Published Monday, March 11, 2013 at 9:52 pm / Updated at 10:05 pm
BASKETBALL
Notes: Former Illini coach wins Big 12 award

Bruce Weber, who was fired at Illinois last season after his team fell apart down the stretch, has been voted Big 12 coach of the year for leading Kansas State to a 25-6 record and a share of the league title.

Someone not surprised at that outcome is Purdue coach Matt Painter.

Weber, while an assistant at Purdue, recruited Painter to play for the Boilermakers. Painter became an assistant coach to Weber at Southern Illinois. Painter took over for Weber at SIU when Weber went to Illinois.

“It's one of those situations where I think he 'fell upstairs,''' Painter said Monday of the change in schools. “He is in a place that is perfect for him.

“He's a great coach and he has meant a lot to my career. He has helped me get almost every job of my career. He's a great guy.''

Weekly honors

Co-players of the week: Indiana forward Cody Zeller and Ohio State point guard Aaron Craft. Zeller, a 7-foot sophomore from Washington, Ind., had 25 points and 10 rebounds in a win over Michigan and 17 points and four rebounds in a loss to Ohio State. Craft, a 6-2 junior from Findlay, Ohio, had 15 points, four steals and four assists in a win over Indiana and 14 points, six assists and three steals in a win over Illinois.

Rookie of the week: Purdue guard Rapheal Davis. The 6-5 freshman from Fort Wayne, Ind., had 15 points and nine rebounds in a loss to Michigan and 18 points and four assists in a win over Minnesota.

Quote of the week

Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan on how much more physical college basketball has become:

“I sent a guy through (the lane) on a cut against a team this year on Tuesday and they saw him on the other side of the court on Thursday.''

Stat of the week

According to basketball statistical guru Ken Pomeroy (kenpom.com), the teams with the five toughest schedules played are from the Big Ten — No. 1 Michigan State, No. 2 Minnesota, No. 3 Nebraska, No. 4 Illinois and No. 5 Penn State.

Bits and pieces

Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said Monday that guard Mike Gesell, who has missed four games, is set to run on his injured foot and will try to practice Tuesday. The freshman from South Sioux City, Neb., has been limited to standstill shooting since being injured. ... Illinois guard Joseph Bertrand (shoulder) sat out Sunday, but could return in time for Thursday's first-round game against Minnesota. ... Victor Oladipo's double-double (14 points, 13 rebounds) against Michigan was just the second of his career.

— Lee Barfknecht

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