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Iowa: The Hawkeyes started the Big Ten season 0-2 after winning 12 of their 13 non-conference games with their only loss coming at the hands of North Carolina. They now have a full week off after their 61-48 loss at Ohio State to try and straighten things out. Some of the players have been "grumbling" a bit as of late. Team captain Jeff Horner stated after the Buckeye game, "We were alive, and now it seems like everybody’s dead." Head coach Steve Alford is concerned about the Hawkeyes slow starts so far in Big Ten play. They trailed Michigan at halftime by 14 points in their conference home opener, and then were behind by 15 at the break at Ohio State. Alford said he will work on improving Iowa’s sluggish starts this week in practice. The Hawkeyes host an improving Minnesota team on Saturday.
Michigan: Just when it looked like Michigan might be a bit closer to full strength, back comes the injury bug. The Wolverines already lost their best player (Lester Abram) for the season to a shoulder injury. They also lost starting center Graham Brown to a hernia problem, which he had to have surgery on. Brown looks like he will be able to return in a few weeks. Starting point guard Daniel Horton returned to the line up for the Iowa game after missing six games due to an injured knee. Horton gave the Wolves a huge boost scoring 13 points off the bench in their upset win over Iowa. With Horton back, it looked like Michigan might be able to finally start chasing some of its potential and be a surprise team in the Big Ten. The Wolverines still may, however now more injuries to report. Starting forward Chris Hunter (11 points per game, four rebounds per game) injured his ankle vs. Iowa and did not play Saturday against Fairfield. He has not practiced since and may not play Wednesday night vs. Northwestern. Also, key reserve Brent Petway (eight PPG, six RPG) who actually took Hunter’s spot in the starting line up vs. Fairfield, separated his shoulder in that game and was going to attempt to practice on Tuesday. He may also have to sit out the Wolves conference home opener vs. the Wildcats on Wednesday.
UW Milwaukee: The Panthers schedule has been hellacious, and it’s starting to have an effect on them. They were on the road the entire month of December (six-game road trip). Stops along the way included Kansas, Wisconsin, St. Louis and Manhattan (New York City). UWM then came home for a game vs. Detroit on Jan. 3rd (a loss). Three days later they were playing in Indianapolis and pulling out a come from behind overtime win vs. Butler. Two days after that (last Saturday, Jan 8th) the Panther were back at home beating Loyola – Chicago. In that game, UWM players admitted to being tired and having little energy despite the 17-point win. Two key starters, Adrian Tigert and Joah Tucker, admitted to having no energy during the game last Saturday. Head coach Bruce Pearl gave his team Sunday off. UWM now travels to Youngstown State on Wednesday before heading home to meet arch rival UW Green Bay on Saturday.
Wisconsin: (This info is being presented before the Badgers play Ohio State on Tuesday Night). The Badgers now are back home for two games vs. OSU on Tuesday night and Michigan State on Sunday after losing at Indiana last Saturday. Wisconsin has been incredible at home winning 36 straight games. Not only have the Badgers been winning, they have also been covering the spread at an amazing rate in the Kohl Center. UW is 28-9 ATS (75.6 percent) its last 37 home games. Badger starting forward and leading scorer, Alando Tucker, hurt his leg in practice on Sunday and did not practice on Monday. He is listed as 'questionable' for Tuesday’s game and it looks like he will not play. We will keep an eye on this situation.
Northwestern: The Wildcats leading scorer, Vedran Vukusic (16 PPG), injured his shoulder in last Saturday’s blowout loss at Michigan State. Vukusic injured the same shoulder he had surgically repaired which kept him out of the entire 2002-03 season. He did re-enter the game after the injury and scored nine points. However he did have on a shoulder brace following the game. It’s not expected to be too serious, however his status for Wednesday’s game at Michigan is up in the air.
Kansas: They Jayhawks scored a huge road win on Sunday when they went into Kentucky and won, 65-59. The victory "improved" their record vs. Kentucky to 4-19 SU, although the two teams had not met since the 1999 season. However, the win was costly to the Jayhawks. KU, who is already without pre-season All-American Wayne Simien who is recovering from a thumb injury, lost two other starters and one key reserve during the Kentucky game. Second leading scorer Keith Langford sustained a concussion diving for a loose ball and may not be able to play Wednesday at Iowa State. Starting forward Christian Moody sprained his ankle in the game and was unable to walk on it when they returned to Lawrence later that night. He is 'questionable' at best for the ISU game. Finally, reserve guard Russell Robinson has a scratched cornea and has been experiencing some blurred vision. Head coach Bill Self hopes to get Simien back in the line possibly by this weekend when they travel to Colorado or early next week.
Iowa State: Backup center Reggie George has been suspended from the team for violating a team policy. George, a 6’9 sophomore from Chicago, was a key contributor off of the bench in the Cyclones first 11 games. George averaged 13 minutes per game this year. He averaged 3.5 PPG and 2.3 RPG this season. Head coach Wayne Morgan isn’t sure when (or if) George will return to the team.
Memphis: The Tigers have had all kinds of problems this year from injuries to internal problems. After the Tigers seven-point loss at Texas last Thursday, two Memphis players "tangled" after the game in the locker room. Sophomore forward Sean Banks, who has already been suspended once this year, and forward Arthur Barclay got into an argument after the game and Banks emerged with a black eye. Barclay was forced by head coach John Calipari to fly home with the coaches that night while the rest of the team remained in Austin until Friday morning. Both played last Saturday in the Tigers' 14-point home win over Southern Miss. Also starting guard Jeremy Hunt, who has been out for five weeks due to a wrist injury, has been cleared to practice this week with the team. He will be available for Thursday’s home game vs. Marquette.
Bowling Green: BG has been very solid this year, sporting a 9-2 overall record and a perfect 3-0 ledger in the MAC. One of the main reasons is the team puts the ball in the basket with great efficiency. In fact, the Falcons shoot nearly 52 percent from the field as a team which ranks them fourth nationally in that aspect. Don’t expect that percentage to change drastically anytime soon. This team simply knows when to shoot it and when not too. In other words, they take very good shots. Head coach Dan Dakich has said that his team is extremely adept at shot selection. There have been very few times this year where Dakich has had to get on a player for taking a poor shot. With that being the case, BG will continue putting points on the board (74 PPG) and force opponents to play very well to beat them.