I have to start daily links right there. Loren Tate of Champaign News-Gazette says the victory was quite a moment for seniors Brandon Paul, D.J. Richardson, Sam McLaurin and Tyler Griffey.
Speaking of Griffey, how on god’s green earth did he get that wide open? (I’m looking at you, Christian Watford and Cody Zeller.) Regardless, it was a much-needed win for a Fighting Illini squad that entered the game with a 2-7 Big Ten mark and had lost six of its previous seven games.
If you are scoring at home, that’s three wins over Top 10 teams for Illinois: Indiana, Ohio State and Gonzaga. Illinois also topped Butler earlier this year. Next up for the Illini: A trip to Minnesota on Sunday. You thinking what I’m thinking? Ah, forget it.
Hold that order on those 2013 NCAA championship T-shirts! This could be the start of a rough second half of the season for Indiana. Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star says the Hoosiers’ margin for error has just gotten frightfully slim. And, well, he’s correct, as usual.
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Indiana is now 8-2 in the Big Ten. Not bad. But the Hoosiers still have games at Ohio State, at Minnesota, at Michigan State and at Michigan. What’s it mean? Dreams of a Big Ten regular-season title and No. 1 seed in the Big Ten could evaporate, as Indiana conceivably could finish 12-6 in the Big Ten. Wow.
Marcus Fuller of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press says ugly trends are developing for a struggling Minnesota program.
After a 3-0 start in the Big Ten, the Golden Gophers have lost five of their last seven games. The Gophers have shot poorly on the road and have been prone to turnovers no matter where they have played. Fuller points out that during Tubby Smith’s five previous seasons, the Gophers averaged 13 turnovers twice, 14 turnovers twice and 15 turnovers once (last season). The Gophers are averaging 14 turnovers this season through 23 games.
We all need to be honest with ourselves: This is just a solid—not great—team.
The tough losses continue to mount for Iowa. But Mike Hlas of the Cedar Rapids Gazette thinks the Hawkeyes will be better—and tougher–for it.
Iowa is now 3-7 in the Big Ten. And, Hlas says, the margin-of-error for making the NCAA tournament has been whittled to a nub. Three losses by three points, two by four points. A single-overtime failure. And now a double-overtime defeat at Wisconsin. But look at the rest of the Hawkeyes’ schedule. It’s very kind. Expect a strong finish and push for the Big Dance.
Hlas also has a fun podcast with Tom Arnold—yes, THAT Tom Arnold.
The Ottumwa native and former Iowa student talks about why he likes to root for Iowa, among other things. The guy is a riot, even though the 1990s are long and gone.
Michigan inked a killer class of recruits. What’s interesting is the fact it was built by dominating battles for in-state talent and by raiding players from … Ohio!!! You hear that, Urban?
Southern talent? Brady Hoke says you don’t need it to win national crowns. In fact, Michigan didn’t sign a single player from recruiting hotbeds Florida, Texas or California for the first time in 25 years.
“I think (the importance of Southern talent) is a little bit overblown — and the media does that,” Hoke said. “I remember being on teams here that could compete with anybody, so I don’t know why you couldn’t.”
The NFL released its list of invitees to the Combine, and Ohio State led all Big Ten schools with seven players. Doug Lesmerises of the Cleveland Plain Dealer thinks the Buckeyes could have as many as eight NFL draft picks in April.
But where may these Buckeyes get drafted? NFL DraftScout.com has an exhaustive ranking right here. Big John Hankins is the lone projected first-round pick.
Dustin Hockensmith of the Harrisburg Patriot-News assembled a Penn State all-decade team comprised of players who were only two- or three-star recruits. And, it’s quite an impressive collection of talent. So, take that, recruiting rankings.
I’ll take any team that includes the likes of Jordan Hill, Allen Robinson, Evan Royster and Sean Lee, among others.
You have to check this out. On his radio show, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said the Big Ten wasn’t recruiting up to its capabilities. Urb may be correct, but is it his place to say that? Well, sure. The guy has proven time and again to be a boffo recruiter. So, lead the way, Urban. The Big Ten needs your help after having just OSU, Michigan, Nebraska and Penn State finishing among various recruiting rankings Top 25s.
TWEETS THAT MATTER
Meanwhile, Indiana still looking for its first road win against at tournament quality team.—
Jerry Palm (@jppalmCBS) February 08, 2013
My take: That’s a dirty little secret in Bloomington. Shhhhh.
So, whataya do with Illinois if it goes, say, 4-4 the rest of the way and then 1-1 in Chicago? A 7-11 league record but stacks of scalps.—
David Jones (@djoneshoop) February 08, 2013
My take: I think an 8-10 league mark and one Big Tourney win is enough to get Illinois into the Big Dance.
Long story short here, there is no consensus No. 1 team this year — the NCAA tournament should be a riot.—
Nick Baumgardner (@nickbaumgardner) February 08, 2013
My take: Well said. There could be—What?—as many as eight to 10 teams that could win it all?
This will now be the THIRD time this season Michigan will have a weekend game to move to the No. 1 ranking.—
Michael Rothstein (@mikerothstein) February 08, 2013
My take: Is that a place anyone wants to be? The last five No. 1 teams all have gone on to lose the following week.
MSU/Michigan men's basketball teams have only met as ranked teams 8 times in history, never both in the top 10. That should change Tuesday.—
Chris Solari (@chrissolari) February 08, 2013
My take: Amazing. I can’t wait for this game.
Illini does the unthinkable beating No. 1. How could Tyler Griffey be that open? Cody Zeller just blew it.—
PiPress Gophers Now (@GophersNow) February 08, 2013
My take: Uh, yep.
At this point, I'm kinda just rooting for any team playing a No. 1. Let's just see how many times we can change at the top.—
Amelia Rayno (@AmeliaRayno) February 08, 2013
My take: We still have about four weeks left!
Love the new four-year Colorado-Nebraska series in 2018-19 and 2023-24. I already miss those games in Boulder.Glad they're bringing it back.—
Sean Callahan (@Sean_Callahan) February 07, 2013
My take: Yes, that, and Nebraska usually whips the Buffs.
Just for a little historical context … Illinois' 1st win over a No. 1 was in 1979 v. Magic & Mich St, the NCAA champs that year …—
Jeff Rabjohns (@JeffRabjohns) February 08, 2013
My take: Foreshadowing?
I'm sure IU fans are in full freak-out mode, but as long as they get a top two seed and are playing well in March, that's what matters.—
Bob Kravitz (@bkravitz) February 08, 2013
My take: True. All that matters is March. Now is the time to work out kinks.
|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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