Part of my success in handicapping college basketball and delivering positive and profitable pointspread prognosis is listening to college coaches’ weekly teleconferences and picking up information that goes beyond the box scores, stats or even scheduling situations. Coaches may give you additional injury information or comment on their recent play, changes in style or how to handle an upcoming opponent. I’m always looking for additional nuggets and information that don’t necessarily show up in the box scores or translate to the betting line. Some of the conversation can be general discussion or overview, but at times I find it helpful to not only hear the coach discuss his teams play and upcoming opponent, but also provide their insight into player personnel, style of play or even analyze their team’s recent energy, effort and level of play.
Here are some quotes from this week’s Big Ten Coaches Teleconference. The Big Ten is arguably the best conference in the nation this season, and according to Kenpom rankings, currently No. 1. I also believe the Big Ten has the finest collection of coaches in the country with John Beilein, Bill Carmody, Tom Cream, Tom Izzo, Thad Matta, Fran McCaffery, Matt Painter, Bo Ryan, Tubby Smith and Bruce Weber.
Purdue’s Matt Painter
on Robbie Hummel’s recent slump: “He’s needs to get into a rhythm and make it. Anytime somebody gets into a shooting slump, any person who’s scored for us has had to go through it. Each year, each guy has it. You look at the great scorers across the country, and the great scorers in our league. And go and take the box scores from just their conference games and you’ll see 2-14s and 3-15s and 0-11s and Rob’s in a little bit of a rut. It’s something we really harp on at Purdue – there’s some constants in what you do. You can have a great attitude, you can give a great effort, you can play defense, you can rebound. But that ball doesn’t go in all the time. And if that’s the only thing you can do we’re probably in trouble. And that’s the great thing about Rob is he can do other things, when his shot’s not falling in, to help us.”
Michigan State’s Tom Izzo
on the league’s parity: “I think the strength ... should be measured by the bottom, not the top. … You get to the middle or end of January, and you’ve still got eight or nine teams that are legitimately playing for NCAA spots, and a couple of other teams that can beat those teams. And many are playing for NCAA spots, but definitely for the postseason tournament. I think this is the best conference in the country, top to bottom.”
Wisconsin’s Bo Ryan on Jordan Taylor
: “He’s been a little up and down, but when he’s up, he can make all the difference in the world on our team, and he’s working on that every day, but he’s a big key as to what we’re going to do this year. … Point guard play is affected tremendously, and more so than maybe other people realize, by the play of the people around them. In all fairness, Jordan is playing with –- especially in the front line –- with guys that log less minutes than probably any front line in the Big Ten. You have to give Jordan credit for helping to bring these guys along and to improve them in the mix, and for him to get comfortable with them, them to get comfortable with him. You’re into January now, so this is where, hopefully all those parts are meshing.”
Illinois' Bruce Weber
on league balance and strength: “I’m not sure what’s an upset, if there are upsets,” Weber said a day after losing at home to Wisconsin. “You’ve got a very balanced league, you’ve got to bring your game, you’ve got to play. Your main guys have got to play and be consistent if you’re going to have success, and you can’t have any off days.”
Nebraska’s Doc Sadler
on how a team should try to defend Ohio State: “You’re talking to a guy that’s been beat by 30 both times, so I don’t know that I have any answers. I’ve learned from some awfully good people, and they’ve always told me that if you’re going to get beat by a good basketball team, get beat at the perimeter, don’t let the inside people beat you. And that’s what we try to do. But the other night, when you’ve got everybody making jump shots, it’s difficult. You’re probably not going to beat a team that many times when there’s that big of a discrepancy in talent.”
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