Today's links: More challenges ahead for Gophers

Minnesota’s full power and glory was on display during its romp over Illinois last night. So, let’s start there with the daily links, shall we? The Golden Gophers showed they are a true top-10 team that will compete for the Big Ten title—and thus a Final Four bid—with the 84-67 victory.

The win in Champaign—the Gophers’ 11th in a row this season-was the start of a rugged three-game skein that sees Minnesota go to Indiana on Saturday before coming home to play Michigan on Thursday, Jan. 17. If the Gophers can get a split with the Hoosiers and Wolverines, it would be huge. When it travels to Indiana, Minnesota must deal with Victor Oladipo, who is having a breakout season. Check out some cool video of him. A big reason why Oladipo stays grounded amid his rising stardom? It’s the women in his life.

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Aaron Craft or Shannon Scott at point guard for Ohio State? That’s the question Doug Lesmerises of the Cleveland Plain Dealer wrestles with.

The issue became pertinent during the win at Purdue, when Craft was on the bench for an extended stretch in the first half and Scott took over and ran the offense with aplomb. Craft is the guy, but coach Thad Matta may have a balancing act on his hands. And, having two quality point guards is a good thing, right?

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Big Ten Standings
Conference Overall
W-L W-L
Michigan 3-0 16-0
Minnesota 3-0 15-1
Indiana 2-0 14-1
Wisconsin 2-0 11-4
Ohio State 2-1 12-3
Michigan State 1-1 12-3
Illinois 1-2 14-3
Purdue 1-2 7-8
Iowa 0-2 11-4
Northwestern 0-2 9-6
Penn State 0-2 8-6
Nebraska 0-3 9-7
View Full Standings

Iowa coach Fran McCaffrey sent a clear message after the ugly loss at Michigan: A lack of toughness is unacceptable.

McCaffrey has gone so far as to say he would consider benching Iowa’s top two scorers – junior guard Devyn Marble and sophomore forward Aaron White – if they continue to lack toughness, especially on defense. Up next is a visit from ultra-tough Michigan State. This is gonna be interesting.

While talking Iowa, check out this look at the salaries of the assistant coaches. It even includes PDFs of each contract.

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How often does a projected first-round draft choice eschew turning pro and come back to college? Not often. But, that’s exactly what Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Lewan did. The lure and appeal of being a BMOC one more time was too great to resist. And, that’s awesome!

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Speaking of shocks, Penn State defensive coordinator Ted Roof is heading to Georgia Tech, his alma mater (and home state), for the same job. To fill the void, Nittany Lions coach Bill O’Brien has promoted secondary coach John Butler. Nice call. Not totally sure what to make of Illinois offensive line coach Luke Butkus bolting to join the staff of ex-Illini coach Ron Turner at Florida International.

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TWEETS THAT MATTER

My take: A battle between two teams seemingly of the same ilk. Huge game.

My take: Bottom line: The REALLY good teams find a way to win on the road.

My take: There’s one reason why to come back! The other: Win Michigan’s first Big Ten title since 2004.

My take: No I did not. But, I am not surprised. He’s a very bright and smart guy.

My take: Well-deserved. That’s all I’m gonna say about that.

My take: Not sure what this means, but it’s pretty cool, huh?

My take: I, for one, am glad he decided to stay. Too many people run from problems rather than staying and dealing with them.

About Tom Dienhart BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men’s basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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