As we hit mid-February, the thoughts of college basketball fans naturally turn to the impending NCAA Tournament, especially to that dreaded B-word that gives college coaches heartburn–bubble. The Big Ten is not immune to this syndrome; in fact, four conference members find themselves squarely on that bubble. One of them was in action last night, while the other three will play tonight. Let’s examine these squads that are teetering on the edge.
It came in a losing effort, but Minnesota high-flyer Rodney Williams struck again Tuesday night. The Gopher junior put back a Julian Welch missed 3-pointer in a way only Rodney Williams can in Minnesota’s 78-68 defeat against No. 6 Ohio State. The left-handed rebound-throwdown came in the final minute with Ohio State up 11 points, so it’s very possible Williams caught the Buckeyes thinking about everything but boxing out on a late trey.
(AP) William Buford scored 24 points to spark No. 6 Ohio State, and Jared Sullinger backed him up inside with 23 points and eight rebounds to guide the Buckeyes to a 78-68 victory Tuesday over Minnesota that moved them a half-game ahead of Michigan State in the Big Ten standings. Buford also had eight rebounds and five assists for the Buckeyes (22-4, 10-3), who snapped back after a humbling home loss to the Spartans. Rodney Williams had 21 points, nine rebounds and two blocks for the Gophers (17-9, 5-8), who tumbled into 10th place in the conference race. Read the full AP recap and see the box score.
Tuesday on Big Ten Football Report, BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart joined Dave Revsine, Gerry DiNardo and Howard Griffith on the weekly show. The crew tackled plenty of topics, including the NCAA Rules Committee proposing to move kickoffs to the 35-yard line and the Football Bowl Association considering increasing the number of wins for bowl eligibility, from six to seven. Watch the video now to see what our guys think about the issues and cast your vote on both in this post. Also, watch DiNardo’s interview with new Illinois coach Tim Beckman inside.
With three weeks left in the Big Ten men’s basketball season, five teams have all but locked up NCAA tourney bids: Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Wisconsin. At this point in the season, though, the intrigue centers around the dreaded bubble teams. There are four of them this Big Ten season: Illinois, Minnesota, Northwestern and Purdue. How many will make the field? Brent Yarina tries to break it all down in this post.
Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger or Michigan State’s Draymond Green? Who is the best player? It may be neither. Perhaps it’s Wisconsin’s Jordan Taylor or Indiana’s Cody Zeller. And how does it compare to my list from last week?