The heart of the Big Ten Tournament could be the Hoosiers, but conference balance should translate into a wild tournament. Pat Fitzgerald doesn’t want bowls to be limited to picking seven-win teams. Fran McCaffrey is disappointed that Matt Gatens wasn’t first-team All-Big Ten and Pat Fitzgerald doesn’t want bowls to be limited to picking seven-win teams. What do these stories have in common? They’re all in my Daily Links for Wednesday. Dive in and have a look.
The 2012 Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament tips off at 11:30 a.m. ET Thursday with No. 8 seed Iowa taking on No. 9 seed Illinois at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis (full bracket here). Before the action gets underway, I’m breaking down the first four games with an overview, key matchup and, of course, my prediction. Who do you like in the first four games? Vote inside.
Who can forget Christian Watford’s long-distance dagger as the clock hit zero to lift Indiana over Kentucky and set off the part at Assembly Hall? What about William Buford’s Spartan-killing shot from the top of the key last Sunday to propel Ohio State over Michigan State to win a share of the Big Ten title?
We’ve rolled out a new feature here on BTN.com and we think it could be fun. Use the Vyou.com video player embedded in this post and type in your questions about Big Ten men’s basketball and football, and BTN.com’s Tom Dienhart will answer the best ones throughout the days and weeks ahead via the web camera on my laptop computer. Don”t have a question? No problem. Click on any of the previous question links and just watch my answers. Also, I’ll be posting occasional status updates with my latest takes on the news. For instance, we’ll be taking this for a test drive from press row at the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament during and after each game.
In another edition of my daily links, I suggest five top stories worth a read plus a handful of others, too. But before I get to my usual breakdown, Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News and a frequent guest on BTN TV rolled out his publication’s All-American team and there are two familiar names on the first team and another one on the All-Freshman team. Read his piece here and see the list of teams here.
BTN will announce the 2011-12 All-Big Ten Men’s Basketball Teams live at 7 p.m. ET Monday. Until then, BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart and BTN.com editor and blogger Brent Yarina offer up their All-Big Ten teams and superlative winners. Check out their teams and honorees in this post. Don’t agree? Leave your thoughts in the comment box at the bottom of the post.
Find out more about: Big Ten Blast
In my first daily batch of links for this week, Matt Charboneau of the Detroit News tells us that Delvon Roe feels Branden Dawson’s pain. No doubt, and Dawson’s loss for the rest of the season to a knee injury suffered in the loss to Ohio State will have a big impact on Michigan State in the postseason. This is a slumping Spartan squad that enters the Big Ten tourney as the No. 1 seed but riding consecutive losses at Indiana and at home yesterday to the Buckeyes on Senior Day. Now, this: News that the freshman sensation is done.
The bracket for the 15th Big Ten tourney is set, with games beginning on Thursday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State and Wisconsin are the top four seeds, respectively, with each receiving a bye in the first round. But the other eight schools will be in action on the first day of a tourney that has been dominated by Ohio State in recent years.
Indiana has 20 wins for the first time since 2007-08 and are NCAA tourney bound for the first time since that same season. Add it all up, and some think the program is ahead of schedule in its rebuilding project under fourth-year Indiana coach Tom Crean, who has done a great job cleaning up the mess left by Kelvin Sampson. This is why Jordan Hulls decided to stay home. He wanted to be part of something special. He wanted to be part of rebuilding the school he grew up loving and worshiping.
Find out more about: Big Ten Q&A, Jordan Hulls
The final weekend of the Big Ten men’s basketball regular season is here. And thanks to some upsets last week, there’s some drama at the top. Yes, Michigan State (13-4 Big Ten) already has sewn up a share of the seventh Big Ten title in the Tom Izzo era, but the Spartans’ loss at Indiana on Tuesday opened the door for Ohio State and Michigan to earn a share of the crown.
Draymond Green for Big Ten MVP? It’s an easy pick, says Terry Foster of the Detroit News. Who can argue with that? Green is the only player in the Big Ten who is averaging a double-double. And his leadership is unmatched, as he has led the Spartans to at least a share of Tom Izzo’s seventh league championship. Is there any way Michigan State will lose at home to Ohio State on Senior Day on Sunday? I will be shocked if it happens. Read more of my newsy links for Friday. And remember? I do this every weekday.
