10 Big Ten stories to read this Friday

The Ohio State tailspin continues, as the loss at Minnesota last night makes it three in a row for the Buckeyes. Weren’t they just ranked, like, No. 3 in the nation the other day? No one denies that this Ohio State team plays good defense. But the offense is struggling. More shooters are needed, among other things. And the turnovers need to be reduced. I’m looking at you, Aaron Craft and Shannon Scott.

It’s gonna be fascinating to see how a program that rarely has to deal with adversity handles it. This is the Ohio State’s first three-game skid in nearly five years. The Buckeyes haven’t lost four in a row since 2007-08. The good news for OSU: The next three games are at Nebraska; Illinois; Penn State.

Meanwhile, Minnesota continues to impress under Richard Pitino. (Big Ten Coach of the Year, anyone?) The Golden Gophers’ have lost two conference games: one by three points at home to Michigan; the other in overtime at Michigan State. Both happen to be unbeaten in Big Ten play. I quickly am falling for Minnesota point man DeAndre Mathieu, a lightning quick JC transfer who outplayed the ballyhooed and beloved Aaron Craft. Don’t believe me? Check it out. Mathieu had 13 points; five assists; three turnovers; three steals. Craft had seven points; four assists; five turnovers; one steal.

And how about Elliott Eliason? The big fella is coming on. He notched his sixth double-double on the season vs. OSU. He also is playing great defense. Eliason recently was named a captain. Good move, Coach P. Check him out in this video.

BTN TV also spoke with Eliason before the Ohio State game. Watch it below.

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Nice gesture by new Penn State coach James Franklin to take out this ad in the Tennessean thanking Vanderbilt fans. Then again, it was paid for by Penn State. There goes the raise for the janitor in Bryce Jordan Center.

Speaking of Franklin, looks like more of his Vandy sidekicks may be joining him in State College, Pa.

Audrey Snyder of Pennlive.com uncovered the fact that on Tuesday the names of Bob Shoop, Josh Gattis, Brent Pry and Ricky Rahne showed up in the school directory. Since then the names of Vanderbilt offensive coordinator John Donovan and defensive line coach Sean Spencer were added. The name Jemal Griffin was also added and perhaps that’s the same Griffin who served as the chief of staff with Franklin at Vanderbilt?

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Hoops isn’t figure skating, thank goodness. So, style points don’t matter. Still, it’s difficult to think Michigan State has looked pretty in compiling a 16-1 mark. Offense? Uh, not pretty. Defense? Uh, pretty awesome.

“Every time we win, it’s like we lost. … It doesn’t feel like a 16-1 team,” said Branden Dawson. “Coaches expect more from us and we expect more from ourselves.”

When Adreian Payne returns from injury (foot) and the entire roster “heals up,” the Spartans should start looking better. This still probably is the best team in the Big Ten. Still, I like Wisconsin.

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Everyone in Chambana is still bummed out about that loss to Purdue. But John Groce isn’t wigging out. Nope. And he’s not gonna make any big changes, either.

Maybe this will cheer you up, Chief: Illinois started Big Ten action 2-7 last season only to rebound to make the NCAA Tournament. But with a rugged stretch of games ahead—Michigan State; at Ohio State; at Indiana; Iowa; Wisconsin–and playing with a less experienced roster, John Groce will need to pull some gigantic rabbits from his hat to push this club into the Big Dance.

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What has been ailing the Michigan hoop team? Defense. No shock. It’s usually an issue for young teams.

Still, this team seemingly has enough offensive prowess to gloss over some of the defensive issues, what with players like Nik Stauskas, Derrick Walton, Jr., and Glenn Robinson III. But, at some point the defensive issues figure to prove fatal in Big Ten play. Heck, it could happen in the next three games: at Wisconsin; Iowa; at Michigan State.

If you are looking for Mitch McGary on the Michigan bench, don’t. He won’t be there any time soon.

“Mitch is not in a bed-rest type of deal, but you won’t see him at a game for a little bit — he won’t travel with us,” Michigan coach John Beilein said on a radio show.

McGary has attended every game this season until missing the Nebraska trip and the Penn State game. Some of that is for his own good, knowing he might exert himself too much.

“He doesn’t need to be sitting in a plane to go to Wisconsin (this weekend),” Beilein said. “He doesn’t need to be sitting on the bench, jumping up and down, which I know he would do. He needs to just go to class, go back and rest, study, stay, let the initial parts of his procedure to repair itself before he gets into rehab.

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Say “good bye” to Indiana quarterback Cam Coffman, who is transferring. The former JC transfer actually was the team’s top starter in 2012, throwing for 2,734 yards but was usurped by Tre Roberson and Nate Sudfeld last year.

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TWEETS THAT MATTER

My take: You see, Franklin gets it.

My take: So, OSU has lost to some quality foes. So there is that.

My take: Yes, another shooter, please.

My take: Where have you gone, Evan Ravenel?

My take: The Gophers are coming on.

My take: Yes, my head has exploded.

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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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