Big 10 Tournament: The 5 Players Opposing Teams Should Fear the Most
The Big 10 tournament is under way and its the last chance for teams to either improve their chances of making the tournament or improve their seed. Teams will lean heavily on their star players and now is the time for them to perform.
The Big 10 is full of guys who are capable of lighting it up on any given night, and with the second round match-ups coming up, here's a list of the players that opposing teams should fear the most.
Penn State is back in NCAA tournament discussions and that is largely due to the play of their leading scorer, Talor Battle. Battle's been at Penn State for four years now and finally has them playing relevant basketball at conference tourney time. Battle is averaging 20.2 points per game and is a guy you don't want to be playing against with less than five minutes to go. He's been around forever and wants to win more than anything.
Penn State is capable of making a tournament run this weekend and that is largely due to the fact that Battle is capable of going off for 25+ against anybody.
Illinois is going to need McCamey now more than ever. Last year, they were a good team and going into this season, had high hopes with McCamey and Tisdale returning.
Well, the year has been a disappointment for the Fighting Illini and they are now counting on McCamey to carry them for at least two rounds in the Big 10 tournament. They are on the bubble and will need at least two more wins and a quality win to get them into the NCAA tournament.
McCamey can handle the pressure. He seems to play his best in games against the Big 10 elite. Averaging 15 points and seven assists a game, McCamey is a threat to score and find teammates around the basket. He's had huge games in the past and performs well in the clutch.
If you're a top seed in the conference, you aren't happy to play McCamey.
Wisconsin is a lock for the NCAA tournament, but winning the the Big 10 tournament can impact what seed they get drastically. Their road play this season has been average at best, which is typical for a Badgers team. The neutral site is going to have to do for them if they want to improve their seed and doing that rests on the hands of Jordan Taylor.
Jordan Taylor is one of the nations leaders in assist to turnover ratio and is a streaky scorer. When Wisconsin upset Ohio State, Taylor couldn't miss and they need him to shoot well if they are going to win the Big 10 tournament. He needs to run the offense like he has all year, but the key to Wisconsin's success will be Jordan Taylor shooting well.
The best freshman in basketball shouldn't come as a surprise to anybody on this list (then again, it's not like the others should either). Sullinger is the key to Ohio State's success and the advantage he gives them in the post is huge.
Sullinger is nearly averaging a double double this season and if Ohio State wants to lock up that tournament overall one seed, they'll have to at least get to the finals. Sullinger is going to have to do the dirty work under the basket against some of the other Big 10 big men.
JaJuan Johnson is a candidate for player of the year this season and it's completely justifiable. His presence is felt on both ends of the floor and he has the Hummel-less Purdue team playing great basketball.
If Johnson is able to lead Purdue to a Big 10 championship win, then he will almost certainly lock up player of the year and could perhaps get them a number one seed. He's a good post player and has great touch on his mid-range jumper. His long arms will make for a difficult day on the offensive end for any opposing big man, maybe even Sullinger.
Johnson is going to be the best player in the tournament this weekend and he's one guy no team wants to face.