Steve Helwagen, the Big Ten senior writer for 247Sports.com, conducted a Chat on Wednesday on the Big Ten message board.
Award candidates Cody Zeller of Indiana, Jared Sullinger of OSU and Draymond Green of MSU.
The archive of the Chat is below. Steve conducts these Chats on a weekly basis for 247Sports.com Big Ten fans. Thanks for participating!
OldOaken: Who is your Big Ten player of the year? Sully or Green?
Helwagen: Great question. I'd say they are the two leading candidates, far and away. The good news is we will see their teams playing each other twice over the next month and that will help solve it.
If one team sweeps the other and one team wins the Big Ten outright, that could sway the voting in that player's advantage.
Green has had 12 double-doubles and Sullinger has had 10.
Sullinger is third in the Big Ten in scoring (17.4), second in rebounding (9.1) and fourth in FG percentage (58.1), also eighth in steals (1.5). 15th in blocks (0.8)
Green is 10th in scoring (14.8), first in rebounding (10.5) and 10th in assists (3.5), 10th in steals (1.5), 9th in blocks (1.0).
It is basically a wash in terms of the stats.
Green does so much for MSU. I guess I'd go there now. But if OSU sweeps MSU and Sullinger plays well, he should get it. Lot of basketball left to settle it.
spongeworthy: Steve, predict Ohio State's record in football in 2012. Thx!
Helwagen: Oh man, that's a toughie. Let's run it down ...
Miami (Ohio) W
at MSU ?
at Indiana W
at Penn State W
at Wisconsin ?
I don't think they go 12-0 because somewhere in there a break will probably lead to a loss. The two most likely losses would be at MSU and at Wisconsin.
Let's say 10-2 or 11-1. I'll go 11-1.
spongeworthy: Steve, do you agree Purdue has a decent shot at winning the Leaders Division in 2012 considering OSU will be ineligible, Wisconsin will be down (IMO) and Penn State will be crap?
Helwagen: Oh, I dunno. I think it's still Wisconsin's to lose even with all of the changes and a new QB and six new assistants. They still have Montee Ball and enough good players back on defense (even if that wasn't their strong suit).
But I look for Purdue and Illinois to both be improved. If one of them can jump up and beat Wisconsin or PSU or OSU, that would help their chances.
I'm not writing PSU off. McGloin should be back at QB. They have some holes to fill on defense, but they could be 9-3 or thereabouts.
If you asked me for a top down it would be OSU (ineligible), Wisconsin, PSU, Illinois, Purdue, Indiana.
johnwic11: Steve besides Braxton who do you think will emerge as this years playmaker on offense?
Helwagen: Verlon Reed and Devin Smith could be guys to step up at receiver.
They need Jordan Hall to become a playmaker at tailback and catching balls out of the backfield. Between Hyde, Smith, Ball and Dunn, they will have a serviceable tailback.
Those are the guys I look at. I also want to see what Michael Thomas brings at WR. And how about Stoneburner? Can he get 4 catches a game in this offense?
DefendYtown: Feelings on Diggs?
Helwagen: I think it's either Maryland or Ohio State. Hearing signals both ways. A couple of our 247 guys think it's Maryland. I would only be making a guess. Meyer closed on such a roll and this is the one piece they really want/need for the spread offense. I'm going to say OSU.
DefendYtown: And Ill also ask if you think PSU will look any diff under new coach BOB. Especailly form the offense side
Helwagen: They can't help but be better offensively. My guess is they will have more of a pro style look. He inherits McGloin and Redd, two decent pieces. But they need play makers and OL to help the cause. The first year may not look like much, but my guess is they will be decent offensively in the years to come. The key will be to maintain the strides they've made on defense at the same time.
Zach Osterman: Who is your Big Ten freshman of the year: Burke or Zeller?
Helwagen: Great question ... again, look at the stats ....
Zeller: 8th in scoring (15.1), fifth in rebounding (6.4), first in FG pct (64.9), fifth in blocks (1.4), 11th in steals (1.4)
Burke: 13th in scoring (14.1), second in assists (4.9), seventh in assist-TO ratio (1.8).
I think it's Zeller, but Burke has been a big key. They split their 2 games.
TASBadger: What do you make of the Wisconsin-Ohio St. rivalry? Is all of the off-season stuff making this into one of the Big Ten's best? Especially with the yearly match-ups in the same division. Obviously this won't be bigger than Ohio St.-Michigan, but hard to find another match-up that brings drama and competitiveness IMO.
