With four clear-cut big-dancers, the Big Ten oozes front-end quality. But with lower-seeded teams providing late season scares to perennial powers – see Michigan State barely escaping Penn State in East Lansing last week - look for some drama to unfold this Thursday thru Sunday in Indianapolis.
In the latest installement of his interview series CHN's Jon Teitel interviewed Mychal Thompson, who is widely regarded as one of the best players in the history of the University of Minnesota program. Thompson also won a pair of NBA titles with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Jon Teitel: You were born in the Bahamas, moved to Miami during high school, and decided to attend college at Minnesota. How did you first get into the sport of basketball while everyone around you was playing soccer, and how did you survive the move north for college?
There are just eleven games on the Thanksgiving Day schedule with tournaments beginning in both Orlando (Old Spice Classic) and Anaheim (76 Classic) while play continues at the Great Alaska Shootout. The showcase game: #16 Minnesota taking on #10 Butler in the third quarterfinal of the day. This is going to be the first test of the season for Tubby Smith's team, who hasn't won any of their three games by less than 25 points. Four Golden Gophers are averaging in double figures, led by guard Lawrence Westbrook's 18.5 ppg.
With six teams in CHN's preseason Top 25, and 3 more teams with NCAA Tournament hopes, no league has more depth than the Big Ten. And an improving Indiana into the mix, and this should be quite a season for Big Ten fans.
Ranking players is more art then science. How do you compare the potential of freshmen with seniors who have already peaked? How much does physical talent come into play versus intangibles and experience? How big a role do numbers play?