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.
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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.
The New Orleans Saints’ official Twitter account (@Saints) released photos of the 2012 Final Four court and other scenes around the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, home of this year’s Final Four. So, if you’re interested, get your first look at the court Ohio State will be playing on Saturday night. Spoiler alert: It’s in the same design as all the NCAA tourney courts, only it’s green — two shades of it — where those courts are black, and it features the Final Four logo at midcourt. See pictures in this post.
Let’s say you were running for Student Body President — how would you separate yourself from the competition, make yourself stand out? Whatever you came up with, Purdue’s Ishmael Aristide just topped you. The safety is going all “Old Spice” on Purdue’s campus to promote his presidency and QB Rob Henry’s vice presidency. Watch Aristide’s spot, plus Henry’s, in this post.
Former Maryland QB Danny O’Brien visited Penn State again Monday as the Nittany Lions opened spring practice and the Bill O’Brien era. Of much interest, O’Brien, who also was in State College, Pa., a week ago, donned a Penn State jacket. What does this mean for the transfer who’s also visited Ole Miss, Vanderbilt and Wisconsin? Perhaps nothing more than it was cool and O’Brien needed another layer. See a picture of O’Brien and a relevant tweet in this post.
March 26, 2005, forever will hold a special place in Illinois men’s basketball fans’ hearts. It was on this day, after all, that the top-ranked Illini pulled off one of the more memorable comebacks in NCAA tourney history (AP recap). Down 15 points with four minutes left in the Chicago Regional final against No. 3 seed Arizona, Illinois rallied all the way back to force overtime, where it carded an unforgettable 90-89 victory. Watch a video of the unbelievable comeback in this post.
Ohio State is back in the Final Four for the first since 2007, when it advanced to the national championship game and lost to Florida. The 2011-12 journey was an up-and-down one. Along the way, the Buckeyes were ranked as high as No. 2 and also struggled through a 2-3 funk in February. But they were at their best when it mattered most, winning eight of their last nine en route to making the Final Four. Now that Ohio State is off to New Orleans for the national semis, BTN.com’s Brent Yarina takes a look back at the key moments and plays that have the Buckeyes in this position.
Ohio State’s Lenzelle Smith Jr. took a shot to the face in Saturday night’s Elite Eight win over Syracuse (AP recap), and the eye looks a lot worse than one that required only three stitches. See a picture of Smith’s swollen eye, courtesy of @OSUADAthComm, plus photos of the injury, in this post.
We’re off to the semifinals of BTN.com’s Big Ten football uniform bracket, and the upsets continue. No. 5 Iowa stunned No. 2 Penn State and Cinderella No. 9 Purdue is one win away from playing for it all after downing No. 10 Illinois. Also, No. 1 Michigan drilled No. 6 Michigan State to advance to the title matchup, by virtue of amassing the most quarterfinal votes.
The MLB season opens Wednesday, so it’s time to find out which Big Ten products are on MLB active rosters. See the entire list in this post. Forgetting a name? Send it in as a comment at the bottom.
For the first time since 1999 and the third time since the field expanded in 1985, the Big Ten has four teams in the Sweet 16. Indiana, Michigan State, Ohio State and Wisconsin all made it through the first weekend of the tournament, meaning each is two wins away from the Final Four, four from claiming the national title. The competition only gets stiffer the rest of the way, of course, so it’s important to consider what these teams did against elite foes. See how the Big Ten’s remaining teams fared this season vs. the Sweet 16 field in this post.