Six Big Ten women’s basketball teams earned invites to the NCAA tourney, it was announced Monday night. Big Ten regular-season champ Penn State leads the way, with a No. 3 seed, while Iowa (No. 9), Michigan (No. 8), Michigan State (No. 5), Nebraska (No. 6) and Big Ten tourney champ Purdue (No. 4) round out the the Big Ten contingent.
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In a web-only “Football Report” segment, BTN analysts Gerry DiNardo, Howard Griffith and Derek Rackley discussed Nebraska’s 2013 season outlook. It’s early, no doubt, but DiNardo was recently in Lincoln, Neb., and here’s what he had to say: “I saw a really talented and experienced offense. I think it’s all going to come down to Taylor Martinez.” More specifically, whether the Huskers decide to make him a pass-first or run-first quarterback. Watch the segment now.
This team has a legit shot to advance to the Final Four and cut down the nets. It also has a shot to get dumped in its second game by the winner of the No. 5 VCU-No. 12 Akron game. Get by the first two games—including the opener vs. No. 13 South Dakota State–and No. 1 Kansas may be lurking in the Sweet 16 of this tough South Region.
Big Ten fans and Wisconsin fans, in particular, are going to hear a lot about Marshall Henderson between now and Friday’s Wisconsin-Ole Miss NCAA tourney game. The much-talked-about Henderson receives more than his share of national attention, nearly as much the result of his personality as his overall game. On Monday, Henderson tweeted about facing the Badgers.
Wisconsin may be under-seeded as a No. 5, but it could be pushed by No. 12 Ole Miss and Marshall Henderson in the opener. The Rebels are hot, coming off the SEC tourney title. This team can score. But good defense typically trumps good offense. And no one does defense like the Badgers.
Seven Big Ten teams made the NCAA tournament, and now it’s time to look at one key player from each team who could help fuel a tourney run. I’m not talking about the obvious stars, such as Trey Burke, Deshaun Thomas or Cody Zeller, here. Instead, these are guys who either have struggled lately or have heated up down the stretch.
Ohio State won the Big Ten Tournament this weekend, the fourth time that Thad Matta’s team has taken home the crown. While the Buckeyes won largely on the strength of its defense—holding Wisconsin to under 0.8 points per possession—this Ohio State team has been offensively excellent over the back half of its Big Ten schedule: