Big Ten: Weber's Wake-Up Calls

By - October 29, 2006

Illinois coach Bruce Weber spoke at length about the Big Ten as a “league in transition” -- and his belief that the top-heavy conference is up for grabs beyond the top two teams.

“Wisconsin has the most experience. Ohio State has the big hype from the young kids, and they have [Jamar] Butler who I think is a tremendous point guard,” Weber said. “After that, it’s probably a hodgepodge. Whether it’s us, Indiana or Michigan, even a Purdue or a Penn State. There are a lot of variables that could take place and that would be the difference.”

When pressed for his sleepers, Weber threw support behind the Boilermakers and the Nittany Lions -- neither of whom have been significant players in the Big Ten for quite some time.

“If you want a sleeper I’d say Purdue or maybe Penn State,” Weber said. “Penn State I’m saying because they beat us at home last year and I’m hoping it wasn’t just a one-time thing. [PSU coach Eddie DeChellis] has done a nice job. He’s got some guys back, he had a couple freshmen have success and he’s got experienced guards.

"You win with experience. Ohio State is a great example of it last year. They had seven seniors, they all had experience, they knew how to play. That’s why they were successful in the league."

Buckeyes coach Thad Matta agrees that some team has a chance to enjoy a breakout season not unlike his team did a year ago.

“I think there will be an Ohio State this year in the Big Ten, somebody that’s going to get on a roll and they’re making shots and they’ve got experience and they’re a tough team to beat.” Matta said.

Posted by at 02:58 PM on October 29, 2006

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