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BT Powerhouse Roundtable: 03/08/2011

In a new recurring feature here at BT Powerhouse, I introduce to you the BT Powerhouse Roundtable. Click the jump to see the answers from the various contributors to BT Powerhouse, and be sure to provide your own answers in comments section!

1.) What is the BTT matchup you would most want to see?

2.) Of the teams currently not projected in the NCAA tourney, which has the best chance at winning the BTT and getting the auto-bid?

3.) Be honest: Would you really be surprised if Michigan State made it to the second weekend? Final Four?

4.) What teams do you think could give the high-seeded BT teams (OSU, Wiscy, Purdue) the biggest fits in the early rounds of the NCAA Tournament?

5.) You're starting a basketball team for the local rec league. If you had the opportunity to have one Big Ten Player on your team, who do you pick and why?

Roundtable answers after the jump!


1) Wisconsin vs. Michigan. Both games were close; the last one required an epic buzzer beater for the win.

2) Hard to say. My first thought was Penn State, but after they proceeded to get lit up their last two games, I don't think so. Illinois may have a better shot.

3) I would be extremely surprised if MSU managed to make the Sweet Sixteen, let alone anything past that. Teams that serve up that many defensive trainwrecks generally don't make a lot of noise in the tournament.

4) I can't say right now. I can't really say until after Selection Sunday; there's just so many teams on the bubble right now.

5) Jon Leuer, for the reason that I wouldn't have to worry about rebounding or defense. And he just seems like a cool guy.


1.) Wisconsin--Michigan. One team is finding their stride, the other is built for March. Time to see who's stronger.

 2.) Ohio State. Don't like to admit it but they have all the parts you need right now to get the job done. Outside and inside play. It'll take a strong effort to beat OSU.

3.) Second weekend? No. Izzo is too good at March to let his team lose early on but I wouldn't be shocked to see them get caught on the chin and lose quickly. It's all about what MSU team shows up. Final Four seems like a stretch but they could make a Sweet 16 run.

 4.) If I was going to pick a random team out of the bag I'd say Saint John's. They could beat anyone in the nation right now.

 5.) JuJuan Johnson. You control the glass you control the game. Jon Leuer is hard to turn down though.


1) I'll go with Wisconsin vs. Purdue. They split the regular season with wins on their home courts, where they were both undefeated. It'd be interesting to see the epic tandems of Johnson/Moore and Taylor/Leuer go at it on a neutral court.

2) I know Michigan is technically in right now, but since a first-round upset might put them back out, I'll give the Wolverines the best chance to pull off the unlikely auto-bid. Darius Morris and Tim Hardaway Jr. have been great towards the end of the season, and the Wolverines are 3 points and one banked three-pointer away from being on an 8 game winning-streak. I could see them winning the BIg Ten tournament.

3) Considering how the Spartans got to the Final Four last year, I'd at least kid that "I totally saw this coming" if MSU made it to the second weekend yet again. That said, Sparty just doesn't look like a Sweet Sixteen team, let alone a Final Four. Durrell Summers looks like a shell of himself, and without a reliable scorer off the bench since Korie Lucious left, I just don't see them getting past the 2nd round. Which is fine by me; I wouldn't call Michigan State's last 3 games in the Final Four/ National Championship "aesthetically pleasing"

4) I'm going with St. John's and Georgia on this one. Both are sleeper Sweet Sixteen picks for me. 

5) Jon Diebler. Given my own rec league's notably poor perimeter defense, I could see Diebler averaging 7-9 three pointers per game


1. Ohio State vs. Purdue. When both are on, they're unquestionably the best teams in the conference and if they both manage to advance to the title game, you have to bet they'll both be ready to go. One last battle before the Big Dance would be an excellent way to end the conference season.

2. Penn State is the best team on the wrong side of the bubble right now, but expecting an incredibly thin Nittany Lios team to win four games in four days is probably unrealistic. If an underdog is going to challenge, look for it to be less talented but deeper teams like Iowa and Indiana, crazy as that seems. 

3. Hey, just because you had the magic once or twice doesn't mean it's always going to be there to save you. Dumbledore died, folks. 

4. When Minnesota rebounds, even without Devoe Joseph and Al Nolen in the fold, it's dangerous. Trevor Mbakwe is a tank and with Ralph Sampson and Colton Iverson backing him up, the Gophers have more than a legitimate chance to put one good game together in Indianapolis and knock a favorite off. 

5. Talor Battle, and that's not because I'm a Penn State student. If there's one player that says "rec league" in this conference, it's him.


1. A 3-way free for all cage match between Purdue, Wisconsin and Ohio State! Seriously, though how about Purdue vs. Wisconsin. They split the season series and each team has one of my top candidates for player of the year. I have some serious love for the Buckeyes as well, but we get to see them play Wisconsin on Sunday so Purdue vs. Wisconsin is my pick.

