Surprise, surprise - the Buckeyes are for real

Last night, Ohio State handled a very good Florida team–a squad that at least one astute observer has picked to win the National Championship–with relative ease. After a slow start, the Buckeyes led by as many as 16 points before finally winning by seven. Thad Matta’s team displayed the same strengths as a season ago–namely a high effective field goal percentage and a low turnover rate–but they also showed a new wrinkle: getting to the foul line. It’s extremely early, but Ohio State now has a free throw rate of 72 FTA per 100 FGA. For some perspective, the Buckeyes only eclipsed that number twice all of last season–and both times were against the hacktastic Hoosiers. Perhaps this increase in trips to the foul line shouldn’t be surprising given the players that are being replaced:

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One-on-One: Montee Ball, Wisconsin

Wisconsin's Montee Ball

Montee Ball: One-on-One

By the time Montee Ball leaves Wisconsin, he may have a place alongside a growing list of great Badger running backs. Ball already has etched his name in the Big Ten record books. Last week, he scored three touchdowns to push his 2011 total to 27, a Big Ten single-season record. He has 23 rushing touchdowns and four via the air. Ball also has thrown a touchdown pass.

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Dienhart: Another round of BTN.com reader mail

Tom Dienhart

Big Ten Blast: Nov. 16th Afternoon Update

You have questions, I have answers. I dig into my mailbag to respond to some of your most vexing questions. Can Nebraska still make it to the Big Ten title game? Should the Big Ten have stripped Joe Paterno’s name from its championship game trophy, which it made official earlier this week? I answer those queries, and others, in this week’s mailbag.

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BTN Soccer Report: NCAA Tourney Time

Northwestern Soccer Title

BTN Soccer Report: NCAA Tournament Time

Northwestern followed up their regular-season title with the Big Ten Tounament title. In the latest installment of “BTN Soccer Report,” host Kevin Egan and analyst Aron Hyde recap the tournament and highlight Northwestern’s championship run. Soccer By Ives writer John Boschini also calls in to look ahead to the NCAA Tournament. On the women’s side, Illinois beat 2010 defending NCAA Champion Notre Dame to advance to the second round. We’ll also hear from Illini coach Janet Rayfield about the win. Watch the latest webisode now and come back next week for another soccer update.

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2011-12 Season Preview: Illinois

We continue to work our way up our projected standings, and today we’ve reached our pick for fifth place: the Illinois Fighting Illini. Bruce Weber’s squad may be the biggest wild card in this season’s Big Ten, as it is supremely talented but woefully inexperienced.  What’s a reasonable range of expectations for a team like this? Let’s find out.

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The Journey: A Rivalry

Blue or green? That is the question for fans in the state of Michigan must ask itself whenever Michigan plays Michigan State. The game featured in this clip in this post came down to the last shot, but more impressive than the game itself was the respect the two star players had for each other after the game. It was yet another great behind the scenes moment caught by our @BTNJourney crew. And have you seen our other clips? They’re all right here. We’ll be adding more in the days and weeks ahead.

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