Remember, it’s not "B1G," it’s “Big.”
The men’s college basketball season starts Friday. I’ll be in West Lafayette, Ind., that night, the same night Purdue is playing Northern Kentucky. I will somehow avoid the temptation to go to Mackey Arena, given that Northern Kentucky, given that the Norse were 332nd in the nation last year in points per game and 301st in field goal percentage.
Many a Northern Kentucky is on the nonconference schedules of Big Ten teams. We’ll get into that in a bit. But first, my favorite snippets from Big Ten coaches at the league’s Media Day last week. Starting with Nebraska’s Tim Miles.
“I see we’re picked 12th out of 12th again. And it’s not just by you guys. I see it’s by everybody. Like anybody, you take that to heart a little bit. I remember I was looking at all the things, and I wanted to feel better. And I came home to talk to my wife and she says ‘Why aren’t you out recruiting?’ Getting no slack at home.
“I understand why we are. Facts in life are really interesting. I’ve always tried to ignore them.
“I take the Mayville State job, all these places you guys have never heard of. They’ve been 2-22, 2-22 we win. Southwest Minnesota State had one winning season in 13, and we find out how to win. North Dakota State goes through the Division II to Division I transition, and I tried to call everybody that had made the same transition, and they had all been fired. And the one guy says to me: ‘Are they trying to get rid of you?’
“Colorado State starts and it’s a debacle, we go 0-16. And in Nebraska we’re not viewed as much, obviously. … I’m a dreamer. I really do believe in Nebraska. I really do believe in what we are doing and how we can do it.”
Ohio State beat Division II Walsh in a Sunday exhibition, 93-63. The Buckeyes had a 52-26 edge in rebounds and blocked 12 shots.
I hear people talking Michigan State, Michigan. But Ohio State still has Aaron Craft, LaQuinton Ross, Amir Williams, Lenzelle Smith Jr., Sam Thompson ...
The Minneapolis Star Tribune had a Sunday feature on new Gophers coach Richard Pitino. Here's a snippet from Amelia Rayno's interesting story:
“I tried to talk them all out of coaching, every one of them,” Rick said of his children, shaking his head as he tried to keep his lips from curling into a smile. He stopped and motioned his head toward Richard.
“He’s the only son that doesn’t listen to me.”
Pitino's team beat NAIA school Cardinal Stritch Friday in an exhibition, 79-57. Junior college transfer Deandre Mathieu had nine assists.
Minnesota got outrebounded, 40-34. But the Gophers played an uptempo game, and had 11 steals. Pitino used 11 players in the first half.
Two Sunday exhibition scores:
Illinois 83, Northwood University 67
Penn State 98, Northwood University 61.
The first Northwood is from Midland, Mich. The latter is from West Palm Beach, Fla.
They were two different stories. Illinois trailed 48-47 in the second half, and had a 1-for-19 stretch of shooting. Drake transfer Rayvonte Rice led the Illini out of the darkness with back-to-back 3-pointers on his way to 16 points.
Penn State fans saw the return of terrific guard Tim Frazier, after he missed almost all of last season because of an Achilles injury. He got a medical redshirt for a fifth season. Frazier had 11 points and six assists in 26 minutes. The Big Ten is a better league with Frazier in it.
Two Northwoods. Two Augustanas. Iowa beat Augustana (Ill.) Sunday, 87-65, while Iowa State beat Augustana (S.D), 90-68.
Now let's list the regular-season openers and the visitors' 2012-13 records:
Illinois: Friday vs. Alabama State (10-22)
Indiana: Friday vs. Chicago State (11-22)
Iowa: Friday vs. UNC-Wilmington (10-20)
Michigan: Friday vs. UMass-Lowell (15-13 as a Division II program)
Michigan State: Friday vs. McNeese State (14-17)
Minnesota: Friday vs. Lehigh (21-10)
Nebraska: Friday vs. Florida Gulf Coast (26-11)
Northwestern: Saturday vs. Eastern Illinois (11-21)
Ohio State: Saturday vs. Morgan State (17-15)
Penn State: Saturday vs. Wagner (19-12)
Purdue: Friday vs. Northern Kentucky (11-16)
Wisconsin: Friday vs. St. John's (17-16) in Sioux Falls, S.D.
Good for Nebraska and Wisconsin for starting out with a bit of a bang. Let's close with more from Tim Miles:
"Connie (Nebraska women's basketball coach Connie Yori) and I are both picked 12th in the league. She's 12th in the country, I'm 12th in the league."