2. Assuming 6 teams from the Big Ten are getting in, I have to say Penn State. Between Talor Battle and Jeff Brooks, they have enough talent on offense to scare anyone. Getting stops has been troubling, but they still have a much better chance to win the thing than the other 4 non-NCAA teams. I mean, it's not a good chance, but it's a chance.

3. Yeah I'd be shocked. And I love picking the Spartans. They almost won me my office pool two years ago when I picked them to make the final. But they're mediocre this year and they've shown nothing to prove they can beat a 2-seed, which is looking like what they'd have to do to get to the Sweet 16. Maybe if they fall to an 11 they can pull it off. But I still say I'd be shocked.

4. For Ohio State, that's easy. They likely won't even break a sweat until the second round, which is where they could meet a Kansas State team that is finally living up to its #2 preseason AP ranking. However, if K-State keeps winning, they'll likely move up even more. Cincinnati is another 8/9 seed that could give the Buckeyes trouble. The Bearcats just took down Georgetown twice and also have victories over Louisville and St. Johns this season. If Cincy moves up as well, they could be replaced by Mizzou, who is still dangerous despite their recent struggles.

For Wisconsin and Purdue we're probably talking about 7s, 10s, 14s, 11s and 6s... among squads in those areas I like St. Mary's, Va Tech, Tennessee and Belmont.

5. JaJuan Johnson because he's an absolute beast. I think Jordan Taylor might be the most valuable player in the league this year, but Johnson's game translates more to flat out domination of a bunch of amateurs. He wouldn't be much fun to play with because everyone else on his team would just stand around, but if I'm trying to win the league, he's the guy I'd choose.


1.  Purdue/OSU.  These two powerhouses split the regular season, but only one can be crowned the BTT Champs.  Would love to see them slug it out one more time before the NCAA tournament.

2.  Penn State has to be the team with the best chance to make a run from the outside looking in.  They have an incredible guard and leader in Talor Battle (with a name like that, you'd be good too), and the ability to shock quality teams.

3.  Michigan State's pedigree has shown us that we can't be surprised by anything from them, but this season is a different story.  I would be surprised if they get through to the Sweet 16.  This team has gone through a lot and really hasn't come away with much to show for it.

4.  The trap game for any Big 10 team right now is Saint John's.  With their momentum and the help of former legendary Purdue coach Gene Keady, they have the explosiveness and knowledge to take anyone down.

5.  Ryne Smith.  Ryne is a great guy and a lot of fun to be around.  Wouldn't take the rec game too seriously, can shoot lights out, and won't be a ball hog.  Besides, he already told my roommate and I that we'd be visiting the gym after the season is over, anyways.  :)


1. Wisconsin/OSU, no matter what happens this afternoon. That rivalry has really kicked it up a notch this season, thanks to the Badgers' football victory, comeback in Madison, and Jared Sullinger's spitting allegations. Throw in the fact that the OSU student section has printed up "Deal With It" towels directed at Bo Ryan, and I think a neutral court game would be very fun to watch.

2. I've got to go with Michigan on this. Of all the teams that are currently in the tournament from the Big Ten, Michigan is one that would really do themselves no favors with a first-round exit. You've got to look at all the games they were close to winning this year: Syracuse, Kansas, Wisconsin. If the Wolverines can figure out how to close out their games, look out.

3. I won't count Tom Izzo out of anything, but as I've watched the Spartans' season unfold, I kept expecting them to finally look like a team we've grown accustomed to seeing in East Lansing and that hasn't happened yet. It sounds strange to say it, but I just don't think there's that much to see here.

4. It's hard to say, but I believe that anyone can give the Badgers fits in the tournament. We've seen this Wisconsin story before; they're a great regular season team but rarely seem to get over the tournament hurdle. Wisconsin has struggled on the road this season; I wouldn't be surprised to see them fall early on a neutral court. Then again, it's been a crazy ride for Wisconsin sports teams this year-who knows what's in store in March?

5. It's tough to pick between JaJuan Johnson and Jordan Taylor, but it's hard to argue with a kid who leads the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio and consistently puts his team on his back. 


1. Ohio State and Purdue.  These two teams are by far the best two teams in the Big Ten, in my opinion.  The studs of JaJuan Johnson and Jared Sullinger get to clash one final time.  Also, it would show who the better coach, player, etc. is. 

2. It’s got to be Penn State.  The team has two really good players in Talor Battle and Jeff Brooks.  The Nittany Lions have confidence with whoever they are playing. 

 3. No way.  With Tom Izzo as your coach and Kalin Lucas as your leader, the sky will always be the limit for Michigan State.  If the team gels together, the Spartans will march on to the second weekend.


 4. Wisconsin, no doubt.  I just never trust them, especially with the style of play they use.  The Badgers never seem to transform their game into the right way once the NCAA Tournament begins.


