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It’s Monday, and that means it’s time for my latest Big Ten hoops power rankings. This week, following Michigan’s first loss, there’s a new – and familiar – No. 1. See where I rank your team in this post. Don’t agree with the rankings? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment box at the bottom of the post. Or tweet it my way (@BTNBrentYarina).
Two weeks of the NFL playoffs are down, and now we’re one week away from knowing the Super Bowl XLVII matchup. On Saturday and Sunday, several Big Ten players – headlined by New England’s Tom Brady (Michigan) – helped lead their teams to next week’s conference championship games. See a photo gallery of those players in this post.
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Warning to the Big Ten: If a player loses a shoe in Aaron White’s vicinity, be alert. In Sunday’s win at Northwestern, the Iowa sophomore nearly took out Fran McCaffery when he threw Alex Marcotullio’s shoe off the court. It was an alert move by White, actually, because play continued despite the flat tire. Thing is, in his attempt to get rid of the footwear and return to his spot on the floor in a timely manner, White tossed an absolute laser toward the Iowa bench.
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Without ever seeing Thad Matta’s DVD collection or Netflix queue, it’s safe to say he’s watched Will Ferrell’s “Semi-Pro” a time or two. He’s had to, because the coach referenced one of the movie’s most popular catchphrases in Sunday’s postgame press conference following No. 14 Ohio State’s victory over No. 2 Michigan. The phrase: “E.L.E,” or “Everybody Love Everybody.” Watch Matta’s Hollywood reference now.
I must admit, it’s getting very, very hard to write something creative each time Sam Thompson leaps out of the gym and delivers an incredible dunk (view his highlight reel). So for the sake of saving your time, do yourself a favor and watch the sophomore’s latest effortless alley-oop. And this one was extra sweet, because it provided an important two points in a close victory over heated rival Michigan.
Wisconsin is known for its methodical offense, strong defense and significant homecourt advantage. It is not known for its play above the rim or for registering a bunch of jaw-dropping dunks. That wasn’t case in Saturday’s win over Illinois, when the Badgers totaled four huge dunks, including this Sam Dekker beauty. Watch all of Wisconsin’s big jams from Saturday and vote for your favorite in this post.
This might rub some Illinois fans wrong. Illinois alum and PGA star Steve Stricker attended Saturday afternoon’s Illinois-Wisconsin game in, of all things, a Wisconsin hat. BTN cameras even caught him cheering for the Badgers at one point.
Cody Zeller isn’t your typical big man. The Indiana sophomore runs the floor as well as anyone, almost regardless of height, and he can handle the ball, too. He showed the latter skill on a highlight-reel dunk in Saturday’s win over No. 10 Minnesota. And this one looked like a play a wing would make, as Zeller, from beyond the arc, penetrated and hammered it home. He even took a seat against the basket support after the poke. Watch the highlight now.
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Heading into Wednesday night’s game at No. 13 Illinois, No. 10 Minnesota still had its doubters. This was, for the most part, the same team that missed the NCAA tournament last season. So, it was only normal that it would have naysayers despite a 14-1 record, the lone loss coming to No. 1 Duke abroad.
Last night, it was Sam Thompson putting A.J. Hammons on a poster (Watch it). Wednesday night, it was Brandon Paul doing it to Trevor Mbakwe. Paul’s posterizing flush was as impressive as any we’ve seen this year, but it also was a little controversial. The Illini senior was called for a charge on the play, and yet the bucket counted. Maybe because the dunk was just THAT good? Watch the slam now and see the Twitter reaction to it in this post.
In the first half of No. 2 Michigan’s 62-47 victory over Nebraska on Wednesday at Crisler Center, well-known referee Ed Hightower got up close and personal with the scorer’s table. It all happened following a loose ball near the Nebraska bench, when Hightower, the ball and Shavon Shields all met at the same point. The result: Hightower, while trying to signal the call, fell onto the table. Watch the sequence here.
