A Hypothesis for B1G Mediocrity in Pre-Conference This Season

  • @wissoxfan83

    In another thread you and another poster commented that the B1G was struggling this year in pre-conference; this prompted me wonder why?

    Hypothesis time.

    The problem faced by the Big Ten/B1G/etc. Conference appears to be three fold.

    But before I specify those, let me delineate three apparent classes of talent and four classes of talent stacking in D-I hoops.

    1.) 3-4Y–Players recruited and expected to be on the roster 3-4 years. Call them 3-4Y.

    2.) 1-2AF–So-so players recruited to be used for a year or two and flushed when better talent can be signed. Call them 1-2AF.

    3.) OAD/TAD–Players recruited to be played from the start that are intended to go pro after one year, or two years on the team.

    Also let me delineate three apparent classes of stacking.

    A.) Non-stacked–No OAD/TADs, and no 1-2AFs, just 3-4Y players.

    B.) Stacked–refers to 1-3 OAD/TADs, as appears to be observable at certain adidas programs, like KU.

    C.) Deep Stacked–refers to 4-5 OAD/TADs, as appears to be observed at Nike-UA, and Nike-Duke this season.

    D.) Black Stacked–inexplicably, and counter intuitively deeply stacked talent, like what one appears to see at Nike-UK–10 deep in Mickey Ds.

    NOTE: It is assumed that everything that enables the apparent stacking strata of talent and the classes of talent being stratified are triggered by legal phenomena.

    With these terms defined, then, it is hypothesized that the B1G problems arise from three possible factors.

    I.) The powers that be in OAD/TAD talent distribution bidness (i.e., not the traditional college recruiting bidness, but the apparently quite separate and emerging OAD/TAD talent distribution bidness) appear unwilling to stack one of their teams, as Nike-UK, Nike-UA, and Nike-Duke appear to be stacked, for reasons that would be very interesting to understand (and which I don’t yet grasp). And the powers that be in the same apparently emerging OAD/TAD talent distribution bidness appear to be treating Tom Crean and Indiana like other elite adidas schools appear to get treated, i.e., he gets no more than 2-3 OAD/TAD types per season. As a result, none of the B1G teams are talented enough to compete well with the apparently stacked teams.

    II.) The reputed African American migration from the inner cities and playground culture to the suburbs without an equivalently strong playground culture, combined with summer league early syphoning off of players from what remains of the inner city play ground culture, has shrunk the once vast supply of basketball talent coming out of inner cities of the Great Lakes States that was once strongly biased toward attending certain dominant universities in those states. As a result, th B1G coaches apparently can’t get the players any more in the numbers they once did, that gave them great advantage over the cupcake teams, mid majors and majors on their pre-conference schedules.

    III.) The B1G used to officiate and play a significantly rougher game of basketball, than was found in many other major and minor conferences around the country. Now, most other conferences officiating and play has grown nearly as rough as the B1G. And what little edge in experience the B1G still held in rough play, has been further diminished by recent changes in officiating imposed on all conferences that have made some parts of the game be called tighter and some looser.

    So: the combined effect of I, II, III have brought the once dominant B1G to a temporary mediocrity. Such fluctuations up and down of course have always also been driven to some extent by random fluctuations in recruiting, and in coincidental clustering of arrivals and departures. But since these factors have always contributed in all the conferences, and likely always will, it is assumed unnecessary to explicitly disaggregate them for analysis. Since, the effects they have contributed in the past have rarely if ever diminished the B1G to this years level of mediocrity, the hypothesized factors I, II, and III, which have grown increasingly significant only in recent years, are considered significant drivers of the phenomenon.


  • I think it is simpler than all of that, honestly.

    Who is the best recruiter in the Big 10 right now? I’d probably go with Thad Matta as tops in the conference. Second best would probably be Beilein at Michigan or Izzo at MSU. After that, I would argue that the Big 10 does not have another top recruiter in the conference. That’s a killer.

    Class of 2014, the B1G as a conference signed 8 top 50 recruits among 14 schools (or however many there are now). Class of 2013, 4. Class of 2012, 8. Class of 2011, 6. In that time, the B1G did not have a single top 10 recruit sign in conference. Think about that. 4 years and they haven’t signed a single top 10 recruit. The last top 10 recruit to sign with a B1G school was Jared Sullinger with Ohio State. They went to the Final Four behind him.

    When you are competing nationally, you have to have the horsepower and the B1G does not. They have a lot of teams trying to win with under the radar players, but you aren’t going to find enough under the radar players to outfit an entire conference. They have 26 top 50 recruits in the last four years. KU, UK, UNC and Duke have signed 28 top 50 players in the last two years.

    Jabari Parker out of Chicago went to Duke. Cliff Alexander came to KU. Jahlil Okafor is at Duke. Put those three guys in B1G uniforms and some power will shift. I bet Minnesota or Iowa would love to have Tyus Jones, but he’s at Duke, too.Trey Lyles is from Indianapolis, but shunned the Hoosiers for Kentucky. Kevin Looney left the chill of Milwaukee for the sunshine and sand of LA at UCLA. And that’s just guys they lost from their own footprint. They are also missing on guys outside their area.

    If the B1G doesn’t adapt with stronger recruiters, especially at Indiana, Illinois and Maryland, they will continue to fall behind nationally.

  • Interesting take JB.

    I think another angle is the lack of elite coaches. Bo is knocking on the door of elite. Izzo is there. Matta is knocking on the door. After that it drops way off. Crean is still smarting from losing to KU 70-30 in the final four in 2003. You think an elite coach is losing a game by 40 in the 2nd half in the final four? Me neither.

    Matt Painter has taken Purdue down the road to irrelevancy. I really had hopes for him.

    The jury is out on Pitino at Minny. Tough place to win though.

    Groce just can’t get kids to come to Illinois either, @justanotherfan pointed the recruiting problems out wonderfully.

    Matta has a sort of Rick Barnes complex, good/great recruiter, but x’s and 0’s not so much.

    Beilein almost won a ring a couple years back but didn’t survive some auspicious officiating. I think that’s as close as he gets to cutting the nets.

    Turgeon we’re all pulling for, the jury’s out, but I’d be surprised if he makes it.

    But the recruiting is the big thing. Cliff would not have been able to step foot in the city of Chicago if he had pulled off his hat trick 20 years ago. The depression of Detroit and Flint I’d guess is a big factor in Izzo’s pipeline being less than full. He barely had to recruit. But the key to the Big1G is Chicago which produces enough talent to stock many teams and they leave for other leagues.

    I was checking out Tarik and BMac last night, who were playing against each other, and there’s Patrick Beverly for Houston, scoring a bunch of points. A graduate of Marshall HS in Chicago who escaped the city/conference and went to Arkansas of all places. The U of I always used to get those guys. Brunson is the latest, from the suburbs of Chicago to Villanova. What the heck is wrong with these kids? Villanova? Really?

    I hope it comes back. Football doesn’t matter to me that much, but basketball does and it sucks to see the league being outperformed nationally by all the major conferences.

  • And right on cue Indiana blows a 12 point second half lead to Eastern Washington, the school with the red football field and loses on their hallowed home court.

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