Welcome to the first installment of “Three Pointers,” a fun, informative and informal spin around Big Ten men’s basketball every Friday afternoon. There is a lot to explore with the start of Big Ten action this week. Early signs indicate the conference will be as good as advertised, as six Big Ten teams are ranked in the Top 20. And four are in the top 13.
First he’s gone, then he’s staying. It has been a crazy few days tracking the saga of Penn State’s Bill O’Brien. But, according to many reports last night, O’Brien is staying in State College, Pa. So, let’s begin Friday’s daily links right there.
Reid Compton-US PRESSWIRE
The time is now for Iowa’s Roy Devyn Marble. This is his Hawkeyes team. He must be a leader and he must show the way if the program is to reach the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2006.
Jeff Griffith-USA TODAY Sports
It’s that time of the week when I reach into my mailbag and answer the best of your questions. This time of year, the bag is jammed with both football and hoops questions, and I have few of each this week. That includes one on Ohio State’s shooting struggles.
Find out more about: Dienhart's Mailbag
Andrew Weber-US Presswire
Please tell me you aren’t shocked by news that Michigan State running back Le’Veon Bell is going pro a year early. Running backs have only so many carries in their body. And Bell already has used up a lot of them at Michigan State. In three years, he ran 671 times for 3,346 yards and 33 touchdowns. He also caught 78 passes, which surely will impress NFL scouts.
Find out more about: Le'Veon Bell, NFL Draft
No doubt, Wisconsin’s loss to Stanford in the Rose Bowl was disappointing. But, hopes are high for 2013, says Tom Mulhern of the Wisconsin State Journal. And that’s where I’m gonna start my daily links.
Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports
The Big Ten has a nice collection of freshmen who already are making a big impact. Michigan has the best group, with the likes of Mitch McGary, Glenn Robinson III and Nik Stauskas already shining.
Find out more about: Super Seven
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
When it comes to motivation, few push buttons better than Barry Alvarez. Heading into the Rose Bowl vs. Stanford, Alvarez had bracelets made for players that read “I’m In” and “I’m On.” But the players had to earn the rubber jewelry through their position coach.
Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports
Every week this season, Tom Dienhart (@BTNTomDienhart) and myself (@BTNBrentYarina) offered our predictions for each Big Ten football game and provided polls for fans to pick their winners. We continued it this bowl season, and BTN.com fans and Dienhart each went 7-0, meaning the former claims the 2012 crown.
Happy New Year! It’s Jan. 1, the high holy day for college football. Before kickoff, check out my daily links, which begins with looks at the Big Ten and the five bowls it’s involved with today. And one of the most interesting will be the Outback Bowl clash between Michigan and South Carolina. Here’s a nice breakdown of the game from Kyle Meinke of MLive.com.
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
The start of conference play began on Monday with two key matchups: Michigan State at Minnesota and Indiana and Iowa. But more interesting games loom this week, including Ohio State at Illinois and Iowa at Michigan. Here’s my ranking of the week’s games.
Peter Casey-US PRESSWIRE
The Big Ten takes the lid off of conference action this week. Now, we really will discover what these teams are made of. The Chicago States, Slippery Rocks, North Floridas, Bryants and Nebraska-Omahas are being replaced with trips to places like Bloomington, Ann Arbor, East Lansing, Champaign and Minneapolis.
Find out more about: Big Ten Whiteboard
This may be the last day of 2012, but it’s the first for Big Ten league hoop action. What a great place to begin my daily links!
If you like tough, physical, smash-mouth football, you’ll love this game. Wisconsin and Stanford are mirrors of each other in many ways. The Badgers are in the Rose Bowl for a third season in a row. The last Big Ten team to pull off that feat was Michigan after the 1976-78 seasons.
Find out more about: Big Ten Bowls, Rose Bowl
Michigan came close to winning the Legends Division but still is in search of its first league title since 2004. A win here would prime the program for a strong run in 2013, as this is a young roster. Three of the team’s four losses were to the top three teams in the nation: Notre Dame; Alabama; Ohio State. The other was to 10-win Nebraska.
Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE
This is a battle between the losers of their respective conference title games. It also is a game that will feature one of the better quarterback matchups, with Nebraska’s Taylor Martinez facing off with Georgia’s Aaron Murray. And which Cornhusker defense will show up? The one that allowed 653 yards at UCLA, 63 points at Ohio State and 70 points to Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game? Or the one that backstopped a six-game winning streak leading into the league title game?
Sandra Dukes-US PRESSWIRE
Purdue will arrive in Dallas without head coach Danny Hope, who was fired after four seasons despite guiding the Boilermakers to a second bowl in succession. This is a chance to punctuate a second consecutive season with a bowl win, which hasn’t happened since winning back-to-back Alamo Bowls in 1997-98. And the Boilermakers arrive with some momentum, having won three in a row.
Brace Hemmelgarn-US PRESSWIRE
Minnesota kicks off the first of seven football bowl games involving Big Ten teams when the Gophers face Texas Tech on Friday night. On Saturday, Michigan State plays TCU. On Sunday leading up to five Big Ten bowls on New Year’s Day, watch our “Bowl Preview Show” at 7 p.m. ET on BTN/BTN2Go.
Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE
Expect a tough, low-scoring defensive effort in this game. Neither team comes in on a roll, having lost four of their last six games. Needless to say, the season hasn’t gone as expected for either team as both opened the season in the Top 25. In fact, the Spartans were picked by some to win the Big Ten coming off consecutive 11-win seasons.
This is a battle between programs looking to ascend the food chain in their respective conferences. Jerry Kill is in his second season in the Twin Cities, rallying the program to its first bowl since 2009. The extra practices will help hasten the development of this rising team.
Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE
Michigan was the highest-rated Big Ten team in the AP preseason poll at No. 8, but it was undone by youth, injuries and a brutal schedule. The offense struggled much of the season, getting little production from the tailbacks and an inconsistent effort up front in Brady Hoke’s second season in Ann Arbor.
Gary Andersen sounded like a confident and prepared coach. Soon, he’ll get the chance to prove it, as he was introduced today as the new Wisconsin coach.
Find out more about: Gary Andersen, Rose Bowl
Byron Hetzler-USA TODAY Sports
Big Ten players have been honored on various all-conference teams. But what about the assistant coaches? Let’s take this time to honor them on a 2012 Big Ten All-Assistant Coach Team.
Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE
Wisconsin isn’t apologizing for being the first five-loss team ever in the Rose Bowl. The Badgers will proudly punch their third ticket in a row to Pasadena, thanks largely to a defense that played well all season.
Find out more about: Rose Bowl, Season Reviews