Minnesota kicks off spring practice Thursday. As part of our daily spring “Football Fix” feature, I caught up with MarQueis Gray, the Golden Gophers quarterback who is trying to build on a breakout 2011 season and lead Minnesota to a bowl. Gray started 10 games last season after splitting time between quarterback and receiver earlier in his career. The focus on quarterback benefited Gray, who hit 108-of-203 passes (50.7 percent) for 1,495 yards with eight touchdowns and eight interceptions. Read the Q&A in this post.
With spring practice underway, BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is scouring the web for the best Big Ten football headlines. Tuesday’s links include a story about Devin Gardner’s possible expanded role, Nebraska’s desire to extend its recruiting footprint south and an update on Penn State’s quarterback battle, among other things. Get all the links, plus Dienhart’s take, in this post.
Rodney Williams scored 21 points to lead Minnesota to a 78-60 victory over Miami in a second round NIT game Monday night. The Gophers never trailed after starting the game on a 12-0 run. Williams scored 16 in the first half. Minnesota (21-14) advances to the quarterfinals at Middle Tennessee on Wednesday night. The Blue Raiders efeated Tennessee earlier Monday. Read the full AP recap, see the box score and get Tom Dienhart’s analysis in this post.
Spring football is in full swing across the Big Ten. And each day, BTN.com will be the place to stop by for your daily gridiron fix as we roll toward spring games in April. BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart will provide analysis, previews, videos and Q&As—among other things.
All season, the computer rankings said that the Big Ten was the nation’s strongest conference. The league lived up to that hype through the first week of the NCAA tourney. Four of the six schools that received bids are still playing, with No. 1 Michigan State, No. 2 Ohio State, No. 4 Indiana and No. 4 Wisconsin advancing the second weekend of the tourney. No. 4 Michigan fell in the second round to No. 13 Ohio, while No. 10 Purdue lost in the third round to No. 2 Kansas.
Michigan State held off Saint Louis on Sunday to advance to its fourth Sweet 16 in the last five seasons (recap). As usual, Draymond Green had an impressive all-around game (tweets). With the victory, Michigan State joins Indiana, Ohio State and Wisconsin in the Sweet 16. It looked like Purdue may join the group, too, but it fell to Kansas in the final seconds of a game it led throughout Sunday night (recap).
Ohio State, Wisconsin and Indiana came into Saturday looking to take the next step in the NCAA Tournament but all three had formidable challenges ahead of them. First off, the Buckeyes held off a very tough Gonzaga team before the Badgers battled Vanderbilt right down to the end to win. Finally, the Hoosiers got some late-game heroics from Will Sheehey and defeated VCU.
You have questions, I have answers in this week’s mail bag. A lot of March Madness queries, as you would suspect. But spring football also is in the air.
In Wednesday’s web links, we look at what some of the Big Ten beat writers are saying about their school’s chances in the NCAA tournament, which tips Thursday for three Big Ten teams. Also, find links and my thoughts on a trio of Big Ten big men who are filling equally big roles for Indiana and Michigan State. There’s some football talk in here, too, as coaches discuss position changes. Find it all in this post.
Iowa ran past Dayton (recap) and Northwestern survived a potential buzzer-beating defeat against Akron (recap) in first-round NIT action Tuesday night. Catch up on both games on our BTN.com scoreboard and get stats, recaps and BTN.com Tom Dienhart’s analysis in this post. Also, don’t forget to bookmark the NIT bracket.
Let’s roll up our sleeves and look at Michigan, the No. 4 seed in the Midwest Regional. The Wolverines play No. 13 seed Ohio on Friday. What do we know about Ohio? Brent Yarina told us earlier. Now I’m here to tell you about Michigan in this post. Use the NCAA.com bracket and the BTN scoreboard to track all of the action this tournament.
In today’s links we take a look at what some think the previous Illinois athletic director would have done with Bruce Weber. Plus, Michigan State’s men’s basketball team has incredible chemistry, but is that enough for the Spartans? Purdue’s shooting is heating up just in time. Could the Nebraska men’s basketball job search be warming up, too? And let’s shift gears to football where one writer reports linebacker is the deepest position on the Michigan team. Lots of others links plus the Big Ten Blast video, too.
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Three Big Ten men’s teams got NIT slots and two of them play tonight. No. 7 seed Iowa hosts No. 2 seed Dayton and No. 4 seed Northwestern faces visiting No. 5 seed Akron. No. 6 seed Minnesota plays at No. 3 La Salle on Wednesday.
Ohio State didn’t win the Big Ten Tournament, but the Buckeyes hope to make a run at an NCAA title. Here’s my closer look at how Ohio State sets up for their Thursday’s first-round game against Loyola (Md.). Who is Loyola (Md.)? Our Brent Yarina answers that question while I give you my Buckeyes preview further down in this post.
Indiana is back in the NCAA Tournament, and so I kick off my six Big Ten previews with the Hoosiers leading up to the opening first-round games on Thursday. No. 4 seed Indiana plays No. 13 seed New Mexico State at 9:45 p.m. ET on Thursday in the South Region. My BTN.com colleague Brent Yarina took a closer look at Indiana’s first opponent today. Now I’m rolling up my sleeves and breaking down Indiana. Im working my way through all six Big Ten teams, so all of my Big Ten team previews will be archived over here.
What are my colleagues around the Big Ten saying this morning? The Spartans are a sure thing in an unpredictable tourney while the Buckeyes challenge is to move on. The Wolverines look to stick around a while in the NCAA while the Badgers’ bracket is dangerous even with Kentucky nowhere near. And the NCAA committee did Purdue a favor. What was it? Find out in my daily web links post.
After four days of Big Ten basketball in Indianapolis, six Big Ten men’s teams move on to the NCAA tournament. Michigan State lands the No. 1 seed in the West and plays Long Island University (Friday, 9:20 p.m. ET), while Ohio State is the No. 2 seed in East and faces Loyola (Md.) (Thursday, 9:50 p.m.). Wisconsin scored a No. 4 seed in East and plays Montana (Thursday, 2:10 p.m.), and Michigan gets a No. 4 seed and plays Ohio University (Friday, 7:20 p.m.)
With 11 games over four days, there was a lot to watch and digest at the 15th Big Ten tourney in Indianapolis. There were highs and lows as well as good and bad from the first game to the final game.
Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne fired Doc Sadler today, a move that surprised no one. Sadler went 12-17 overall and 4-14 in the Big Ten, culminating with a loss to Purdue in the first round of the Big Ten tournament. Nebraska moved into a state-of-the-art, $18 million practice facility last fall. And the program will move into a $344 million arena that is expected to open for the 2013-14 season, as the school has experienced a rebirth of its basketball facilities. (See more video in this post.)