Well I had the misfortune of working throughout all of the festivities early this morning, so instead we'll be recapping the events of media day.
First we'll take a look at the preseason poll and conference team voted on by the media. The media ended up ranking Michigan State as the best team in the conference, followed by Michigan and Ohio State. It should be noted that Michigan State was the unanimous favorite to win the Big Ten according to the media. No major arguments here as Michigan State looks to be a serious contender for the final four this season.
With Michigan State as the unanimous favorite to win the Big Ten, I guess it shouldn't be a big surprise that the media's preseason player of the year would also be a Spartan. The media ended up voting Gary Harris as the preseason Big Ten player of the year.
As for the preseason All-Big Ten Team, it actually ended up with six players (thanks to a tie) and was heavy on Michigan based players:
Speaking of preseason polls and what not, the first AP poll was just released. The Big Ten ended up with four teams being ranked, with Michigan State coming in the highest at second. It should be noted as well that Michigan State was only three points behind first place Kentucky. Also ranked in the AP poll were Michigan (7th), Ohio State (11th) and Wisconsin (20th). Also receiving votes were Indiana and Iowa (28th and 29th respectively).
Watch the Coaches Speak
If you were like me and had to work early today when all twelve coaches were busy talking to the media, BTN has you covered. Videos of every Big Ten coaches presser can be watched over here.
Media Day Transcripts
If you rather read what the coaches said, Luke over at Land-Grant Holy Land has you covered:
Illinois' John Groce at 2013 Big Ten Basketball Media Day
Fran McCaffery at '13 Big Ten Media Day
John Beilein at '13 Big Ten Media Day
Tom Izzo at '13 Big Ten Media Day
Richard Pitino at '13 Big Ten Media Day
Tim Miles at '13 Big Ten Media Day
Chris Collins at '13 Big Ten Media Day
Thad Matta at '13 Big Ten Media Day
Pat Chambers at '13 Big Ten Media Day
Matt Painter at '13 Big Ten Media Day
Bo Ryan at '13 Big Ten Media Day
Tom Crean at '13 Big Ten Media Day
It should be noted that Tom Crean went last because he was late for his presser. It didn't take long for the Twitterverse to have a field day with it and Travis at Hammer & Rails compiled some of the funnier tweets on the issue. Go have a laugh at the fiasco over here.
Coaches Reaction to Rule Changes
If you've ever had an issue with the slow pace of college basketball and all the breaks from fouls being called, well this isn't going to set very well with you. The biggest rule change has to deal with hand checks, a tactic that has become increasingly popular in the conference. The old system allowed refs to call it when they thought it warranted a foul, but now they're supposed to call it 100% of the time, regardless of the impact of the contact. This of course will lead to considerably more fouls, free throws and stoppage. Then again with some of the officiating college basketball has seen...one has to wonder if it's even going to be called per rule.
The other rule change limits when a defensive player can set for a charge, giving the advantage to the offensive player. This seems to be sitting well with most coaches as they've been frustrated with how often defenders have been able to slide in front of someone driving to get a late charge. It appears that both rule changes were enacted in attempt to increase scoring. The idea is that higher scoring will increase the 'quality' of the games, but if the scoring only increases due to free throws, is it really worth it?
The topic became a discussion point at today's media day, with several coaches weighing in on the issue.
If I talk to my buddies, I'm concerned. If I go off our exhibition game, you know, and it's hard to tell when you play with the team and you beat them handily, it's hard to tell. But we did bring in officials for four or five different practices. And it's a little concerning...I'm really in favor of the block charge because I felt people were just running under guys and falling down like bowling pins. And I didn't like that. But if we want to make this into a complete non-physical game, you know I worry that is that going to be longer games, boringer games, is it going to up scoring, are people going to play more zone?
It appears to me it's going to have a tremendous effect on the game. It only stands to reason there will be a lot more fouls called out and away from the basket. What I don't want to see is touch fouls away from the basket and guys getting mugged off the ball, because that won't work. I've been saying for years we need to clean up those collisions at the rim. So I think that is brilliant what they're doing there, to protect the driver. Too many guys that were talented enough to go by their man and three guys falling down before the guy even got to the rim. So I think to clean up those collisions at the rim is a great thing.
I think in theory, in talking with them, it's something they feel they're going to stay with. If you're telling me the way the games are going to be called and exhibition games are the way they're going to call them in the Big Ten, we're going to have a lot of good players watching basketball. I don't think that will sit with people in this room, with players and coaches across the country. It's definitely not going to sit with the fans. I think there's a different way to increase scoring, if that's what they're trying to do.
Tonight's Big Ten Action
If you would prefer simply watching the 2013 Media Day on the television, BTN will be reairing the event tonight at 930 PM EST (830 PM CST). Also, former IU commit James Blackmon will be announcing his decision tonight on ESPNU during halftime of the football game between Louisiana-Monoroe and Troy. Look for a post on Blackmon later tonight as he wraps up his recruitment. While Kentucky is currently favored to land Blackmon, both Indiana and Michigan are still in the running.