Iowa isn't Big Ten basketball's big disappointment

Michigan State, picked to win conference, was No. 2 in own state

Published: March 10 2014 | 2:12 pm - Updated: 1 April 2014 | 9:23 am in

All news is local, or so we've been told.

If you only got your information from the cocoon of Eastern Iowa, you'd think Iowa was the biggest men's basketball flop in the Big Ten this season.

Granted, losing five of the last six games to finish 9-9 in the league is disappointment with a capital "D," and that rhymes with "P," and that stand for "Pool."

But a preseason poll of 24 writers who cover Big Ten hoops, organized by the Columbus Disptach's Bob Baptist, had Iowa pegged for fifth-place in the league. The Hawkeyes finished sixth. So, locals can measure underachieving any way they want, but the outside world didn't have the Hawkeyes as a top-three team in the league or a Top 25 team in the nation when this season began.

And, as it turns out, Iowa fell out of the Top 25 just as the regular-season ended. It's a circle come around that the Hawkeyes didn't want to come around, but I didn't want a winter chock full o' polar vortexes. You can't always get what you want.

The biggest disappointment in the Big Ten? Purdue. The Boilermakers were picked for seventh and finished alone in 12th. They lost at home to Northwestern on the final day of the season after the Wildcats had scored 32 measly points in their own home-finale, against Penn State.

What about Michigan State? The Spartans were a unanimous pick of the 24 writers to win the Big Ten. They tied for second, three games behind Michigan. That's disappointing.

Ohio State, once a Top Five team, were fifth in the conference after getting picked for third. That was a disappontment.

On the flip side, I can't remember a positive surprise the likes of Nebraska's. The Cornhuskers were tabbed for 12th. They finished fourth. Nobody, nobody, nobody saw it coming. Fabulous story.

Through the vagaries of the NCAA tournament, though, Ohio State and Iowa are safer bets to get NCAA tourney spots than the Huskers. Nebraska will be in a pressure-packed Big Ten quarterfinal Friday when it faces Ohio State (or Purdue if the Boilermakers spring a big upset).

The Big 12 had a monster disappointment in Oklahoma State. The league's 10 coaches split their first-place preseason ballots evenly between the Cowboys and Kansas, and all of them had the two 1-2 or 2-1. Oklahoma State was eighth.

Baylor, picked for third, tied for sixth. Texas, picked for eighth, tied Iowa State for third. The Cyclones didn't catch league coaches unaware. They were picked fourth in the preseason.

Here are the preseason polls, and how they finished:

BIG TEN

1. Michigan State, T2nd

2. Michigan, 1st

3. Ohio State, 5th

4. Wisconsin, T2nd

5. Iowa, 6th

6. Indiana, T8th

7. Purdue, 12th

8. Illinois, T8th

9. Minnesota, 7th

10. Northwestern, T10th

11. Penn State, T11th

12. Nebraska, 4th

BIG 12

T1: Kansas, 1st

T1: Oklahoma State, 8th

3. Baylor, T6th

4. Iowa State, T3rd

T5. Kansas State, 5th

T5: Oklahoma, 2nd

7. West Virginia, T6th

8. Texas, T3rd

9. Texas Tech, 9th

10. TCU, 10th

For more fun:

2013-14 PRESEASON ALL-BIG TEN TEAM

Mitch McGary, Michigan

Glenn Robinson III, Michigan

Gary Harris, Michigan State

Adreian Payne, Michigan State

Aaron Craft, Ohio State

Tim Frazier, Penn State

The postseason All-Big Ten first-team:

Gary Harris, Michigan State

Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin

Devyn Marble, Iowa

Terran Petteway, Nebraska

Nik Stauskas, Michigan

So that's quite a change from the preseason team, with only Harris going from preseason to postseason first-team.

Now, the Big 12:

Preseason All-Big 12 Team

Name, SchoolPos.Ht.Wt.Cl.Hometown/Previous School(s)
Isaiah Austin, BaylorC7-1225So.Arlington, Texas/Grace Preparatory Academy
Cory Jefferson, BaylorF6-9220Sr.Killeen, Texas/Killeen
Melvin Ejim, Iowa StateF6-6230Sr.Toronto, Ontario, Canada/Brewster Academy [N.H.]
Andrew Wiggins, KansasG6-8200Fr.Thornhill, Ontario, Canada/Huntington Prep [W. Va.]
Markel Brown, Oklahoma StateG6-3190Sr.Alexandria, La./Peabody
Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State**G6-4220So.Flower Mound, Texas/Marcus

All-Big 12 First TeamPos.Ht.Wt.Cl.Hometown/Previous School(s)
Melvin Ejim, Iowa State**F6-6220Sr.Toronto, Ontario, Canada/Brewster Academy [N.H.]
DeAndre Kane, Iowa StateG6-4200Sr.Pittsburgh, Pa./The Patterson School/Marshall
Andrew Wiggins, Kansas**G6-8200Fr.Vaughan, Ontario, Canada/Huntington Prep [W. Va.]
Marcus Smart, Oklahoma StateG6-4220So.Flower Mound, Texas/Marcus
Juwan Staten, West VirginiaG6-1190Jr.Dayton, Ohio/Oak Hill Academy/Dayton

Not as drastic a difference here, with Ejim, Smart and Wiggins living up to the preseason notice. It's interesting that of the five players, there are more players from Ontario than Big 12 country.

Brown was on the second-team, Jefferson on the third-team, and Austin was only honorable mention. Iowa State's Georges Niang was on the third-team.

Smart was the preseason Player of the Year. Harris was the Big Ten's pick. Good players. Heck, great players. But Ejim won the Big 12's award, and Stauskas will win the Big Ten's. Canadians, both.

Yet, if Canada wants to put its national-champion against the NCAA champ in mid-April, lotsa luck with that.

 
 
 

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