The Big Ten tourney kicks off in a few hours and I’m in Indianapolis ready to watch all the games up close and personal. Like so many of you, I’ve been following this Big Ten season from the very start. Before the first game tips on BTN/BTN2Go, here are four quick thoughts on today’s matchups. I’ll be posting to BTN.com all day from press row – follow me on Twitter @BTNTomDienhart.
Getting named Coach of the Year by his Big Ten peers was sweet for Nebraska’s Tim Miles. Maybe even better: His contract calls for him to get a $50K bonus for it. That’ll buy a lot of Runza’s. But his contract stipulates Miles will get the loot for being “consensus” Coach of the Year. John Beilein was voted the honor by league media. Hmmmm. Regardless, Miles still expects to cash in.
The Big Ten will lose one of its most unsung, talented and classy players soon, as Northwestern’s Drew Crawford figures to be suiting up for the last time in his Wildcat career in the Big Ten tourney this week. Enjoy every last dribble.
As spring practice dawns, Nebraska seems to be primed for some big things. I know, I know. It seems the Cornhuskers are primed for big things each year, but it may really happen in 2014 for a team that could have one of the top defenses in the Big Ten.
The Big Ten tourney kicks off on Thursday in Indianapolis with four games. Teams seeded No. 5-12 will play. The bad news for these clubs: Just one team seeded lower than No. 4 ever has won the Big Ten tourney: No. 6 Iowa in 2001.
The debate will rage: Who is the Big Ten Coach of the Year? The Big Ten media bestowed the honor on John Beilein. The Big Ten coaches bequeathed the award on Tim Miles. Probably a good idea to just split it. A great case can be made for each guy. Personally, my vote would have gone with Beilein, who just isn’t comfortable with these things. And he means it, too.
The Big Ten has revealed the bracket for its tourney, which kicks off on Thursday in Indianapolis. There are many interesting storylines, as Michigan looks for its first Big Ten tourney crown since the inaugural event in 1998. In fact, that’s the only time the Wolverines have won the tourney.
The regular season is over. On to the league tourneys. Basically, six teams look to be locks for the Big Dance: Michigan, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Nebraska, Ohio State, Iowa. Minnesota is squarely on the bubble.
The Big Ten tourney bracket is set. Tip-off is early Thursday afternoon at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. The top four seeds: 1. Michigan; 2. Wisconsin; 3. Michigan State; 4. Nebraska. Those four, of course, all earn first-round byes. Here’s a quick look at what each team has on the line in Indy.
It has been slow, steady growth for Indiana under Kevin Wilson. And, that’s good. Progress is being made as the Hoosiers inch closer to their first bowl since the 2007 season.
It looked like Bo Pelini would enter 2014 on a bit of a hot seat, but that talk has been cooled off with news that he’s inked a five-year contract extension. It’s a remarkable turn of events.
The upcoming Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament promises to be full of intrigue and potentially wide-open. Five of the last seven No. 1 seeds have won the Big Ten tourney. The last time someone lower than a No. 3 seed won it was Iowa, which turned the trick as a No. 6 seed in 2001.
I’m taking one last shot around the Big Ten as we close in on the final weekend of the season. Michigan already has the league title so the biggest drama left is the battle for fourth place. Can Nebraska seal it up? A win over Wisconsin would do the trick (game airs Sunday at 7:30 on BTN/BTN2Go). Minnesota is sitting on the NCAA bubble, needing to close the season with a win as it heads to the Big Ten tourney to bolster its resume.
It got ugly near the end, which was unfortunate, but Michigan State notched a much-needed win last night vs. Iowa. The Spartans had gone 4-6 in their previous 10 games. This triumph will give MSU some momentum as it heads to Ohio State for the regular-season finale. The Spartans needed a night like this. And they especially needed Keith Appling to rediscover his groove, which he did in the second half.
The National Football Foundation has released its 2014 College Football Hall of Fame ballot, and plenty of players with ties to Big Ten schools are up for election. In fact, among the 75 FBS players, there are 21 Big Ten players.
The amazing story of Nebrasketball continues, as the Cornhuskers rolled into Indiana last night and won. Ho-hum, right? We’ve come to expect this, right? That gave Nebraska a sweep of the season series with the Hoosiers. (More proof that if you live long enough, you WILL see everything.) This is just bizarro. But it’s also fun as heck. Someone call Hollywood.
It seems every radio show I am on, I’m asked this question: Is the Big Ten the best league in America? Or, it is an average league with a lot of good teams?
Nebraska begins a final push for its first NCAA bid since 1998 tonight with a visit to Indiana. Not bad for a team picked to finish last in the Big Ten. Can the Cornhuskers close the deal? It will be difficult, as a visit from Wisconsin follows this game. “We’re good enough to be a tournament team,” Tim Miles told reporters. “We just need to win enough games to prove it.”
There is just no sugarcoating it: Darrell Hazell’s debut was brutal. How brutal? The 1-11 season arguably was the worst in Purdue history. And the one win came vs. a FCS foe that went—you guessed it—1-11. There was very little that this team did well last season during a winless Big Ten campaign in which blowouts were the norm. Perhaps this summarizes things best: The best player on the team was the punter.
Few teams in the nation are playing better than Wisconsin. In fact, the Badgers may have the stuff of a No. 1 NCAA seed. Really. Read on.
The good times are rolling at Minnesota, as Jerry Kill continues to put his stamp on the program. The proof: The Golden Gophers’ win total has improved each of Kill’s three seasons, going from three to six to eight victories last season. The guy has won at every stop in his career.
Michigan’s game at Illinois game tonight (read the review) that will take place tonight didn’t look so interesting a few weeks ago. Now, it drips with intrigue. A win would wrap up the outright Big Ten title for the Wolverines, the program’s first since 1985-86. But they know the threat that the Fighting Illini poses, having won three in a row and held their last four foes under 50 points.
Gary Andersen’s debut in Madison was a rousing success—save for the stumble at the end that saw the Badgers lose their regular-season finale at home to Penn State and then fall to South Carolina in the bowl game. Still, there is a lot for Wisconsin to build on after last year’s 9-4 mark that saw the program’s run of three consecutive Rose Bowls come to end.