Day 1 of 144
The college basketball season will start a little after 5:30pm ET tonight in the Kenneth G. Langone Athletics and Recreation Center in Lewisburg, PA, when host Bucknell takes on Princeton.
It will end 814 miles and 144 days away, sometime around 11:30pm ET on Monday, April 4, 2005, in the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, with the final horn in the national championship game.
EXCLUSIVE: 2005 Preseason All-Wonk Team
Not necessarily the gaudiest stats or biggest talents, mind you. Just guys Wonk would want in his foxhole.
Mike Wilkinson, Wisconsin. Wilkinson has spent his career defending bigs longer and heavier than he is and he’s still been a rock for Bo Ryan. In fact, Wonk is expecting better things of Wisconsin this season than most of the chatterers, even with the departure of Devin Harris (who, by the way, agrees with me), for two reasons: 1) they’ve owned Michigan State in the Ryan era to the extent that now they’re in the Spartans’ heads; 2) if newcomers Brian Butch and Greg Stiemsma can take some of the load off Wilkinson, he is poised to flower.
T.J. Parker, Northwestern. Let this be the one squib on Parker that does NOT mention that he’s the younger brother of Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs…DOH! Anyway, little bro is the capable QB on a Northwestern team that has featured more intricate plays than a garden-variety NFL playbook. So what if he has no outside shot? He’s jet-quick, plays D, has started every game but one in his career, and is a coach on the floor. Wonk will take one of those any day.
Terence Dials, Ohio State. Dials is a beast who has always given Wonk’s beloved Illinois fits, much more so than Michigan State’s much more highly touted Paul Davis, for example. How this blue-collar stud could only have averaged 10 points a game last year is beyond me because the last time Wonk saw Dials he was putting up consecutive 22-point games to close out the year. Note to the Ohio State backcourt: feed your beast.
Lester Abram, Michigan. Abram mirrors his coach: solid, methodical, capable. He fills in where he’s needed and gets the job done. A tweener at 6’6”, Abram is the Wolverines’ top returning scorer and shot .412 on his three’s last year. That is one handy dude to have around.
Greg Brunner, Iowa. Big Ten’s top returning rebounder. Nuff said.In today's less Wonk-ish venues....
Wonk reads 'em so you don't have to!
SportsLine.com is out with its Big Ten preview. Points for not just repeating everyone else's predictions: Michigan is picked to finish second to Illinois, ahead of Michigan State and Wisconsin. Link here.
(SportsLine also picks Iowa's Adam Haluska as their newcomer of the year. Sounds like they need to read Wonk on this particular subject.)
Wisconsin defeated Division II Wisconsin-Parkside in an exhibition last night, 81-42. Links here and here.
Michigan State defeated Division II Grand Valley State in an exhibition last night, 77-62. The level of expectations being placed on Spartan freshman point guard Drew Neitzel can be guessed from the headline on the Detroit Free Press's write up on the game: "MSU's Neitzel didn't star in his debut, but he wasn't asked to, either." More here.
EXCLUSIVE Wonk Neitzel note. Wonk says to the Spartans faithful: Verily, remember Wonk's Neitzel or No Neitzel Hypothesis, which holds, basically, that Michigan State had such an incredible (if little noticed) year in offensive efficiency last year that they will be hard pressed to match those stats this year, Neitzel or no Neitzel.
Michigan defeated Division II Wayne State in an exhibition last night, 67-54. Links here and here.
Iowa defeated Division II Upper Iowa in an exhibition last night, 84-43. Links here and here.
Illinois reserve forward Brian Randle wins this week's Kevin Brown Award for Notably Injurious Stupidity: he broke his left hand in practice yesterday, punching a padded wall in frustration after a missed shot. The sophomore from Peoria will likely miss six to ten weeks and thus will look at a possible redshirt this year. Link here.
Deron Williams of Illinois is no doubt giddy with excitement this morning, knowing he's been named to the second team of si.com's All-Junior Team. Want to read more about the All-Junior Team? In God's name, why? Link here if you really feel you must.
Don't just mutter ineffectually; email me!
RE: Erek Hansen article
"Here's what kills me about the woman who did the profile on Hansen - she has a J.D. and was a lawyer for 11 years! I guess making money isn't for everybody."
Wonk's readers are so well informed they know the previous careers of the Big Ten beat writers! Thanks, Ryan.
Note to Wonk readers: Ryan has a very fine blog of his own on Iowa hoops that Wonk heartily recommends.