After winning a share of the Big Ten title for the first time since 1979, Michigan State has been selected by the conference coaches as the favorite to win in 2012, the Big Ten office announced Tuesday. Big Ten coaches voted on the top six teams and also selected three players from their own squads to a Players to Watch list. Following the Spartans on the coaches’ preseason top six list are No. 2 Purdue, No. 3 Minnesota, No. 4 Nebraska, No. 5 Ohio State and No. 6 Illinois.
The roster of games this week is littered with some intriguing matchups that will go a long way toward determining the pecking order at the top of the Big Ten standings as we enter the final few weeks of the season. And no tilt on this week’s list of contests is bigger than Wisconsin’s visit to Michigan State on Feb. 16. Now that you know BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart’s No. 1 game for this week, what about the others? Dienhart ranks them all, from 1 to 11, in this post.
(AP) Kionna Kellogg’s basket broke a tie with 1:01 left as Minnesota beat No. 16 Nebraska 64-58 on Monday night. The Gophers (13-14, 5-8 Big Ten) used a 20-0 run to forge a 40-24 lead with 17:00 to go. But the Cornhuskers (19-5, 8-4) fought back, turning a 58-51 deficit into a 58-58 tie on Kaitlyn Burke’s basket with 3:17 left. Neither team scored until Kellogg made her go-ahead basket 2:16 later. The Gophers then sank four free throws for the final margin in breaking a three-game slide. Read the full AP recap and see the box score.
It’s time to release my latest Big Ten men’s hoops power rankings. The rankings are not meant to mimic the Big Ten standings. What fun would that be? They aren’t scientific, either. They’re simply my thoughts on where each Big Ten team stands right now and who would win on a neutral court. Agree? Disagree? Tweet @BTNBrentYarina or leave your comments below. Also, did you see my top 10 Big Ten plays from the past week? Watch them and vote for your top play.
With Michigan State’s huge—and surprisingly convincing–win at Ohio State on Saturday, the Big Ten title chase has become a jumbled four-team race (standings). The Spartans and Buckeyes are tied at the top with 9-3 league marks, while the Wolverines are one half-game behind, at 9-4, and the Badgers are one game behind, at 8-4.