BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart spent the season covering Big Ten football, and now it’s time for his team-by-team season recaps. Every day, for the next 12 days, Dienhart will post a recap for each Big Ten school, in alphabetical order. Up first: Illinois. Watch our video from the Illini’s impressive nonconference victory over Arizona State now and read Dienhart’s season recap in this post.
For the first time since D.J. White and Eric Gordon suited for the Hoosiers, Indiana is ranked in both major college basketball polls. Indiana, fresh off its upset victory over then-No. 1 Kentucky on Saturday, came in at No. 18 in AP Poll and No. 20 in the Coaches Poll, its first national ranking since the 2007-08 season. The Hoosiers are 9-0 and visit instate foe Notre Dame on Saturday. Ohio State remained No. 2 despite its loss at Kansas, while Michigan State also debuted in the polls. See the latest rankings.
No doubt that after the Hoosiers’ dramatic win over top-ranked Kentucky that the talk centers on whether Tom Crean’s rebuilding job of the once-proud program is complete. There are certainly a lot of reasons to think so, even aside from the whole just-beat-the-best-team-in-the-country thing. For one, let’s take a look at the talent on the roster.
Everyone knew Ohio State’s Braxton Miller was talented and likely headed for a promising college football career. But few thought he’d have a big impact as a true freshman in 2011. Miller was thrust into the starting lineup early in 2011 and proceeded to enjoy the best season of any Big Ten freshman. This is why the precocious Miller, the Big Ten’s Thompson-Randle El Freshman of the Year, headlines BTN.com’s 2011 All-Freshman Team.
The Big Ten Conference announced its weekly Men’s Basketball Players of the Week on Monday. A pair of forwards shared player of the week, while a standout point guard took home freshman honors. See the winners in this post.
Every Sunday night during the hoops season, BTN.com web editor Brent Yarina recaps the week that was on the men’s hardwood and hands out his weekly honors. See Brent’s latest installment, for action from Dec. 5-11, in this post. Also, watch Christian Watford’s last-second 3-pointer to stun No. 1 Kentucky and the resulting celebration Saturday at Assembly Hall. And get ready for the coming week of Big Ten action with our Big Ten scoreboard.
(AP) D.J. Richardson scored 20 points to lead four players in double figures and No. 24 Illinois beat Coppin State 80-63 on Sunday night. Illinois (10-0) hung on to remain one of nine undefeated teams in the nation despite the Eagles’ hot shooting and pesky 2-3 zone defense. After Illinois jumped out to a 17-point lead in the opening minutes of the second half, Coppin State went on a 20-5 run to cut the lead to 59-57. From there, Illinois responded with a four-guard lineup that provided enough offense down the stretch to seal the win. Meyers Leonard had 18 points and 11 rebounds, and Sam Maniscalco and Brandon Paul each scored 12 points for the Illini. Read the full AP recap and see the boxscore.