There’s a lot to be said for stability. There’s even more to be said for good health.
Saturday, Wisconsin plays Iowa in men’s basketball. They are the only two teams in the Big Ten that have used the same starting lineup in every game this season, and just two of the 12 teams out of Division I’s 351 that have done so.
Iowa’s starting unit of Melsahn Basabe, Mike Gesell, Devyn Marble, Aaron White and Adam Woodbury have gotten the starting call every game. Ditto Wisconsin’s quintet of Ben Brust, Sam Dekker, Josh Gasser, Traevon Jackson and Frank Kaminsky.
First and foremost, this shows the two teams have been fortunate, health-wise. (So far, anyway. Wisconsin’s Ben Brust hurt his back at practice Wednesday and was held out of Thursday’s practice.) Michigan State, for instance, has been injury-plagued and has used 10 different starters. Michigan lost Mitch McGary to a season-ending back injury.
Some seasons are like that, and everybody gets their turns. Last season, nine different Hawkeyes started at least two games. Only White and Woodbury started each game. Marble missed one game to injury. Gesell missed four.
Through Wednesday, here are the other teams that have used just one starting lineup: Oklahoma, Cincinnati, Mercer, Providence, Campbell, Stanford, Missouri, Sam Houston State, Utah Valley, Massachusetts.
Through Wednesday, here are the number of different players that have started games for Big Ten teams: Purdue 11 (that’s right, 11), Michigan State 10, Indiana 9, Northwestern 9, Michigan 8, Minnesota 8, Illinois 7, Nebraska 7, Penn State 7, Ohio State 6, Iowa 5, Wisconsin 5.
The number of players who have started every game: Iowa 5, Wisconsin 5, Ohio State 4, Illinois 3, Penn State 3, Indiana 3, Michigan 2, Minnesota 2, Nebraska 2, Northwestern 1, Purdue 1, Michigan State 0.
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