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Sam Thompson is quickly becoming the media’s best friend. Pretty much every game, the Ohio State sophomore gives us something to talk about, something to watch over and over. And we all appreciate it. Of course, I’m referring to his unbelievable dunks.
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This LostLettermen.com post got me thinking about the Big Ten’s top dunkers. There’s a bunch of them, and they’ve kept me busy this season on our Big Ten Dunk Archive. But who are the best of the best? I’ve come up with my top 5, plus honorable mention list, in this post. Let’s hear from you, too, though. There’s a poll included inside and feel free to send your nomination in the comment box.
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It’s time for my latest Big Ten hoops power rankings. While it doesn’t take a genius to figure out the top team, there’s plenty of debate after No. 2 Michigan. See where I rank your team in this post.
The Wisconsin men’s hockey team will wear a special throwback uniform for the OfficeMax Hockey City Classic on Feb. 17 at Soldier Field in Chicago. The sweater is a reproduction of what the 1931-32 team wore, and it’s pretty slick. See a photo of the sweater in this post.
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Sunday night’s GoDaddy.com Bowl marked new Purdue coach Darrell Hazell’s final day on the job at Kent State. Here’s to guessing college football fans won’t soon forget it. Interestingly, it had nothing to do with the close 17-13 decision. No, it had everything to do with Kent State’s head-turning helmets.
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It took Trevor Mbakwe most of the nonconference season to work his way back from last year’s season-ending knee surgery. Either that, or Tubby Smith just decided to bring him back slowly. It was probably the latter, come to think of it, but the sixth-year senior sure looks good now.
It’s playoff time in the NFL, and that means Big Ten products are making big plays on an even bigger stage. Check out my NFL Wild Card standouts in the photo gallery in this post. As a reminder, each player’s stats is listed below his photo.
Before Sunday’s game vs. Wisconsin, Nebraska coach Tim Miles presented recently retired athletic director Tom Osborne with a framed Nebraska jersey. It wasn’t any Nebraska jersey, either. It was the special alternate adidas jersey the Huskers wore Sunday, and it included Osborne’s name above the number, No. 1. Watch the presentation in this video now.
Let’s get two things out of the way here first: 1.) Bo Ryan gives pretty entertaining postgame interviews, ones often peppered with a joke or two; and 2.) BTN analyst Tim Doyle’s Northwestern career was a lot better than most remember. OK, now that that’s out of the way, it’s time to get to Ryan’s postgame interview with Doyle following Sunday’s 47-41 victory at Nebraska.
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No. 2 Michigan came up with more than its share of highlights (watch all of them) during Sunday’s victory over Iowa. None, however, were bigger than Tim Hardaway Jr.‘s terrific one-handed slam. In transition, Hardaway Jr. outraced several Hawkeyes down the floor, took the pass from Trey Burke, and threw it down over Iowa’s Eric May. Watch the dunk here, and see some Twitter reaction in this post.
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While not quite to the level of J.R. Smith a few days ago, Illinois’ Joseph Bertrand went for a silly reverse alley-oop of his own in Saturday’s rout of Ohio State. Brandon Paul set up the highlight-reel play with a pass that he delivered from just inside the halfcourt line. Watch the reverse alley-oop here and see a great picture of it in this post.
There are plays that fans never forget, and D.J. Byrd came up with one in Wednesday’s 68-61 win over Illinois that the Purdue faithful should have no trouble remembering. With 21.5 seconds left, Purdue leading 63-61 and Jacob Lawson at the free-throw line, Byrd corralled a missed freebie, on his knees, and managed to call a timeout before going out of bounds. Watch the play here.
Ohio State played Wednesday night, which means sophomore Sam Thompson delighted viewers with another incredible dunk. Seriously, it’s nearly becoming an every-game occurrence. On this night, Thompson added another alley-oop to his already loaded individual highlight reel.