Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports
What a big weekend of hoops in the Big Ten, with Titanic games between Minnesota and Indiana and Michigan and Ohio State. Great place to start daily links. Esteemed Indianapolis Star columnist Bob Kravitz came away impressed with Indiana freshman point guard Yogi Ferrell following the Hoosiers’ hang-on-for-dear-life win over Minnesota on Saturday.
There is a big weekend on tap, with several games that will go a long way in helping shape the Big Ten race. The headliner is Minnesota’s visit to Indiana on Saturday (noon ET on BTN/BTN2Go). And Michigan’s junket to Ohio State on Sunday also will tell us a lot about both teams—especially the Buckeyes, who must defend their home court to remain among the leaders.
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
It is time to reach into my weekly BTN.com bag of mail and deliver my answers. With hoops heating up, basketball is on the mind of many of you, but I continue to get several lingering questions from the bowl season. Keep them coming either via the submission box at the bottom of this post or on my mailbag page.
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Iowa is off to a rough start in the Big Ten, an 0-3 start vs. three very good teams (Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State). The latest setback was a 62-59 defeat at home to the Spartans that the Hawkeyes had their chances to win. Let’s start the daily links right there in Iowa City, shall we? Mike Hlas of the Cedar Rapids Gazette says it’s more evidence that Iowa isn’t out of the Big Ten lowlands yet.
Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports
Brandon Ubel knows building a team is a process. That’s one reason why he relishes being a part of the construction of the Nebraska program under first-year coach Tim Miles.
It’s a healthy debate and it’s a fun debate: Which of the two most recent college football dynasties is most impressive—Alabama or Nebraska? Alabama’s third national championship in four seasons has placed this current run into the “dynasty,” category, no matter what Nick Saban says. And more chapters may be added in 2013, 2014, and beyond. If so, that would render this debate moot.
Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports
Minnesota’s full power and glory was on display during its romp over Illinois last night. So, let’s start there with the daily links, shall we? The Golden Gophers showed they are a true top-10 team that will compete for the Big Ten title—and thus a Final Four bid—with the 84-67 victory.
It was a surprise to some that Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Lewan opted to return for his senior season. But it’s great news for the Wolverines, as Lewan will be among the top linemen in the nation in 2013.
In a bit of a surprising move Wednesday, Penn State defensive coordinator Ted Roof left for the same position at Georgia Tech, his alma mater and where he was an All-American.
On Tuesday, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany suggested the notion of not having victories over Football Championship Subdivision opponents count toward a Football Bowl Subdivision team’s bowl eligibility, and that sounds good to me. A team needs six wins to be eligible for a bowl, but the NCAA currently allows one of those wins to be a victory over a FCS team. Without that “cupcake win,” there would be schools that don’t reach that six-victory minimum.
Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports
It all begins tonight for No. 8 Minnesota. And that’s why I’m beginning my daily links right here, America. You see, it’s put-up-or-shut-up time for the 14-1 Golden Gophers. And I love put-up-or-shut-up time. You should, too. We will discover how good this team is with a game at Illinois tonight (9 p.m. WET on BTN/BTN2Go) and a visit to Indiana on Saturday. Minnesota then returns home to play Michigan on Jan. 17. All together how: wow!
Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports
This is a big week in the Big Ten, with myriad big games beginning with Minnesota’s contests at Illinois and at Indiana. Along those lines, I take a look at the seven Big Ten games that will go the longest way in determining who will win the conference championship.
Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports
With the 2012 bowl season in the books, let’s take a look back at the best of the postseason for the Big Ten. The bowls didn’t go like the conference and the members had hoped, as the Big Ten posted a 2-5 mark with a 1-4 record on New Year’s Day. From the best game to the best defensive stop, here’s a look at my Big Ten Bowl Honor Roll.
Alabama put the finishing touches on the 2012 season with an annihilation of Notre Dame in the BCS championship game. And, never in the history of college football has a 42-14 score been so misleading. Truth be told: It wasn’t really that close. So, that’s three BCS titles in four years for Bama, and then seven in a row for the SEC. Maybe Ohio State can put an end to this SEC dominance in the near future. Until then, let’s kick off the daily links with a gander at the final polls, which still mean something in college football.
So many good games, so little time. That’s the quandary for the second week of conference action, which will go a long way in helping to shape what should be a terrific Big Ten race.
Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports
Buckle up, this is gonna be a big week, a week that goes a long way toward determining the early pecking order of a Big Ten race that should be spectacular. And, know this: The team that can win road games is going to win the Big Ten. So, here’s the formula: go unbeaten at home; and go 6-3 or 5-4 on the road. That should get you at least a share of the Big Ten championship.
Bill O’Brien is a terrific coach. We saw that in just one season of work at Penn State. He walked into an untenable situation and promptly led a shorthanded team to an 8-4 record (6-2 Big Ten) when most forecast gloom. But, much heavy lifting remains. And O’Brien is going to be around for it.
Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE
Still have football percolating on my mind as I open today’s edition of the daily links. Why not? The BCS national title game is tonight. Surely, Michigan wishes it was in Miami playing. But, it’s just a dream for now. If it’s gonna happen next season, it will be because of these 10 players, says Kyle Meinke of MLive.com.
Mike Carter-US PRESSWIRE
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.
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.