You have questions, I have answers as I reach into my mailbag to answer your most pressing queries. This weeks’ questions: What does Northwestern have to do to get an NCAA bid for the first time ever? What do you think Nebraska needs to work on this year in spring football? What do you think Nebraska needs to work on this year in spring football? What’s your take on the new Iowa offensive coordinator Greg Davis? What Big Ten teams do you have in the NCAA tourney?
Find out more about: Dienhart's Mailbag
I took my usual spin around the Internet this morning and found my five conversation starters for Thursday. Click inside for a look at those stories, my take on each, and more links to the Big ten stories you need to read today.
Big Ten football is almost back. Spring practices are set to begin with Northwestern kicking off on March 3 and most sessions culminate with a spring game of sorts. Three schools have new head coaches (Illinois, Ohio State, and Penn State) and the usual roster turnover hits every squad, too. In anticipation of these practices, I took a quick look at three primary areas of development for each school. And here’s the list of spring dates I posted a while back.
The Big Ten is in the final week of the regular season. Teams are battling to enhance their postseason resumes, jockeying for seeding in the Big Ten tourney, which starts March 8 in Indianapolis. And schools also have their eye on the NCAA tourney. I caught up with CBSSports.com NCAA bracketologist Jerry Palm to get his read on where the Big Ten schools sit in his latest bracket projections. Click inside to listen to our conversation this morning.
Find out more about: Jerry Palm
It was just last week when many felt Northwestern played perhaps the biggest game in school annals. And it lost, 67-55, in overtime at home to Michigan. But the Wildcats rebounded to score a huge win at Penn State over the weekend. Now, comes yet another “biggest game in school history” for the Wildcats tonight when Ohio State visits. In the first of today’s five big links worth a look, Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune says Northwestern needs another big game from John Shurna if it wants to beat Ohio State.
While the Ohio State at Michigan State game has lost luster with the Buckeyes’ defeat at home to Wisconsin on Sunday, it still looms as the most attractive game of the week. Also, it’s a big week for Wisconsin, which wants to finish fourth to earn a bye in the Big Ten tourney. Purdue and Indiana are giving chase, but the Badgers own the tiebreaker over both and only need to win one of their final two to guarantee a bye. And can Northwestern finish fast to build its NCAA resume?
Find out more about: Ranking the Games
The last week of the regular season is here. Where’s the drama? Michigan State already has sewn up at least a share of Tom Izzo’s seventh Big Ten title thanks to the Spartans pushing their winning streak to seven and Ohio State and Michigan both losing—at home, no less—over the weekend (standings). Michigan State can claim the outright title with a win at Indiana on Tuesday, potentially taking any remaining pizzazz out of that season-ending visit to East Lansing by Ohio State.
Find out more about: Big Ten Whiteboard
A busy weekend in the Big Ten saw Michigan State clinch a share of Tom Izzo’s seventh Big Ten title without even playing on Sunday. Thanks, Badgers! Here’s some other news you need to know on this Monday, including Steve Greenberg of the Sporting News and his 12 burning questions as spring drills approach. More Monday links below in this post.
With a little more than a week to go, it has come down to Michigan State, Ohio State and Michigan in the race for the Big Ten title. But other story lines exist. Which four teams will secure first-round byes in the Big Ten tourney? The Spartans, Buckeyes and Wolverines look like locks for three of the slots. But who will get the fourth? Wisconsin? Indiana? Purdue? Or, how about white-hot Iowa?
Selection Sunday is March 11. Time is running out for teams to enhance their resumes for an NCAA tourney at-large berth. Michigan State, Ohio State, Michigan, Wisconsin and Indiana all look like locks for the Big Dance, with one winning the automatic bid and the others at-large spots. And Penn State and Nebraska appear to be but out.
You have questions, I have answers in my weekly Big Ten mailbag. For instance, why was San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh working at a recent Indiana Hoosiers game? Watch the video to find out. There were plenty of other hoop queries in my mailbag this week with the season winding down. In case you were wondering, the Big Ten tourney kicks off March 8 in Indianapolis. Tickets are available Monday.
Find out more about: Dienhart's Mailbag
Michigan State got a scare last night, but it found a way to pull out victory at Minnesota to remain atop the Big Ten standings. But what else is going on in Big Ten and other related circles?