Predictions. Everyone has them, and rarely do people prognosticate correctly. As the saying goes, that’s why they play the game. I’ve been burned with predictions several times, the most recent one coming when I said Illinois was for real and a Rose Bowl contender. We all know how that turned out! With the calendar flipping to 2012 Sunday, it’s time to offer up some more educated guesses, posted in a multiple choice test format to give it a different wrinkle. Feel free to post your answers or fill in your “other” selection in the comment box. The predictions are listed in chronological order and, just for clarity, many of the football ones take into account likely early NFL departures.
And they’re off! Conference play began last night, and we’ve already been treated to a close game and a Wisconsin blowout–two things we’ll probably see plenty of over the next two-and-a-half months. Let’s get to the details.
Maybe you say it every year: This is the season that I’ll go to the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament. Or maybe you go every year and you’re feeling lucky. Now’s the time to enter the Buffalo Wild Wings Trip To The Big Ten Tournament Sweepstakes for a chance to win a trip for two to the 2012 Big Ten tourney in Indianapolis. The prize package includes tickets to all of the tournament games, flights to Indianapolis, and hotel accommodations. Enter over on our BTN contest page.
(AP) Brandon Paul scored a breakaway dunk that put Illinois ahead in double overtime Tuesday night and Meyers Leonard hit the layup that sealed the 81-72 victory over Minnesota. Paul swiped the ball from Ralph Sampson III for the dunk that gave the Illini (12-2, 1-0 Big Ten) a three-point cushion at 73-70. Leonard’s layup with 1:11 left made it 78-72 and finished the Golden Gophers (12-2, 0-1). Paul finished with 21 points. Leonard had 20 and a game-high 11 rebounds for his third straight double-double. Read the full AP recap, see the box score and view our Big Ten scoreboard.
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Illinois sophomore Meyers Leonard has been turning heads all season long, but now that the Big Ten season underway, the rest of the Big Ten is about to see what this guy is all about. In Tuesday night’s Big Ten opener against Minnesota, the athletic 7-footer flashed his unusual skills on a highlight-reel alley-oop. Leonard set a pick, rolled to the hoop, and threw down a perfect pass from guard Brandon Paul with relative ease. Watch the play now.
Illinois released a statement Tuesday announcing that sophomore guard Crandall Head has left the Illinois basketball program. Head played in 26 career games with the Illini, averaging 1.2 points. Last season he played in 17 games and nine games this season. “We are disappointed with Crandall’s decision not to continue his career at Illinois, but ultimately we want what is best for him,” Illinois coach Bruce Weber said in the statement.
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