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?
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.
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?
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.
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.
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?
Bo Spencer has been a revelation for Nebraska in what is his one and only season in Lincoln. He transferred from LSU where he was a two-year starter, sat out 2010-11 and has proceeded to be the top player on a Cornhusker squad that recently ended a four-game losing skein with an impressive 80-57 demolition of Illinois
Just got off the phone with CBSSport.com’s Dr. of Bracketology Jerry Palm, as I do each and every week. His latest bracket doesn’t include any Big Ten teams as No. 1 seeds, but there’s still time for that to change. Minnesota and Northwestern still cling to Big Dance hopes, but Palm has only one of those two in his bracket.
With his play in recent weeks, Michigan State’s Draymond Green has solidified his hold on the top spot in my weekly player rankings. The senior is a do-it-all talent who’s driven to leave campus standing side-by-side with players like Mateen Cleaves and Magic Johnson as an all-time great en route to leading the Spartans to a Big Ten title and spot in the Final Four. I am not gonna bet against him.
Some interesting games are on tap this week, with the headliner being Wisconsin’s visit to Ohio State on Sunday. Also, front-running Michigan State may face a tough test at Minnesota, where the Gophers are a pesky team. But of all of the contenders, Michigan has the toughest tests in its quest for its first Big Ten crown since Antoine Joubert and his Jheri curl were roaming the court in 1985-86, with a game at Northwestern and a visit from Purdue.
With each passing week, Michigan State is looking more and more dominant. In fact, this past week may have been the Spartans’ best yet, dominating Wisconsin, 69-55, in East Lansing and whipping Purdue, 76-62, in West Lafayette. Michigan State is looking to maintain its one-game lead this week, playing at Minnesota and playing host to Nebraska. Neither game looks threatening to the Spartans, but they must remain vigilant against a letdown.
What a weekend, especially for Michigan, which remains in the hunt for a Big Ten title with that impressive win over Ohio State. Read all about the surging Wolverines’ quest for their first Big Ten regular-season title since 1985-86 and other Big Ten happenings with these links in this post.
Zack Novak is the face of Michigan, the embodiment of what John Beilein is trying to build the Wolverine program into in his fifth year in Ann Arbor. Just watch Novak on the court. The energy, the desire, the passion. And, the production. He’s the inspirational leader of a Michigan team that is 19-7 overall and 9-4 in the Big Ten, very much in the hunt for the Big Ten title.
Purdue suffered a big blow with guard Kelsey Barlow being dismissed from the program and guard/forward D.J. Byrd being suspended for a game. The duo was involved in an incident at a West Lafayette, Ind., bar that resulted in Byrd being arrested on suspicion of public intoxication early Friday. Purdue (17-9 overall, 7-6 Big Ten) plays host to Michigan State on Sunday.
It has been an interesting week, with the league title chase coming into sharper focus with Michigan State’s big win at Ohio State. It will come down to Sparty vs. Brutus for the title, which is what we thought would happen back in October. So, it looks like the other Big Ten teams are relegated to a chase for third place.