Like it or not, Twitter is becoming a part of our everyday lives. Here at BTN.com, we’re constantly monitoring the social media site for all the latest news, analysis and happenings from each of the Big Ten’s 12 institutions. While we all have our collection of follows that we trust and rely on, we wanted to take this time to share our favorite school-specific accounts. Up first: Illinois.
What were you doing around 1 p.m. ET Monday? Chances are, you weren’t having as much fun as Minnesota basketball player Trevor Mbakwe. In the wake of announcing he will use his sixth year of eligibility and return to the Gophers for the 2012-13 season, Mbakwe went to Twitter (@TMbakwe 32), started a hashtag, #imgetting2old4college, and got to tweeting. The result: Hilarity. See the 23-year-old star’s entertaining series of self deprecating tweets in this post.
It’s April, the NCAA just crowned its latest men’s basketball champion (Kentucky), so that means it’s time for ESPN.com’s Joe Lunardi to post his first installment of 2013 Bracketology. Lunardi has seven Big Ten teams dancing, as of right now, headlined by Indiana, the conference’s lone No. 1 seed. Michigan State and Michigan received No. 2 and No. 3 seeds, respectively. See all of Lunardi’s Big Ten predictions in this post.
Members of the Minnesota football attended former teammate Gary Tinsley’s funeral Saturday in Jacksonville, Fla. Tinsley, 22, was found dead at his campus apartment April 6. According to GopherSports.com, Tinsley was just weeks away from receiving his bachelor’s degree. At the funeral, Tinsley’s teammates and Tim Brewster, the coach who recruited him, posed for a picture where they used their hands to form Tinsley’s old number (51). See the photo in this post.
Michigan State’s Branden Dawson gave Spartan basketball fans reason to be excited Sunday afternoon, tweeting the following: “Just receive good news from the Doc. He says I’m two months ahead of schedule.” Dawson, a talented, tough and athletic freshman, tore his left ACL on March 4. See the tweet in this post and watch one of Dawson’s best highlights from his freshman campaign right now.
Good thing Ohio State kicker Drew Basil isn’t claustrophobic. During Saturday’s practice at Ohio Stadium, players and fans surrounded Basil and the field goal teams — in a shape that looks a lot like Ohio State’s Block “O” — for a live field goal drill. The cool spectacle came late in the practice, one first-year coach Urban Meyer put on, in part, to bring the students closer to his team, and his team closer to students. Hundreds of students were invited onto the field to surround Basil, and he went on to make four of six attempts, with one being blocked and another sailing wide right.
The Michigan football team sported maize shoelaces during Saturday’s Spring Game at Michigan Stadium in an effort to support Lace up for Michigan (@LaceUpForUM), a fund-raising effort initiated and run by Wolverine student-athletes with support of the school’s athletic dept. And for those wondering, no, Denard “Shoelace” Robinson didn’t tie the maize strings.
That Kentucky-Indiana men’s basketball game in December was pretty memorable, wasn’t it? The guys over at SBNation.com thought it was so great, in fact, the game that forever cemented Christian Watford in Indiana lore claimed the No. 2 spot in the publication’s Top 10 Best College Basketball Games of 2011-12. The only game better than Indiana’s buzzer-beating upset of No. 1 Kentucky at Assembly Hall (AP recap): No. 1 Kentucky’s win over No. 5 North Carolina (AP recap). Another Big Ten team’s game landed on the list, and while Wisconsin’s Sweet 16 defeat to Syracuse (AP recap) didn’t produce a buzzer-beater, it took home the No. 6 spot.
It was only a matter of time before this happened. On Wednesday, Michigan announced it will paint “#GOBLUE” on its field for Saturday’s spring game, which BTN will air live at noon ET and also stream live on BTN2Go. The Twitter hashtag will straddle the the 25-yard line on the northeast and southwest sides of the field. According to the MGoBlue.com release, this is believed to be the second time a hashtag will be on a college field. The other occurrence: Mississippi State painted #HAILSTATE in an end zone last fall against Mississippi. See a picture of the hashtags in this post.
The deadline for college basketball players to decide whether they’re coming back to school or entering the 2012 NBA Draft was Tuesday. Here’s what we know: Meyers Leonard and Jared Sullinger are gone, while Trey Burke, Deshaun Thomas and Christian Watford are back after testing the NBA waters. A lot of things will change before the season tips in November, but BTN.com’s Brent Yarina offers some super-early 2012-13 predictions. See all of them in this post.
Michigan star Trey Burke announced Monday that he will return to the Wolverines after flirting with entering the 2012 NBA Draft (story). About a week ago, Ohio State’s Deshaun Thomas announced the same thing (story), which got us thinking the following: Which player’s return is bigger? BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart and BTN.com blogger Brent Yarina debate the topic in this post. Also on Monday, Minnesota guard Chip Armelin announced he is transferring (story).
As part of “Honor and Serve Day” on Sunday, May 6, the Illinois baseball team will wear special orange and blue camouflage jerseys in its series finale against Michigan State. The event, according to a FightingIllini.com release, is designed to honor University of Illinois student veterans and all of America’s military heroes, plus to serve the Champaign-Urbana community.
