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Big 10 Things I Know I Think: We Have Real Basketball!

Nick Ward is bad, Cassius Winston is better than what we saw, Duke is ELITE and Carsen Edwards puts on a show.

Syracuse v Michigan State Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Every Wednesday I’m going to comprise a list of 10 things I know I think because that’s literally the only way I can navigate my brain during basketball season. This is a communal place, so if there are things you know you think, share them in the comments below and together, we can figure the Big Ten out together.

  1. I know I think that a Big Ten team shouldn’t be in the Champions Classic for a while. I personally love Tom Izzo, but they’ve lost three straight Champions Classic games including a 48-point performance back in 2016 (people don’t forget). Can we just sub in Villanova already? After all, it’s no secret that the Big Ten is in a bit of a dry spell when it comes to actual championships. The last title the conference claims was all the way back in 2000. The last one before what was 1989. Do you know how old I was in 2000? I was 12. Do you know how much basketball has changed since 2000? Duke just scored 118-points playing position-less basketball... that’s how much. Unless there is a preseason NIT Champions Classic that I’m not aware of (five NIT titles since 2000), it’s time to get a UNC or Villanova in on this.
  2. Despite only losing by five points (and covering, btw) to Kansas, that game was never that close. Part of the reason was because of the turnovers and missed free throws. If the Spartans have aspirations of running deep into March, they’re going to have to do better than 23-35 from the line and eliminate any further 18-turnover games, like, ASAP.
  3. Speaking of free throws, with about 12 minutes left in the first half, the Spartans shot 23 of their 35-total free throws while only making 12 of them. In that same time span, they attempted 15 field goals (if my bad math is correct) and only made four of them. It’s no wonder why they were down 14-points at the half. When you have that many opportunities and squander them away, it’s hard to win a basketball game.
  4. I don’t want to beat a dead horse, but Nick Ward, once again, should not be starting. I don’t really know what it is that Tom Izzo sees in his big man, but I think he’d be better off playing for Mark Dantonio at this point. He’ll probably be fine in Big Ten play, but against elite teams like Kansas, his slow feet and flailing is borderline useless.
  5. You know how we used to make fun of Perry Ellis being so old? Well, if there was such a thing as the Fountain of Youth, I think Matt McQuaid is the only person that knows where it is. I know I know he stopped maturing once he became a teenager. Also, is there anyone more erratic to watch than him? Sometimes he’s smooth and other times it looks like he’s having a panic attack in the middle of a basketball game on live television.
  6. Cassius Winston is a better player than what we witnessed last night. I think the game getting so out of hand early forced him to press offensively and that’s just not his game... yet. The dude has some of the best vision with the ball in his hands and when the offense comes to him, there aren’t many point guards better than him in the Big Ten and maybe the country.
  7. Can I talk about Duke for a quick second? I can? Great. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a college basketball performance like the one I saw last night. Not only were the four freshman entertaining as all get out, but you could see how much they loved playing together and that made the experience that much better.
  8. It’s so unfortunate for them though that they have to waste this season in college basketball. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not some NBA snob, but you can’t tell me that after watching those dudes play — in particular Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett, and Cam Reddish — that they shouldn’t be in the NBA right now. It was obvious five minutes into the game. The one and done ultimately hurts the college basketball product and it was never more evident than it was last night. While it’s fun to have these guys in our game, they don’t belong here.
  9. There isn’t a worse streaming platform than BTN Plus.
  10. Carsen Edwards and PJ Savoy of Florida State might be one of the best early season head-to-head match-ups we have on schedule. Both players went off last night from three point land in their respective match ups, with Edwards finishing 7-11 from long distance and Savoy finishing 5-7. Get your umbrellas ready November 28th.