The Big Ten features 11 men’s basketball games this week, including an interesting non-league contest that has Michigan playing at Arkansas. Will this week’s slate of games feature as many upsets, further jumbling the conference race? Here’s how I rank the games this week.
BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart’s weekly Big Ten player rankings are in, with the same big men remaining at the head of the class. Those players, of course, are Indiana’s Cody Zeller, Michigan State’s Draymond Green and Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger.
Find out more about: Hoops Player Rankings
Up is down. In is out. Black is white. Welcome to Big Ten basketball 2012, a season filled with twists and turns that have jumbled the race (standings). And the conference season isn’t even half over. This past week was filled with tumult that scrambled the league standings and made one thing perfectly clear: This is going to be a wild race for the Big Ten championship.
John Shurna knows time is running out. The Northwestern forward knows there’s a sense of urgency for the Wildcats to get on a roll. History is at stake. Specifically: The school’s first NCAA tourney trip.
Find out more about: Big Ten Q&A, John Shurna
The 2011 season was barely punctuated, and the 2012 football polls were already coming out. LSU looks like a consensus pick for No. 1, but the Big Ten is well represented. In the five polls I found, Michigan, Michigan State and Wisconsin all were ranked. And Nebraska appeared in all but one poll. Ohio State, which is ineligible to win the Big Ten title or play in a bowl in 2012 because of probation, is in two polls.
Tom Bradley sits and waits. It’s all he can do at this point. The former Penn State defensive coordinator told me last night that he doesn’t have any coaching jobs in the works despite several schools across the nation being in the market for defensive coordinators. In fact, three Big Ten schools need defensive coordinators: Iowa, Illinois and Purdue. If nothing transpires, the affable Bradley told me that he may explore opportunities in broadcasting. Still, he would offer a lot to any staff that hired him.
You have more questions, and I have more answers in this week’s mailbag. With the basketball season heating up, readers wonder who the best team is in the Big Ten, what’s wrong with Wisconsin, and who have been the top freshmen. But also: Did Montee Ball make the correct decision to come back for his senior year? I’ll tell you what I think but then you can tell me what you think about that question and others in the comments box at the end of my post.
Eight NCAA bids. That’s how many Big Ten teams CBS Sports bracketologist Jerry Palm has in the NCAA tournament. Of course, there’s still a lot of time left in the season until March Madness unfolds, and schools will be working madly to enhance their resumes. Between then and now, I will talk to Palm each Wednesday and upload the phone conversation right here. This week we discussed the Illini’s big win over Ohio State, the upcoming Indiana vs. Ohio State tilt, and how many No. 1 seeds the Big Ten theoretically has right now.
Find out more about: Jerry Palm
On a night when legendary Illinois coach Lou Henson was honored with a banner that was raised to the rafters of Assembly Hall, Illini guard Brandon Paul raised the roof on the place. Paul notched a career-high 43-point effort in propelling Illinois to a 79-74 victory over Ohio State in what could be a season-defining game for the Illini.
Find out more about: Brandon Paul
News that Iowa running back Marcus Coker has asked for his release from his scholarship is bad news for the Hawkeyes. The sophomore, who was suspended for Iowa’s Insight Bowl matchup with Oklahoma for violating team rules, was one of the Big Ten’s top backs, ranking second in the league in rushing (115.3 ypg). He ran 281 times for 1,384 yards and 15 touchdowns, bringing a tough, physical presence to the Hawkeye rushing attack after bursting on the scene at the end of 2010.
Find out more about: Marcus Coker
Another week, another look at the top players in the Big Ten. Ohio State big man Jared Sullinger has dominated all year. The question: Will anyone dethrone him this season from his perch atop these rankings?
Find out more about: Hoops Player Rankings
The Big Ten men’s basketball season is really heating up as we enter a third week of league action, so it’s time to roll out the first installment of my Monday basketball column. We’re calling this my Big Ten Whiteboard, because I’ll be drawing up all the good stuff you’ll need to keep track of in the week ahead.
For now, football is in my rear view window and the road for me ahead has plenty of Big Ten hoops. In my first installment of my Big Ten Three-Pointers, my aim is to fire up 3-pointers from around the Big Ten as I look back at the previous week’s news and then ahead to what’s coming. Ready, set, shoot …
Find out more about: NFL Draft
You have questions, I have answers in this week’s mailbag. Many of you are still in football mode, wondering about the recently completed bowl season—while also wanting to sneak a peek toward 2012. Here we go.
Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema just finished his season, but his work is only beginning. Bielema is watching his coaching staff fall apart. Offensive coordinator Paul Chryst has taken the Pitt job and reportedly will take Wisconsin offensive line coach Bob Bostad with him.
The Big Ten already has seen two top underclassmen officially declare for the draft: Illinois defensive end Whitney Mercilus and Iowa OT Riley Reiff. And one report has Michigan State DT Jerel Worthy bolting (read the report), while many speculate that Wisconsin RB Montee Ball will opt for the NFL, too.
Find out more about: NFL Draft
Find out more about: Big Ten Bowls
Throughout the bowl season, BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart offers his thoughts on the Big Ten’s record 10 bowl games. Find Dienhart’s reaction to Michigan’s exciting overtime victory over Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl on Tuesday in this post.
Find out more about: Big Ten Bowls, Sugar Bowl
Brady Hoke has Michigan back in a BCS bowl game for the first time since a Rose Bowl berth after the 2006 season. The Wolverines, a BCS at-large selection, take on Virginia Tech in the Allstate Sugar Bowl at 8:30 p.m. ET tonight. BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart breaks down the game, gives his keys and offers his prediction. See everything in this post. Also, read all of Dienhart’s bowl columns and catch up on all the bowl action thus far, including the Big Ten’s first nine games, on our 2011-12 bowl schedule.
PASADENA, Calif. – Back and forth they went, like two UFC fighters exchanging blows toe to toe. Wisconsin scored. Oregon scored. Wisconsin scored. Oregon scored.
Find out more about: Big Ten Bowls, Rose Bowl
Throughout the bowl season, BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart offers his thoughts on the Big Ten’s record 10 bowl games. Find Dienhart’s reaction to Michigan State’s thrilling triple-overtime victory over Georgia in the Outback Bowl on Monday in this post.
Throughout the bowl season, BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart offers his thoughts on the Big Ten’s record 10 bowl games. Find Dienhart’s reaction to Ohio State’s loss to Florida in the Gator Bowl on Monday in this post.
Find out more about: Big Ten Bowls, Gator Bowl