In a week where the rich feasted on the everlasting poor like Leonardo DiCaprio did to that poor, poor Buffalo -- and horse, and fish, and bird -- it was kind of difficult to find those performances worthy of the label BTPoYoW... but like the Best Actor hopeful, I crawled through the cold snow and mud to make sure I deliver worthy players from both the winning and losing sides.
Muhammed-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, Michigan Wolverines
With Caris LeVert out against Purdue due to injury, Abdur-Rahkman clinched the proverbial bull by the horns in his stead, torching the Boilermakers for a career high 25 points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals on 10-16 shooting. 10-16! He's averaging less than six shots a game. To make his performance even more memorable is the fact that Michigan, as a team, only added 13 made shots around him.
Call this a homer pick, but any time a guy that averages less than twenty minutes a game comes off the bench and fills it up, it will always tug at my heart strings.
Even with the ugly end result -- a 17 point loss -- Jim Beilien seemed enthralled by his sophomore guard:
He’s got this ability — I call it an East Coast type of thing — where he can get buckets in the rim, in the rain, outdoors, indoors, crooked rim, anything. He just can find ways to score.
There's definitely something to that. Abdur-Rahkman didn't care that Purdue has one of the best defenses in the nation. He didn't care that A.J. Hammons is a behemoth in the paint. He attacked. He bullied. He forced his will and finished despite all of the contact.
Now the only question is if Beilien can find Abdur-Rahkman more consistent minutes to be able to get his East Coast on once LeVert comes back healthy? Michigan already runs an extremely small-ball eccentric lineup, but I have some interest in seeing how a Derrick Walton/Abdur-Rahkman/LeVert backcourt would function together.
Ethan Happ, Wisconsin Badgers
Ethan Happ is the ultimate Buzzcut. He embodies a Wisconsin Badger better than any one on the current roster. He's the essential -- and maybe last -- factory built Bo Ryan player. In fact, if a stranger to the game of Big Ten basketball came to me and asked me what it means to be a Buzzcut and then wondered what exactly a Bo Ryan player is, I'd just show them this Vine:
Look at the ball handling (he's 6'9"). Look at the pump fake. He's a walking Mikan Drill.
Against Maryland, the redshirt freshman was yanked out of the game early for missing between three and three hundred bunnies. When he checked back in, he kept on missing point blank shots, only he rebounded his own misses and dumped them back in. Seriously. Happ finished the game with 16 points and 11 rebounds -- four of which were offensive rebounds that I'm almost positive came off of his own misses.
Not only did he notch the double-double against the Big Ten's best team, but it's his league leading sixth double-double of the season.
He's a diamond in the rough (Happy was a three-star prospect according to ESPN). He's been lethal at the rim (shooting 56.8% inside the arch during conference play) and even better on the boards, grabbing 24.9% of Wisconsin's total for the season (8.2 per game). He's been the most consistent player on the Badgers roster this season and if Greg Gard can get Nigel Hayes to play as well as he did against Maryland on a consistent basis, Wisconsin could still salvage this season by riding the shoulders of those two.
Kam Williams and Marc Loving, Ohio State Buckeyes
Kam Williams does not fear large and wild felines. He laughs in their ferocious little faces on his way to dropping 21 points on 5-9 shooting from three. Against Northwestern, he was every bit the player Thad Matta has always dreamed he would be as a spark plug off the bench. A fearsome volume scorer that will torch second units that leaves him alone.
And he's done just that during the Ohio State winning streak, averaging 10 points per game (not including today's bought with Indiana) on 56.6% shooting from the field (52% from three). He can fill in for three different positions on the floor, which makes me one of the ultimate Swiss Army Knife type player in the conference.
What Williams did to the 'cats, Marc Loving did to the Fighting Illini (the state of Illinois didn't fare to well against the Buckeyes this past week), smoking the Chiefs for 27 points, seven rebounds and one block. He finished the game 5-8 from the field, 3-3 from three and 14-19 from the free throw line.
He was wreaking so much havoc inside the paint that the only thing the Illini could do was foul him and send him to the line. And when he couldn't find his way into the interior of Illinois' defense, he made sure to hurt them from deep. He started the contest making crucial plays and continued the trend in crunch time (9 points in the final two and a half minutes including a three, a dunk and nailing 3-4 opportunities from the charity stripe). This was his best game this season and a promising look into what exactly the junior is capable of when everything goes right (something that didn't happen against Indiana, but we'll discuss that later).
Melo Trimble, Maryland Terrapins
Last, but certainly not least, we have Melo Trimble, aka "The best point guard in the country"; aka "Mr. P&R"; aka "Onions the size of watermelons"; aka "I have no more words to describe what he did to Wisconsin, so I'm going to just leave you this highlight video to marvel at like I have seventeen times this morning":