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Big Ten Whiteboard: Keep an eye on Michigan State this week

The third week of the Big Ten season is upon us, and it’s becoming increasingly clear that Maryland, Michigan State, Iowa and Indiana are the teams to beat. And Thursday’s Iowa at Michigan State tilt will go a long way to shaping the race as we head into the teeth of winter. [ MORE: Follow @BTNJonCrispin | Power Rankings | Player Rankings | Best of week that was | Win trip for two to the Big Ten tourney | Polls | Standings | Stats | Scores ] Game of the week: Iowa at Michigan State, Thursday. When the Hawkeyes hit

Big Ten links: Catch up on Monday's latest headlines

Penn State's football staff has some turnover. Michigan's Jim Harbaugh gets an invite to President's State of the Union address. What does a "quality control coach" do? Read those Monday headlines and more in today's collection of Big Ten links.

BTN LiveBIG: Nebraska professor digs into global climate research

You can find lots of interesting things at the bottoms of lakes. Shipwrecks. Lost towns and cities. A physical record of climate patterns over several previous millennia. That last one especially interests Sheri Fritz, a professor at the University of Nebraska’s School of Biological Sciences. Fritz has spent more than three decades studying global climate patterns — she actually started her research in this area while pursuing her doctorate at the University of Minnesota in the mid-1980s. That work, which involves studying lakes, takes her from icebergs in Greenland to the foothills of the Andes. Why lakes? Because their geographic

Tom Dienhart’s top 5 players to replace: Maryland Terrapins

The Maryland program is in transition after Randy Edsall was fired during the season. Offensive coordinator Mike Locksley took over for the last six games but couldn’t right the ship, as the Terrapins lost eight in a row at one point en route to finishing 3-9 a year after going to a bowl. Hey, at least Maryland ended the season with a stunning comeback win at Rutgers. [ MORE: Get all of Tom Dienhart’s players to replace posts ] Maryland hired Michigan defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin to take over. And, he has work to do, especially on defense. Maryland ranked

Tom's Take: Honors, stock watch, top performers, notes & quotes

It’s time for my latest look at the week that was. It’s good to be an Indiana Hoosier. And how about those Maryland Terrapins? [ MORE: Follow @BTNJonCrispin | Win trip for two to the Big Ten tourney | Polls | Standings | Stats | Scores ] Biggest surprise: Indiana. Yes, the Hoosiers have lost star James Blackmon for the season to injury, but the team is hot. Last week, Indiana grinded out a 59-58 win vs. Wisconsin in which the unbeaten 1975-76 team was honored. On Sunday, the Hoosiers clubbed visiting Ohio State, 85-60. OSU had won seven in a

Here's how Big Ten names fared in NFL Wild Card playoff games

With the NFL Wild Card weekend complete, it’s time to take a look at how Big Ten names fared in Saturday and Sunday’s playoff games. Former Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier highlighted the participants, registering 13 tackles and two forced fumbles, including the one that led to Pittsburgh’s dramatic game-winning drive in the final seconds. Other notable performances: Whitney Mercilus (Illinois) recorded eight tackles and three sacks in Houston’s loss to Kansas City, Fitz Toussaint (Michigan) totaled 118 yards in Pittsburgh’s aforementioned victory, Cliff Avril (Purdue) notched five tackles and three sacks in Seattle’s comeback win at Minnesota, and Trae

Sharon Versyp becomes Purdue women's all-time winningest coach

Purdue took advantage of a monumental occasion Sunday afternoon, welcoming home Purdue Athletics Hall of Famer Katie Douglas, earning head coach Sharon Versyp her 207th win as the Boilermaker head coach and regaining control of the Barn Burner Trophy with a 63-53 victory over visiting archrival Indiana at Mackey Arena. With the win Versyp becomes the winningest head coach in program history, surpassing Lin Dunn, who has held the record since 1996. The Boilermakers honored Versyp with a postgame celebration after the win with words from athletics director Morgan Burke, senior associate athletics director Nancy Cross, associate head coach Nadine

Watch Sunday's best Big Ten men's basketball highlights

There was a trio of Big Ten men’s basketball games Sunday, and all three were decided by double digits. [ MORE: Catch up on all of Sunday’s action on our Big Ten scoreboard ] No. 5 Michigan State cruised past Penn State, 92-65, in Denzel Valentine’s return, Indiana destroyed Ohio State, 85-60, in a meeting of 3-0 Big Ten teams, and Illinois upset No. 20 Purdue, 84-70. A few notables from Sunday’s action: Valentine finished with 10 points, four rebounds, four assists and two steals in 23 minutes off the bench, his first action since Dec. 19; the Hoosiers’ easy

Michigan State's Denzel Valentine makes return from surgery

Denzel Valentine made his return from knee surgery in Sunday’s 92-65 win at Penn State. [ MORE: Watch replay of No. 5 Michigan State at Penn State on BTN2Go ] After missing the last four games, including the Spartans’ first three Big Ten games (2-1), the Michigan State do-it-all star entered the game with 15:23 left in the first half and finished with 10 points, four rebounds, four assists and two steals in 23 minutes. Valentine, who was among the early leaders for player of the year before the surgery, entered the game averaging 18.5 points, 8.3 rebounds and 7.1