 5. JaJuan Johnson.  The reasoning?  He can make any shot on the court.  He shows dominance and leadership. 


BT Hoops:


1.) Ohio State and Purdue. I think these two teams are the best in the Big Ten. They split the season series in the regular season with each team winning at home. It would be interesting to see this matchup on a neutral court. Sullinger vs Johnson, one more time, is something I would like to see.

2.) Penn State, assuming Michigan is already in. Penn State has a good team. At one point this season they were rolling over top 25 ranked teams. Their downfall has been the road, so on a neutral court, anything is possible. 

3.) I would be shocked. Michigan State's record this year indicates what they are. They have lost to many key players and just aren't poised to make a Final Four run this year. This isn't like any of the other years where they had the cast to go with the star, they lost key players in their supporting cast. At this point, they might not even get in.. they will need a good performance in the Big Ten Tournament. It's time to give another Big Ten team a shot at the Final Four.

4.) St. Johns for sure. On a neutral court, they can be deadly, I mean they technically play at a neutral site for their home games. It would be interesting to see them play Purdue with Steve Lavin and Gene Keady now on the Red Storm staff. 

5.) JaJuan Johnson because I think he is the best player in the Big Ten this year. He can hit shots from anywhere and knows how to rebound. Awesome player.


1. Michigan State - Illinois: I'm not sure if this matchup could happen until the later rounds based on the seeds, but I think it would be a good one.  The two teams that have had the most disappointing seasons would make for an interesting game. Both teams need to have a good showing to prove that they belong in the NCAAs. A lot of times, for whatever reasons, the marquee matchups between the top teams in
the BTT either fail to materialize or aren't very good games.

2. Penn State: By process of elimination. Minnesota hasn't been able to win since Nolen got hurt. I don't think Northwestern can string together 4 games in a row. Iowa and Indiana just aren't good enough, although Iowa is playing a lot better than Indiana at this point. Penn State has played pretty solid against teams in conference play.

3. Yes, I would be very surprised if MSU did much in the tournament. They were very lucky in their Final Four run last year. They were a 5 seed and their toughest opponent in that run was 6 seed Tennessee.
That doesn't happen very often.

4. George Mason. They have done it before in the tournament.

5. Lewis Jackson: He would be the fastest player on the court, and his strong on-ball defense would make it hard for the opponent to get into their offense. Jackson would be able to get to the rim and either score himself or draw the defense in and kick it out to a perimeter shooter. It seems like there is no shortage of perimeter shooters in rec leagues.


1. Ohio State-Purdue. A rubber matchup between the two best teams in the Big Ten would be a fitting culmination to a great Big Ten season. A matchup between Sullinger and Johnson, arguably the two best players in the conference, would be a treat.


2. Penn State. I think Iowa has a decent shot to pull an upset in Round 1 but they dont have the talent or depth to make a deep run. Penn State has a very winnable first game against Indiana and then they would play Wisconsin, a team they have beaten this year. It would be a long shot, but Battle is a player that can carry a team on his back.


3. I would be surprised but not shocked. I never like betting against Tom Izzo but this year Spartans team is just not great in my opinion. Lucas and Green are fantastic but the rest of the team is just too inconsistent to make a deep run.


4. Going off the predicted seeds in ESPN's Bracketology, I think George Mason or Tennessee could pull an upset. George Mason had a 16 game winning streak before today and have done it before and Tennessee, though inconsistent, has the length and size to compete with a Big Ten team and they have beaten Pittsburgh, Villanova, and Vanderbilt (2x)


5. I would go with Talor Battle. He could get to the basket at will and if defenses laid off of him, he is lethal shooting from the perimeter and can take over any type of game.



1.  Ohio State-Purdue - Both have been lights out at home, and they have both been good on the road as well (minus Iowa for Purdue).  A final season matchup of the two best teams in the conference to finally decided who has what it takes to win in March.  Way too interesting to pass up.

2.  Penn State because they are so streaky.  I would love to see a hot shooting Nittany Lions team come in and blast through some of the higher seeds.  It would be a nice culimination for Taylor Battle's career as well.
3.  I would be very surprised if Michigan State made a deep run this year.  They are just not the same team.  After I watched Purdue take it to them on their own court I was convinced they were not any good.  Watch me eat my words in the BTT.
4.  St. Johns (even if they are not at the garden), Arizona and UConn.  They are all good teams that have a star that takes games over, and they are also all very athletic.  I could see them giving most B1G teams trouble in the open court.
5.  JaJuan Johnson because he would be taller then everyone else in this league and can play off any offensive situation and completely embarress everyone else.  He is also the scariest shot blocker in the B1G and I cannot see some JV super star driving on him and not getting it sent into the rafters.

Want to voice your own opinion on the matter? Be sure to put your own answers in the comments!