This is a new weekly column for BTPowerhouse that will cover a variety of Big Ten topics that might not deserve a detailed breakdown, but deserve mention. It will be similar to a news roundup with more thoughts and analysis.
So, let’s jump into our Morning Power Bar.
1. BTN releases its all-decade team.
We’re officially in Mount Rushmore season, folks.
If you’ve followed college sports on a regular basis, you know this time of year is filled with preseason predictions, all-time player rankings, and various retrospectives on teams.
Well, BTN tapped into a lot of those veins this week as it released its All-Decade Team:
Obviously, that’s a killer list of 16 players and every single one deserves a lot of respect and appreciation. The All-Big Ten teams are generally loaded with talent and those composed of players from a single season. And this is a list of the best players over a decade, so we’re talking about an even deeper talent pool. Every guy here had a great career.
But with all of that said . . . I have some issues.
Let’s begin with the first team. No disrespect to Denzel Valentine, but I’m not really sure how the BTN Committee picked him over a number of guys on the second team. Yes, his 2015-’16 season was great, but Cassius Winston played at (or near) that level for his final two seasons in East Lansing, Jared Sullinger was at that level for his two years in Columbus, and Ethan Happ’s overall career numbers and achievements were ridiculous. Again, Valentine was a great player, but that one seemed like a reach to me.
It was also interesting to see players like Aaron Craft, Yogi Ferrell, Jordan Murphy, and D’Angelo Russell make it over potential choices like Keita Bates-Diop, Luka Garza, Malcolm Hill, Nik Stauskas, Melo Trimble, and Moritz Wagner. Not saying I would have switched all, but it’s crazy to think three players (Bates-Diop, Garza, and Stauskas) who won Big Ten Player of the Year didn’t do enough to make the cut here. Add in Hill’s insane career numbers, Trimble’s overall production, and Wagner’s postseason play and there are certainly some folks who can complain about some of these rankings.
Perhaps the most surprising of the group included was Murphy. He had a great career and was certainly one of Minnesota’s better players of the decade, but he played four years with the Gophers and earned first-team honors once. Murphy’s career rebounding numbers are ridiculous, I get that. It’s just hard to think someone who played on two NCAA teams in four years that earned first-team honors once deserved to be picked over three players that won Big Ten Player of the Year honors.
2. Xavier Tillman shows out in recent NBC Mock Draft
Although we’re already deep into June now, there are still a few players weighing their NBA Draft options. And one of those players is Michigan State’s Xavier Tillman. Well, his stock continues to climb and that showed out in a recent NBC Sports article, where he came in at the 23rd pick overall. Other projected first round picks included Maryland’s Jalen Smith (27th), Minnesota’s Daniel Oturu (28th), and Michigan State’s Cassius Winston (29th).
We’ll now have to wait and see whether Tillman stays in the Draft or decides to return to East Lansing for another go around.
3. Five Big Ten teams landed in preseason top 25 rankings.
NBC Sports recently updated its preseason top 25 rankings and a number of Big Ten teams were fortunate enough to make the cut. They were:
- No. 5 - Michigan State
- No. 8 - Iowa
- No. 14 - Wisconsin
- No. 19 - Rutgers
- No. 20 - Michigan
- Just Missed: Ohio State, Indiana
Personally, I would probably swap Iowa and MSU, bump Wisconsin higher, and drop Michigan at least a few spots, but there isn’t too much to complain about here. With seven teams in serious top 25 consideration already we could be set for another exciting year.
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