Helwagen: I think the way it's gone down the last few years, yeah, there is a great rivalry there. This even goes back to 2003, when Wisconsin spoiled OSU's unbeaten season. They did the same up there in 2010. OSU stole one at the end this past year in Columbus.
The games have been awesome and the stakes have been high. They are the top 2 going in that division and it will be war when they play for years to come.
OSU-Michigan just got interesting again with UM's win. But, yeah, I think some think Wisconsin is OSU's next big rival right now. And the off-season stuff only fuels it. It has died down now, but will be brought back up in the fall.
bourney22: Caryer had a good article about Sully staying or leaving after this season. It's one of those things where in college basketball, the longer you stay in school----the more youre game be picked apart (I.E.--Sully & Harrison Barnes).
Part#1 What % chance do you have of Sully coming back for his junior season? There's always a chance for injuries as well (I.E.---Oden)
Part#2 What are the chances that Sully gets his jersey retired at OSU (contingent upon him winning NPOY)?!?
Helwagen: Part 1, I put it at less than 30 percent that he returns. ESPN has him as the No. 7 pick. I think he'd like to stay and maybe even play 4 years because it's fun. But he also can set himself up for life by leaving.
Part 2, I think he's one of 4-5 candidates now for national POY. That will be determined on how OSU closes the regular season. They can't lose games they aren't supposed to lose. If he plays well, he has a shot at it. I'd say 15-20 percent chance.
jackrizzle24: Do you think Philly Brown can Be a difference maker in the Percy Harvin Role? I always felt we was more of a hybrid than a pure receiver
Helwagen: You may be on to something. Brown was an RB, primarily, in high school. He has the ability to be that kind of player if he can develop some consistency in his game. He needs to put the drops behind him. He has a ton of ability.
BuckeyeBK: Who is the next commit for OSU? Do you see this class nearly full by end of summer?
Who is your favorite right now for NCAA in March? (UK?). and which team would give the Bucks fits? (UK?)
Helwagen: Next commit? Wow, they have some early offers out there. They are starting with 14 available spots and will probably end up signing 18-20 when all is said and done. I think if they decide to offer some guys they can have 9 or more verbaled by the start of the season.
I don't sense them waiting around. I honestly don't have a feel for who would be the next commit.
My NCAA favorite? If we could get a Final Four with Kentucky, Syracuse, OSU and whoever survives the Big 12 (Missouri, Kansas or Baylor), that would be a great 4-team event.
Syracuse plays that zone that you have to find spaces to exploit. Michigan went zone last week and it took them a while to adapt to that.
Kentucky is just abusing people in the SEC. Their youth has cost them the last 2 years in the tourney. But they seem to be the team to beat. I heard that some think they have 5-6 pros on their team.
buckeye_mikey69: 1. Steve, do you think BOB will be a mainstay at PSU? If not, what's your bet on how long he lasts?
2. How much of an impact will Brady Hoke's first full recruiting class make at UM?
3. Tim Beckman-- Will he be an improvement over Zook or vice versa? In what ways, I.E. recruiting, playcalling, assistant hiring, training, etc.?
Helwagen: 1. I met him last week in Indy at the media day and was very impressed with him. He is a serious guy. His players swear by him as well. I think he will do a good job there. The key will be to get top players from PA and the Mid-Atlantic area to go there and fit his system. I think he's there at least 4-5 years and more if he can win a division title in that stretch. Not going to be easy, though.
2. They got a great class. They got help on the DL with Pipkins and Wormley, at LB with Bolden and Ringer and the OL with Kalis and Magnuson. Those were areas they needed to fortify. If all of those guys come through in the next 2-3 years, they should be in the mix in their division.
3. Beckman will be an improvement. His first recruiting class was not all that well received. The key will be to get Chicagoland's best to go to Champaign. They should have a better advantage there, but they really don't. It's like 2.5-3 hours down to Champaign. It's not real close by. Kids can easily go other places (Wisconsin, Iowa, Purdue, MSU etc.) and it's not that much farther. If they can get their share of top players out of there, they will be fine.
ForeverNuts: Evan Spencer... I think with Meters help, this kid is going to shoot out of the gates too.. what's your take on him? Fresh last year.. little playing time but maybe best catch I seen all year..
Helwagen: I like Evan. He is a bright kid. He has a chance to help this offense a lot. I liken him a bit to Brian Robiskie, similar pedigree and skill set. I want to see how he comes back in 2012.
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