 (1-15): Obviously, great win for PSU last
week.Now that they are off of the
proverbial schneid, the 17 Penn State basketball fans won’t have to witness a
win-less conference season.Look for PSU
to be improved next year when Tim Frazier comes back from injury.