Every week during the football season, Brent Yarina posts his latest Big Ten Power Rankings. Week 13 saw Wisconsin clinch the Leaders Division and a spot in the Big Ten title game. As for the power rankings, they are not meant to mimic the Big Ten standings. What fun would that be? They aren’t scientific, either. They’re simply Brent’s thoughts on where each Big Ten team stands after its latest game. Agree? Disagree? Tweet @BTNBrentYarina.
P4RB. Sounds weird, doesn’t it? It doesn’t mean anything to you. But it means everything to Michigan State. Its meaning: Prepare For the Rose Bowl. And it has become a motivating acronym for the Spartans in their improbable quest for the Big Ten championship and trip to Pasadena.
In the end, Ron Zook couldn’t make Illinois a consistent winner. So, the school announced today that it’s turning the page by firing him after seven seasons. The Zook era will be remembered for tremendous highs and lows, finishing with a 34-51 mark and two bowls. The zenith of his tenure was a trip to the Rose Bowl following the 2007 season, the program’s first junket to Pasadena since the 1983 season. That year, Illinois finished as Big Ten runners-up and knocked off an unbeaten Ohio State team on the road.
So, the stage is set. It will be Michigan State, representing the Legends Division, and Wisconsin, representing the Leaders Division, in the inaugural Big Ten Football Championship Game on Saturday in Indianapolis. The two teams met earlier this season, with the Spartans winning a last-second thriller on Oct. 22. To help preview the rematch, BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart considers most important numbers for each team in this post.
Indiana freshman Cody Zeller is off to a fabulous start to his college career. The highly touted Mr. Basketball has won each of the conference’s first two Freshman of the Week honors and a third could be on the way when the latest honors are released Monday morning. In Sunday night’s game against back-to-back national runner-up Butler, Zeller went for 16 points, two of which came on this emphatic reverse slam, eight rebounds, two blocks and three steals. It’s easy to see why Indiana fans are so excited about this kid. Watch the big-time dunk now.
If you’re fielding a dunk contest of only 7-footers, there might not be a better contestant than Illinois’ Meyers Leonard. The 7-foot-1 sophomore is an absolute freak of an athlete. People his size aren’t supposed to run the floor and move as smoothly and easily as he does. See what we’re talking about in this video of Leonard bringing down the house at Assembly Hall with a rim-rattling slam. Pretty impressive, huh?
(BigTen,org) The Big Ten will be well-represented at the 2011 NCAA Volleyball Championship, as eight conference teams have been selected to the tournament’s field of 64 for the second consecutive season. The eight chosen squads ties a conference record and gives the Big Ten the most tournament teams of any conference in the country. See the official NCAA.com bracket.