It was a valiant effort, but Purdue’s Ishmael Aristide and Rob Henry fell short in their attempt to become student body president and vice president, respectively. The duo came in second in the school’s recent student government election. Last month, we published a post spotlighting the creative campaign. According to the Purdue Exponent, Joe Rust and Lexi Hiland won the election. Even though Aristide and Henry didn’t win, their campaign videos were great. Watch both spots in this post.
Former Illinois coach Bruce Weber took out a full-page ad in the Champaign News Gazette on Sunday to thank Illini Nation. The ad reads: “Thanks to everyone in the Illini Nation for a memorable nine years.” It goes on to say: “Go Illini! & Go Cats! Coach Bruce Weber.” The ad features the Illinois and Kansas State logos, separated by a basketball that houses Weber’s aforementioned message. Weber was fired March 9 (story), one day after the Illini were eliminated from the Big Ten tournament, and hired at Kansas State on March 31 (story).
Kain Colter’s versatility doesn’t stop on the football field. The do-it-all Wildcat can rap, too. Colter, who racked up 1,793 total yards and accounted for 18 touchdowns in 2011, showed off his freestyling skills at a recent Northwestern practice. For the record, Colter was mic’d up for the practice, so who knows if he was winging it. It sure seems like he was, though, based on his reaction: “I’m embarrassing myself. On national TV, I’m mic’d up. I can’t believe this!” Watch Colter’s rapping skills in an NUFootballFamily YouTube video in this post.
Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE
Illinois’ Meyers Leonard declared for the NBA draft Monday (story), and on Wednesday, it was Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger’s turn (story). With Leonard and Sullinger, both sophomores, leaving early and the deadlines to declare for the draft approaching (April 10, NCAA; April 29, NBA), BTN.com’s Brent Yarina considers some of the previous Big Ten sophomores – plus freshmen – who have left early since the new millennium. How did the decisions work out? Find out in this post.
As is the case immediately following every Final Four nowadays, analysts and talking heads have shifted focus to next season by releasing their super-early 2012-13 top 25 polls. Several of the polls, by the way, feature a Big Ten team in the No. 1 spot. The team: Indiana. Yes, the Hoosiers, the same program that is fresh off its first NCAA tourney berth since 2008 and the same one that hasn’t been to the Final Four since 2002.
The NCAA men’s basketball championship game is Monday night, but here at BTN.com, our fans already have crowned the 2012 Big Ten Football Uniform Bracket champion. And the winner is Michigan, the top seed in the field. The Wolverines toppled No. 5 Iowa in the title matchup. See the final tally for the championship tilt in this post and check out all of the tournament’s matchups: Finals | Semis | Quarters | First round.
Nebraska is one of the few teams in the nation that doesn’t need to touch its football uniform one bit. Still, in this day and age where recruits factor uniforms into their ultimate decision, teams must accept the trend. The Huskers have. According to an AP story, Nebraska will wear an alternate uniform for one home game in 2012. The uniform, designed by adidas, has not been released, although you can find a possible option in this post.
There’s no denying it: Penn State fans love their football team. A local bakery takes the love affair to another level. With spring here and Easter just around the corner, Flour Box Bakery, located in Bellefonte, Pa., decorated 112 peeps to best resemble gameday at Beaver Stadium – err, Bunny Stadium, as they call it. The peeps include Coach Bill O’Peep, players decked out in simple uniforms, fans and band members. The best part: the stadium is made entirely out of cookie. Now, that’s a tasty treat. See all 12 peep pictures.
The Ohio State men’s basketball team had a terrific 2011-12 season, winning a share of its third consecutive Big Ten crown and advancing to the Final Four in New Orleans. While the Buckeyes fell to Kansas in the national semifinals Saturday (AP recap), the Ohio State faithful still greeted the team with a championship welcome home Sunday night at Value City Arena. Watch the team bus pull into the arena and hear the players thank the crowd in this post.
People love to multitask while watching sports these days. With that in mind, BTN.com was keeping an eye on Twitter for the best tweets during Ohio State’s narrow defeat to Kansas in the national semifinals on Saturday night (AP recap). See the best tweets in this post.
The 2012 NCAA men’s basketball title game participants were determined Saturday night, and it will be Kentucky vs. Kansas. Here at BTN.com, we’ve reached the finals of our 2012 Big Ten football uniform bracket. The matchup: No. 1 Michigan vs. No. 5 Iowa. Who’s going to be the winner? It’s up to you, so cast your vote in this post. See the previous matchups: Semis | Quarters | First round.
In the sports world, there’s no better magazine to have your mug on than Sports Illustrated. Ohio State’s Aaron Craft knows what it’s like. The Ohio State point guard is featured on this week’s Final Four regional-based cover. On it, Craft has the ball and is in midair against Syracuse, with the headline: “Ohio State Keeps on Dancing.” The Buckeyes take on Kansas, which beat them earlier this season, Saturday in the second national semifinal.
No Big Ten basketball team had a better winning percentage at home during the 2011-12 season than Indiana (.947 percent), and a lot of the success can be attributed to the rabid fans who fill Assembly Hall every game. Even when Indiana was winning six games a season, the fans showed and gave their team a homecourt advantage. IUAthletics YouTube channel posted a cool time-lapse video of the school’s loyal fans, from the time the gates opened to just before tip. Watch the video in this post.