10 Big Ten stories to read today

Big news rocking the Big Ten world on this Tuesday morning with a report from Pete Thamel of SI.com about long-time Penn State defensive line coach Larry Johnson bolting for Ohio State. Not only is Johnson a terrific coach, but he’s also one of the top recruiters in the nation. With him apparently now on the Buckeye staff, Urban Meyer has another recruiting machine to dispatch on America’s blue-chippers in his quest to build a better football machine. Great news for OSU.

New Nittany Lions coach James Franklin offered Johnson a job. But, he apparently balked. So, there goes 18 years of service in State College, Pa., for LJ.

What makes this so weird for Penn State is that Johnson would replace Mike Vrabel on the Ohio State after Vrabel bolted to join the staff of ex-Nittany Lions coach Bill O’Brien with the Houston Texans. Did you just feel the earth move?

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Big Ten Men’s Standings
Conference Overall
W-L W-L
Michigan State 4-0 15-1
Wisconsin 3-0 16-0
Michigan 3-0 11-4
Iowa 3-1 14-3
Ohio State 2-2 15-2
Minnesota 2-2 13-4
Illinois 2-2 13-4
Purdue 1-2 11-5
Indiana 1-2 11-5
Northwestern 1-3 8-9
Penn State 0-4 9-8
Nebraska 0-4 8-8
View Full Standings

Big doings tonight in Bloomington, as Tom Crean aims for his first win as Indiana coach against Bo Ryan.

Crean is 0-10 vs. Ryan as Hoosiers boss and 3-14 overall. Stunning, isn’t it? No doubt, a win tonight would be huge for Crean and his Indiana team that’s looking for a signature victory. The No. 3 Badgers look to remain unbeaten.

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Has any team dealt with more injury/illness than Michigan State? Of course not. Not good news on the Adreian Payne front for Michigan State, as he remains out with a foot injury. Branden Dawson? He’s still day-to-day with a virus.

You’d think MSU could handle its next two foes (at Northwestern; at Illinois) without some key players. But, you never know. NU just dumped Illinois. And the Illini have topped Indiana at home. Gary Harris (ankle), Matt Costello (illness), Travis Trice (illness) and Keith Appling (wrist/hip) also have had issues—but they should be good to go this week. Still, keep the medic nearby.

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It’s mid-January, and Ohio State already is at a crossroads. The Buckeyes have lost two in a row and now go on the road to play two games in succession vs. Minnesota and Nebraska teams that are pesky at home and looking for a marquee victory.

To rebound, OSU must cut down on turnovers, as it had a combined 38 the last two games. And it would be nice if Lenzelle Smith was a more steady offensive option opposite LaQuinton Ross.

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Who is Walter Meanwell? Glad you asked, Wisconsin fans. He coached so terrific Badger hoop teams in the early 1900s.

Why is Meanwell relevant now? With the Badgers riding a 16-game winning streak, historians have scurried to the archives to recall some of Meanwell’s great teams. Check this out: According to Tom Oates of Madison.com, in Meanwell’s first three and half seasons, UW won 53 of 54 games, most by significant margins. Had the Badgers not lost to the University of Chicago in the final game of the 1912-13 season, the school record would stand at 54 victories in a row instead of 29. So, there’s your standard, modern-day Badgers.

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Hey, look: Devin Gardner no longer is on crutches! Remember, he missed the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl with a foot injury suffered vs. Ohio State. Spring practice starts Feb. 25.

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It was sad to hear of the passing of former Iowa defensive coordinator Norm Parker. HawkCentral.com has a nice photo gallery and obit of Parker.

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Minnesota has been a surprise in Big Ten hoops thus far. A reason why? The 5-9 dynamo that is Deandre Mathieu Check out this excellent “Raise The Barn” video on Mathieu.

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TWEETS THAT MATTER

My take: Honestly, who doesn’t love Tim Miles?

My take: So there is that.

My take: Penn State is, but it isn’t showing up on the court.

My take: Typical.

My take: This explains the vitriol.

My take: Join the club.

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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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