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BTN's Sparks: Nolf vs. Martinez review & weekend wrestling preview

This past weekend I was reminded that anything can happen on the wrestling mat. Everybody is beatable. Every single match has its own set of circumstances in comparison to the one before it. As I have noted before, winning a single match at this level is difficult. One match last week at 157 pounds was a battle of unbeatens and it became the talk of the wrestling world: Reigning national champion and top ranked Isaiah Martinez of Illinois vs. Penn State’s Jason Nolf (No.3). That match had been analyzed and talked about for countless hours by wrestling media and fans

Video flashback: Amazing moments in recent Big Ten shoe history

Of course it wasn’t the first time an athlete lost a shoe during a game. And it certainly won’t be the last time. But when Purdue’s A.J. Hammons lost is shoe on the offensive end of the court, then pulled down a defensive rebound while hold that same shoe in his hands … well, that’s a moment. “I was glad I got the rebound. My foot was slipping,” Hammons told the Lafayette Courier-Journal after the game. He thought about throwing it to the side but told reporters he wanted to get back. What did Coach Matt Painter say to him

Big Ten links: Thursday's football & hoops news digest

In today's Big Ten headline roundup, we have one look at a critical stretch in Northwestern basketball's schedule. Are they tourney worthy? Meanwhile, Wisconsin needs to enhance their tourney credentials, too. Rutgers football got some good news. Minnesota basketball has some, too. Read these stories and others in today's digest.

Journey 100 Q&A: Author & former Ohio State walk-on Mark Titus

The 100th episode of "The Journey: Big Ten Basketball" airs at 9:30 p.m. ET Sunday on BTN/BTN2Go. To help celebrate the milestone episode of our award-winning series, BTN.com caught up with Mark Titus, arguably the Big Ten's most popular benchwarmer of all time, a compelling "Journey" subject in 2010, and now an author. Among other things, Titus discussed his time at Ohio State, his moment on the show, and why he wore No. 34. "I was basically the Shaq of suburban Indianapolis youth rec league basketball," Titus said.

BTN LiveBIG: Illini fight to provide the best possible education for wounded veterans

During football and basketball games, BTN LiveBIG will spotlight notable examples of research, innovation and community service from around the conference. In-Game stories will provide more background on these features, and the opportunity to view the videos again. The first fixed-route buses with wheelchair lifts… The first college-level adaptive sports and recreation program… The first — and still the only — residential program to serve students with severe disabilities who require assistance with tasks of daily life… When it comes to providing an accessible and equal learning environment for all students, the University of Illinois is an institution of firsts.

Video: A.J. Hammons grabs a rebound with a shoe in his hand

We have seen some bizarre plays this season. But what happened in Minneapolis on Wednesday night in the Purdue vs. Minnesota men’s basketball game takes the cake. With Purdue leading 59-54 late in the second half, A.J. Hammons lost his shoe at one end of the court, picked it up, then ran the distance of the court and grabbed a rebound for the Boilermakers before a timeout was called. Check it out in the video at the top of the post. Watch Purdue coach Matt Painter grab Hammons and give him a pat on the back following the incredible play.

Big Ten men's basketball: Watch highlights from Super Wednesday!

We had two outstanding Big Ten men’s basketball games on Super Wednesday. [ MORE: Catch up on scores and stats on our college basketball scoreboard ] Michigan kicked off the action with an impressive 68-57 victory over Rutgers in the first game of the evening. Purdue followed that by beating Minnesota on the road, 68-64. With both games on BTN, we were able to capture all the top moments from Wednesday’s action. Here is a look at the best video highlights from Wednesday’s Big Ten men’s basketball games. Are you serious!? Watch @Boilerball's A.J. Hammons run down the court and

Who makes your Michigan basketball Mount Rushmore?

It’s time to vote for the best players in Michigan basketball history. Who gets your vote? We created a list of 13 Wolverine greats, and now it’s your job to rank them. Read each player’s bio below, then scroll down and rank them, 1-13. The results of the fan survey will be announced on TV’s “BTN Live” in February. After you vote, tune into tonight as Michigan takes on Rutgers at 7 p.m. ET on BTN. Watch on BTN2Go. We’re rolling out a survey per school throughout the coming weeks. Bill Buntin (1962-1965) – Two-time All-American selection (1964-65). One of

Twitter: OSU's Braxton Miller impresses at Senior Bowl practice

Braxton Miller had his moments in his one and only season as an Ohio State wide receiver. But, for the most part, the two-time Big Ten quarterback of the year’s number wasn’t called all that often. He finished the season with 26 receptions, 341 yards and three touchdowns, to go along with 260 yards and one touchdown on the ground. Fast forward to Senior Bowl practice this week in Mobile, Alabama, and Miller is making quite the impression. The quarterback-turned-receiver is showing he can run routes, get separation and make catches. Miller will play in the annual Reese’s Senior Bowl

Photo: Check out John Shurna's 28-game winning streak beard

The subject in the photo above is Northwestern’s all-time leading scorer John Shurna. [ MORE: Like this post? Check out our full Gone Viral section ] For real. The former baby-faced Big Ten star is playing overseas, and the now-famous beard was the catalyst for his Spanish Liga ACB team’s (Valencia) 28-game winning streak, which started in October and, amazingly, spanned six countries. Valencia finally lost last Tuesday, to Limoges of France, and the beard came off the following day. It took a half-hour to shave, if you were wondering. “My sister came to visit over the holidays, and she