Are the Big Ten really that much better than everyone else this season? Who should be the player of the year and which team outside the top ten could be dangerous during the tournament? The national analysts Eric Bossi, Travis Branham and Jerry Meyer discuss The Weekender
in the round table
1 Earlier this week, Andy Katz said on TV that “” The Big Ten far and wide, far and wide, it’s not even close to the best conference in the country “First, is he right? Second, which team would you bet the most to get to the Final Four?
Bossi: If I remember correctly, Katz may have thrown another one far away, and I don’t disagree that the Big Ten is the best conference Kenpom loves them even with eight teams that are in the top 30 – The Big 12 is next at six cats it may have been a bit thick, but yes, the Big Ten seem a good deal ahead of the pack.I find it difficult to bet against someone like Ayo Dosunmu from Illinois (more about him below), but I can’t go up against Michigan right now.They have come back strong from their covid discharge, Juwan Howard is making the Wolverines hum and Hunter Dickinson, Isaiah Livers and Franz Wagner turn into quite a trio By early March we will be very much Know more about Michigan as three of the next four games will be played against Ohio State, Iowa, and Illinois
Branham: He is right that the Big Ten is the best conference, but in my opinion it is not “far and wide” the best. The Big Ten are very strong this year, but the Big 12 also have to be honored The Big 12 currently has six teams in the top 25 and will have seven tournament teams unless the NCAA decides on the state of Oklahoma at the time of the tournament Plus they’re clearly the best team of the two Baylor conferences. Now, pound for pound, the Big Ten is the better conference this year and the team I’d bet on is Illinois, which usually have the best two players on every night the place in Ayo Dosunmu and Kofi Cockburn has
Meyer: I agree that the Big Ten is the best conference this season, but I disagree with Katz that it’s not even close The rankings for the Big Ten are terribly impressive Three teams – Michigan, Ohio State and Illinois – in the top five Then there’s Iowa at No. 11 and Wisconsin at No. 21 The Big 12, however, has Baylor at No. 2, Oklahoma at No. 9, Texas at No. 11, West Virginia, No. 13, and Texas Tech at # 15 And then a sixth team – Kansas – in the top 25 From top to bottom, the Big Ten is the best conference of the year, but I wouldn’t call it not even close
Answering the question of which team in the Big Ten I would bet the most on the Final Four is a tough one Michigan, Illinois, Ohio State, and Iowa are strong contenders I don’t see the team at a Final Four has a much better shot than the other three. But when I’m forced to pick one, I’m thinking of Michigan with Illinois a close second place
2 Who is your national player of the year? How well is his school prepared to replace him next year?
Bossi: Iowas Luka Garza was great and would certainly be a worthy winner of the award, but I have to go with Ayo Dosunmu of Illinois.There is nothing in college basketball that is much more comforting to a coach than a primary ball handler who is in the Can Take Crunch Time Games And Lead His Team To Victory Dosunmu has been great all season averaging 213 points, 60 rebounds and 51 assists per game, but his last three games have been ridiculous, scoring 15 straight goals against Nebraska, a triple double against Wisconsin and last minute shots in the back against Northwestern He’s my player of the year. Replacing him, it won’t be easy. But newcomer Andre Curbelo has shown that he’s pretty salty and capable of even crunch time play
Branham: I think that’s pretty clear in Iowas Luka Garza in Jared Butler, Ayo Dosunmu and Corey Kispert there are some great players but nobody means more to their team and was dominant as Garza is almost impossible to be a man like to replace Garza, but I think Iowa will make up for its absence next year with the likes of Joe Wieskamp, CJ Fredrick, and Patrick McCaffery as it matures and evolves
Meyer: I’m a huge fan of Jared Butler’s game, but I’m going with the great Iowa man Luka Garza Hardly, if ever, do you see a post player commanding the ball down with the authority of Garza Garza, who averages 247 points per game, can dominate a game by scoring and passing low like very few great men have ever done Garza is essential to Iowa’s attack, I would imagine the loss of Iowa would hurt the Hawkeyes more would be considered the loss of Butler by Baylor With Garza there is no substitute for him Post players like Garza are few and far between but I like the game and the potential of Jack Nunge
3Which team that is currently outside the top 10 is a legitimate Final Four contender for you?
Bossi: The more I see the state of Florida, the more I think they are going to be really dangerous in the NCAA tournament. They are tall, they are athletic, and they are tough as always, but they can knock some jumpers down too, Scottie Barnes is a leader, RaiQuan Gray transforms into a College Draymond Green and as a Senior MJ Walker plays up to his high school ranking and makes a ridiculous 473% of his shots from three-point land The Seminoles sure seem to be swaying
Branham: This one is tough as I think there are a handful of teams that fit into this form but I would have to bet on Tennessee The volunteers are very talented and arguably have the best defense in the country, especially on the fringes, so you know what you’re going to get on that end of the floor offensive, they start picking things up and get a nice boost from Jaden Springer and Keon Johnson who both really get their money’s worth in the SEC as their offense continues to improve and With the barriers to their defense in place, I think that in tournament time they become a tough matchup and can get a serious run
Meyer: I am very intrigued by Florida State, which is currently ranked # 16. The Seminoles bring the power of the grown man to the place along with experience. And there is a lot of talent that comes with the physical strength and experience of the FSU Few teams play across the course with the defensive intensity and depth like the FSU This style could really cause problems for the teams in the tournament
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