Big Ten Wonk
Saturday, December 11, 2004
In today's less Wonk-ish venues....
Nine of the conference's teams play today. As for the other two: Iowa beat Iowa State 70-63 last night (links here, here, and here); and Northwestern, uh, I don't know what the Wildcats are doing today, actually. If you do, let me know....

Michigan hosts South Florida today. (Link here.) The Wolverines will be without three starters: Lester Abram (out for the year), Daniel Horton (out for four weeks), and Graham Brown (out for four to six weeks).

Purdue hosts Colorado State today. (Links here and here.) The Boilermakers will be without the services of starting forward Matt Kiefer, expected to miss six weeks after undergoing surgery yesterday to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee. As absurd as the question sounds when speaking of a Big Ten team playing a home game against Colorado State: can the Boilers win today? Hard to tell. On the one hand, the Rams lost by 10 at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis (IUPUI). On the other hand, they only lost by three at Auburn.

BONUS Purdue-Colorado State rivalry note: The Boilermakers lost last year's game in Fort Collins 71-69 when Colorado State's Michael Morris made two three's in the final seven-tenths of a second. No, not a typo, just intriguing home-court clock operation at Moby Arena--and since the game wasn't televised there was no monitor for the refs to look at. Rams fans call that game the Miracle in Moby.

Minnesota hosts Central Michigan today. (Link here.)

Indiana plays Kentucky in Freedom Hall in Louisville today. (Links here and here.) Yes, Indiana's schedule is tough and they've lost some games. This much we know. But Wonk feels few understand just how deep the Hoosiers' problems really go. For starters, see yesterday's post.

Illinois plays Oregon today in the United Center in Chicago. (Links here, here, and here.) The Illini are tired, having played four games in eight days. The Ducks are young, starting two freshmen, two sophomores, and a junior. Wonk knows it's only December, but: even after three ugly wins since the Wake Forest game, Illinois still leads in the nation in assists.

Penn State hosts Pittsburgh today. (Links here and here.) Wonk knows it's only December, but: the Nittany Lions' Aaron Johnson is third in the nation in rebounding. Alert readers please note: Wonk does not pose the absurd question here that he posed above regarding Purdue's game today. Wonk saw Pitt devour Memphis in the Jimmy V. Classic and the Panthers looked tough.

Michigan State plays Stanford today at The Palace in Auburn Hills. (Link here.) Doctor Schedule's got the cure for what ails the Spartans: a next-to-home game against a Stanford team that ain't what it used to be. Meanwhile, Jemele Hill of the Detroit Free Press chips in with today's Trying to Figure Out Paul Davis piece here.

Ohio State hosts Portland State tonight (link here) in the first game played since OSU Athletic Directory Andy Geiger announced that the Buckeyes were self-imposing a ban on postseason play in light of former coach Jim O'Brien's admission that he gave $6,000 in 1999 to a recruit's family. This decision had to come as unwelcome news to all the team's seniors, of course, but especially to Tony Stockman, who transferred from Clemson with the stated intention of joining a team that would make it to the dance. (More here.)

Wisconsin plays Marquette at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee tonight. (Links here and here.)

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Looks like the Points per Field Goal Attempt stat only measures how efficient a team is when it comes to scoring points.

Good weblog.

Kevin O.

Kevin refers to yesterday's post where Wonk applied and provisionally renamed a stat conceived by John Hollinger to Big Ten numbers recorded thus far. And he's exactly right--offense is but half the picture and Wonk's blog will grapple with the whole vast canvas of Big Ten stats as the year unfurls. So stay tuned to this blog, alert readers, for more keen numeric insights.

Thanks, Kevin!

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