CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Lovie Smith speaks in calm, even tones. Each word seemingly measured and given thought before being uttered. Tuesday was a big day for the freshly minted Illinois coach as he introduced his new staff, a collection of football minds that is tasked with trying to make the Illini relevant. Smith knows what’s on the line. He knows why he’s here: Illinois football is broken. And, Smith needs to fix it. “Are the players excited?” Smith asked. “Absolutely. “They want show what they can do for their new coaches. New eyes have no bias.” The work begins April
There was a lot to like about Indiana’s run to the outright Big Ten title this past season. But, the Hoosiers still failed to get past the Sweet 16, something the program hasn’t done since 2002 when it made a run to the national title game under Mike Davis. Peegs.com takes a look at what next year’s team could look like. Here is how Indiana could line up if it has no early departures. G – Josh Newkirk, Devonte Green, Harrison Niego G – James Blackmon, Curtis Jones G – Robert Johnson, Collin Hartman, Grant Gelon F – Troy Williams,
Who doesn’t love a surprise? We all do. And the Big Ten basketball season was filled with some good ones. Here are my three most surprising teams of the 2015-16 season. INDIANA The Hoosiers figured to be good. But few envisioned an outright Big Ten title with a 15-3 record. But, that’s what Indiana accomplished behind the play of star senior point man Yogi Ferrell. This was the Big Ten’s top offensive squad—even with James Blackmon Jr. going down with a season-ending injury in December. But it was a selfless commitment to defense that helped propel Indiana to the unexpected
The resume of Michigan State’s Connor Cook glistens. A three-year starter who finished his career as the winningest quarterback in school history with 34 victories (34-5 overall record, 23-2 vs. Big Ten opponents), Cook did it all for the Spartans during a spectacular career. The Big Ten Quarterback of the Year and the Unitas Award winner in 2015, Cook left campus as an all-time great. Now, the Spartans’ BMOC is gone. What’s next? Michigan State is one of several Big Ten squads that face a yawning hole under center. In fact, there are no less than nine schools with some
Chad Leistikow of HawkCentral.com has 10 things on Iowa’s spring to-do list. Keep an eye on the linebackers, as Iowa has to replace second-leading tackler Cole Fisher on the weak side. On the outside, starter Ben Niemann is out for the spring. *** Michigan State has a “best kept secret.” And his name is Andrew Dowell, who is emerging at linebacker. Dowell was the surprise of Michigan State’s camp last fall, and after earning playing time as a true freshman, he begins spring as a projected starter at linebacker, according to Mike Griffith of Mlive.com. The Spartans’ linebacking corps is
Indiana’s ride is over, as the Hoosiers lost 101-86 to a hot-shooting North Carolina squad that wasn’t going to be denied on this night in a Sweet 16 battle.
Wisconsin’s magic ride ended like a kick in the gut in the Sweet 16. After leading No. 6 Notre Dame for most of the game and failing to put away the poor-shooting Fighting Irish when they had a chance, the No. 7 Badgers let it slip away with some crucial late turnovers.
Michigan State basketball is already talking about next year. Michigan football says it's open to renewing one special rivalry. Wisconsin football is holding a spring practice not in Florida but some place north. These football and basketball stories and more in Friday's Big Ten news digest.
All four No. 1 seeds are in the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2012. And Kansas wasn’t going to be denied on this night.
Spring practices are in full swing across the Big Ten, as schools begin to answer questions as they prepare for 2016. And no position across the conference may be under more scrutiny than offensive line, which from my estimations will be a top priority for nine schools to shore up. Here is a look at the most critical offensive line situations in the Big Ten, listed alphabetically. Illinois Guard Ted Karras was the team’s top blocker. Now, he’s gone. This unit needs to get a better push after the Illini ranked last in the Big Ten in rushing (129.3 ypg)