Dienhart: Gems litter the week's slate

Ohio State Fans

Big Ten Pulse - Jan. 30, 2012

 The Big Ten season is halfway over—and the best is yet to come in a conference race that remains in flux. More clarity may come this week, which shapes up as one of the best yet of the season. In particular, this is a big week for Michigan State and Indiana. And matchup-wise, I can’t wait for the battle between the Big Ten’s top freshmen: Michigan’s Trey Burke and Indiana’s Cody Zeller. See my game rankings for this week’s action in this post.

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Dienhart: Let's look at the week ahead

Wisconsin's Jordan Taylor

Derek Elston tallies 8 points in 70 seconds

This shapes up as one of the best weeks of the season with several marquee matchups. The teams most on the spot? It’s Michigan State and Indiana, which each has two big games. The Spartans play host to Michigan and travel to Illinois; the Hoosiers have two on the road: Michigan and archrival Purdue. But don’t forget about surging Wisconsin, either. The Badgers, winners of five straight and one game out of the Big Ten lead, travel to Penn State and host first-place Ohio State. Get ready for the week ahead in this post.

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Weekly Q&A: Listen to your Big Ten Coach

The Big Ten men’s basketball coaches held their weekly Big Ten teleconference Monday with reporters from around the league, and we’ve posted the audio from each phone interview in the post below. BTN.com will post these media sessions each Monday right up to the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament, and all of our audio can be found in our BTN.com audio archive.

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Big Ten Geeks: Onions!

With about 10 seconds remaining, Northwestern had succeeded in holding Purdue’s Robbie Hummel, Ryne Smith, and Lewis Jackson to a combined 17 points. That trio spearheads the Boilermaker offense, which has stalled at times this season when one of those three is having an off night. And in Purdue’s final possession, with the game tied, Northwestern played some of its best defense of the season, forcing Robbie Hummel into a contested mid-range jumper from the baseline.

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Oladipo, Hardaway nominated for dunk of the year

Michigan's Tim Hardaway Jr.

Victor Oladipo with a Thunderous Dunk

ESPN2 is running a contest on Facebook for the 2012 Dunk of the Year (you must like the page to vote), and Indiana’s Victor Oladipo and Michigan’s Tim Hardaway Jr. are both nominees. Oladipo is in the mix for his one-handed throwdown in Indiana’s upset of No. 1 Kentucky, while Hardaway is in there for his driving, one-handed flush at Indiana. Both dunks were terrific. Go to the page and cast your vote for the Big Ten. According to the page, the Dunk of the Year will be featured March 26 during Dunks of the Year on ESPN2.

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Iowa junior wins weekly wrestling honor

The Big Ten Conference released its weekly Wrestler of the Week honor Tuesday. The latest award of the season went to Iowa’s Matt McDonough. See what he did to earn the honor in this post.

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‘Football Signing Day Special’ Airs Wednesday

A new class of future Big Ten football stars will sign National Letters of Intent on Wednesday, and BTN will air a live, 90-minute “Football Signing Day Special” at 4:30 PM ET that day to reveal which student-athletes will attend Big Ten universities.

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