It’s mid-January. Seems like a good time to start taking a look at some mock NCAA brackets. Things are looking good for Wisconsin and Michigan State, which are primed to be No. 1 seeds.
Toughness. It’s needed in any sport to be successful. And there are many definitions of toughness, which is displayed in various ways. Show me a successful team—and I’ll show you a tough team. Knowing that, I asked some writers who cover Big Ten hoops teams who they felt is the “toughest” player in the conference.
It’s time for my Big Ten basketball 3-Pointers, my look back at the week that was in the Big Ten—with a sneak peek at what’s to come. It has been a good week to be Minnesota and Indiana. It hasn’t been such a good week to be Ohio State and Illinois. And if you’re Richard Pitno’s jacket from Thursday night, you had a little bit of good and bad this week.
The Ohio State tailspin continues, as the loss at Minnesota last night makes it three in a row for the Buckeyes. Weren’t they just ranked, like, No. 3 in the nation the other day? No one denies that this Ohio State team plays good defense. But the offense is struggling. More shooters are needed, among other things. And the turnovers need to be reduced. I’m looking at you, Aaron Craft and Shannon Scott.
Time for me to reach into my mail bag that runs deep with a thicket of letters from you, passionate BTN.com readers. Thanks for your thoughts! Lots to get to, with many questions about football, even though we are neck-deep in hoops season.
So, Philip Nelson is bolting Minnesota because he wants to play for a program that “centers more around the pass game which utilizes my skill sets.”
The BCS era is over, and to me that is a very good thing. The era ran 16 seasons stretching from 1998-2013. As a way to celebrate the end of the BCS and with an eye on the first college football playoff after next season, I present to you my 10 best Big Ten teams of the BCS era.
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
January 15 is the deadline for underclassmen to declare for the NFL draft. And, the Big Ten isn’t taking too many big hits, which would seem to bode well for the conference in 2014. Just four players have declared: Indiana WR Cody Latimer; Penn State WR Allen Robinson; Ohio State CB Bradley Roby; Ohio State LB Ryan Shazier.
National Signing Day is Feb. 5th, but schools have been inking mid-year prospects for a few weeks in the early-signing period. And today is the deadline.
Big win last night for Indiana over unbeaten Wisconsin. BIG win. This was the signature victory that had been lacking from the Hoosiers’ resume. It’s also a victory that may spark Indiana in what thus far has been a lackluster season. How big was the win for IU fans? They rushed the court. Seemed a bit excessive, but, what the heck.
Michigan State’s Gary Harris is one of the Big Ten’s most talented players, a threat off the wing who can score in a variety of ways. But he has been a bit frustrated this season with his shooting. To wit: He missed two free throws in the waning moments of a recent game vs. Minnesota that could have iced victory for Michigan State.
Let the games begin on Week Three of the Big Ten season! On the surface, it doesn’t look like a great week. The headliner? It’s tonight’s Wisconsin at Indiana game, which drips with some interesting storylines.
It was sad to hear of the passing of former Iowa defensive coordinator Norm Parker. He was one of the best in the business, but you rarely heard about it because of the low profile he kept.
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
It’s time to begin Week Three of the Big Ten season. Michigan State, Wisconsin and Michigan are unbeaten in conference play, while Iowa is coming on. And you know Ohio State will dig in after suffering back-to-back losses. There are no Titanic clashes but some that will go a long way toward shaping this Big Ten race.
Well, if you had any doubt if Iowa was legit, yesterday’s win at No. 3 Ohio State should quell that notion. This was the signature victory for the Hawkeyes under Fran McCaffery, who was coming off a one-game suspension for his double-technical/ejection last Sunday at Wisconsin. What a way to announce your return.
Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports
Penn State acting athletic director Dave Joyner said the school was going to move quickly to fill its coaching vacancy, and he wasn’t kidding. The school will hold a 4:15 p.m. ET press conference on Saturday to introduce Vanderbilt’s James Franklin as the next Nittany Lions head football coach.
OK, Big Ten Nation: If you could pick one player to take a last-second shot, who would it be? I polled seven Big Ten writers. And, here were their choices. Looks like the guy to pass to is … Michigan’s Nik Stauskas.
Can’t say it was a shock to see the release from Indiana that announced defensive coordinator Doug Mallory and defensive line coach Jon Fabris won’t be back. Wilson had to do something. The Hoosiers defense was an abomination in 2013 and a big reason why the school failed to reach a bowl for the sixth season in a row, as Indiana finished 5-7 overall and 3-5 in the Big Ten.
Joshua S. Kelly
What was speculated is now official: Braxton Miller will return for his senior season. The school issued a statement tonight about Miller’s decision to return to Ohio State.
OK, the mail has been steadily streaming in. That makes sense since there has been a lot going on these days, what with the bowl season, hoops heating up and … oh, yes, Fran McCaffery! Let’s dig in and address the best of your questions and comments.
It looks like Michigan already has hired a new offensive coordinator, as reports indicate Brady Hoke has tabbed Alabama’s Doug Nussmeier. That didn’t take long. Actually, it obviously likely has been in the works for a bit. The chair in deposed coordinator Al Borges’ office is still warm. Heck, pictures of his kids may still be on his desk.