It was a struggle for the Big Ten on Wednesday night. The conference eked out several wins against inferior opponents, including Illinois over St. Bonaventure (box), Nebraska over Florida Gulf Coast (recap) and Purdue over Western Carolina (recap), while Penn State lost to Lafayette (recap). There were a couple drama-free games, though, as Wisconsin drilled Green Bay (recap) and Michigan State blew away CCSU (recap). Catch up on all the action on our Big Ten scoreboard.
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Roughly halfway through the nonconference basketball season, CBSSports.com’s Jerry Palm decided to take another look at what the NCAA tourney bracket looks like. First impression: Jerry really likes the Big Ten. Nine teams make the field, more than any other conference, including Northwestern (No. 10), which eyes its first NCAA berth, and Indiana (No. 7), which hasn’t made the tourney since 2007-08. See all the Big Ten teams Palm included in this post.
Four Big Ten women’s hoops teams were in action Wednesday night. Illinois carded a 66-56 win over instate foe Illinois and Minnesota thumped Air Force, 81-46, while Indiana and Iowa lost to St. Bonaventure and Iowa State, respectively. Catch up on all of Wednesday’s action in this post and don’t forget to watch our highlights from Minnesota’s easy win now.
Illinois’ Whitney Mercilus won the Hendricks Defensive End of the Year Award, it was announced Wednesday. The junior leads the nation in sacks (14.5), sacks per game (1.2) and forced fumbles (9) while ranking sixth nationally in tackles for loss per game (1.6). The award makes Mercilus the first Illini to win a national honor since Dana Howard (1994) and Kevin Hardy (1995) won the Butkus Award in back-to-back years.
It’s been a quiet week so far in Big Ten land, but we did get two interesting games last night. Let’s review the light slate, as well as a couple noteworthy performers to this point of the season.
With Carl Pelini off to replace Howard Schnellenberger as Florida Atlantic coach, Nebraska will need a new defensive coordinator. Pelini, the brother of Husker head coach Bo, won’t coach with the 9-3 Cornhuskers in the Capital One Bowl against South Carolina
Well, that was a fun 2011 Big Ten football season. The new divisions created a lot more drama and intrigue, and the inaugural Big Ten title game was a huge success. Now, we have roughly three weeks to kill before the bowl games kick off (see the bowl schedule). With the regular season behind us, BTN.com web editor Brent Yarina takes a look at the Best from the Big Ten in 2011. Watch our feature on everyone’s Play of the Year now and see Brent’s winners for best pass, best run, best catch, and much more, in this post.