Big Ten Geeks: In Defense of BadgerBall

Normally this space is reserved for agonizing over the numbers, details, and minutiae of the Big Ten. Today, I’m instead going to focus criticism on Shane Ryan’s criticism of Bo Ryan, Wisconsin, and slow basketball in general. I’ll leave it to John Gasaway to put to bed the ridiculous notion that pacing a basketball game at 60 possessions instead of 65 possessions means the demise of Dr. Naismith’s gift. Instead I’ll focus on Shane Ryan’s apparent insight into the workings of Bo Ryan’s mind (the Ryans are not related so I’ll henceforth refer to the coach as “Bo” to avoid confusion). Ryan’s telepathy informs us that Wisconsin plays slow in order to “neutralize talent.”  Specifically, Bo wants to “limit opportunities” and avoid “a fair fight, because he knows he’d lose.”

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The Pulse: Men's Basketball Teams Rolling Along

With nine Big Ten men’s basketball games on Saturday and eight teams in the RPI’s Top 50,  our Rick Pizzo, Derek Rackley and Tim Doyle take you into this pre-holiday weekend on The Big Ten Pulse at 7 p.m. ET tonight with an in-depth conversation on the overall depth of the Big Ten as each team builds out their tournament resumes. For example, Northwestern is 8-1 after racking up another win Thursday night. Also, tonight, Michigan State’s Draymond Green will join Pizzo, Rackley and Doyle to tell us how the Spartans’ tough games early on have helped the team come together.

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Big Ten Geeks: Tuning Up

Northwestern showed no ill effects from its 10-day layoff in a 30-point shellacking of Texas Southern. The impressive results, as usual for the Wildcats, were at the offensive end, where they posted the second-highest efficiency allowed by the Tigers all season. Texas Southern has faced a couple teams relevant to the Wildcats, so the efficiencies posted by each team against the Tigers may be enlightening:

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Dienhart: Michigan State 2011 Season Recap

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, Dienhart will post a recap for each Big Ten school, in alphabetical order. Up next: Michigan State. Watch our championship game video feature on the Spartans’ “Rocket” play now and read Dienhart’s season recap in this post. And look back at recaps for Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, and Michigan here, then get ready for Minnesota coming up.

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Illinois Advances To Championship

Illinois advanced to the school’s first NCAA volleyball championship match with a win over USC in five sets (25-27, 25-18, 25-22, 18-25, 15-10). Illinois will face UCLA for the title on Saturday at 8:30 p.m. ET live on ESPN2. Relive an entire live blog at FightingIllini.com, check out their photo gallery, and find the entire updated interactive tournament bracket at NCAA.com. NCAA.com also has video highlights. You can also follow the Illinois volleyball team’s Twitter account @IlliniVball. Earlier, UCLA advanced to its first national championship match since 1994 with a sweep of Florida State in the other semifinal (25-16, 25-17, 25-21).

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