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Big Ten Geeks: First semester grades

We’re all set to tip-off conference play on Tuesday, which means it’s time to hand out our final grades for the nonconference season. We’ll do this in alphabetical order. Illinois: B The Illini have probably hit par, by going 11-2 in the non-conference schedule. By doing so, the team really hasn’t moved any closer or further away from an at-large berth. Coming into the season, we thought it was more likely than not that Illinois would miss the Tournament. With the Illini hovering at around 50 in the Pomeroy ratings, that still looks right—but there will be plenty of chances

BTN LiveBIG: Monday Morning Download

Since the beginning of November, we’ve been sharing the inspiring stories of Big Ten students, faculty and alumni who are making a difference in the world through innovations in research, education and community service. In an effort to shine a light on even more wonderful Big Ten happenings, we’ll be serving up positive headlines every Monday morning, right here on the BTN LiveB1G blog. Indiana University announced a $40 million gift from Cindy Simon Skjodt for renovations to Assembly Hall. Throwback Thursday: The original Assembly Hall, build in 1896, and the current Assembly Hall, opened in 1971. #tbt pic.twitter.com/nq5Xt2y7Qv — Indiana University (@IUBloomington)

Here are 14 hoops thoughts as we enter 2014

The conference hoops season tips off New Year’s Eve. I hope you’re excited, too! Before the games really start to count, here are 14 (random) thoughts I have entering 2014. For the record, no, these thoughts are in no particular order. [ MORE: Video: Watch our top 10 nonconference dunks ] 1. As many as three Big Ten teams could hold the No. 1 ranking this season. Michigan State already has been No. 1, while No. 3 Ohio State and No. 4 Wisconsin could also get their time atop the polls. Both the Buckeyes and Badgers are undefeated, and if

B1G nonconference thoughts in 140 characters or less

The Big Ten went 5-1 on Saturday to close out the nonconference season with a bang. There were plenty of memorable moments early on this year, so how do we go about summing up 12 teams and 153 total nonconference games? Simple — We follow the rules of twitter. Here is a summary of every Big Ten teams’ nonconference performances in 140 characters or less. [ MORE: View Stephen Bardo’s latest Big Ten Power Rankings ] 1. Ohio State (13-0): Great defense and better than expected on offense. Craft has been terrific. Consistent play down low makes this a championship-caliber

Saturday hoops roundup: Badgers stay unbeaten

The Big Ten closed out the nonconference season with a 5-1 record on Saturday, highlighted by Wisconsin’s 80-43 win over Prairie View A&M. With the victory, the Badgers finished the nonconference slate with a perfect 13-0 record. Illinois, Michigan State, Michigan and Minnesota all posted impressive wins, while Nebraska had the only loss of the day. [ MORE: View Saturday’s full Big Ten scoreboard ] ILLINOIS 74, UIC 60 | RECAP | BOX | PLAY-BY-PLAY (AP) Rayvonte Rice led a furious second-half comeback on Saturday, scoring 28 points as the University of Illinois beat the University of Illinois-Chicago 74-60. Trailing

Ranking Big Ten hoops matchups this weekend

The new year is fast approaching, which means that Big Ten play is just around the corner. A total of six Big Ten teams will hit the hardwood on Saturday, highlighted by a quadruple-header of hoops in store on BTN. Illinois and UIC will tip off the action at 2 p.m. ET, followed by New Orleans at Michigan State (4:15 p.m.), Holy Cross at Michigan (6:30 p.m.) and Texas A&M-CC at Minnesota closing out the action at 8:30 p.m. All four games will also be available on BTN2Go. The other two matchups on Saturday include Nebraska at Cincinnati at noon

Big Ten Geeks: Getting Defensive

We sit mere days away from Big Ten play, so it seems a proper time to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the conference’s defenses. Possibly the best way to do that is through detailed shot data. The best defenses will limit open threes and shots at the rim while forcing opponents to take low value two-point jumpers. Courtesy of Hoop-Math, the following table contains defensive shot data for the teams in the Big Ten, sorted from fewest shots allowed at the rim to most shots allowed at the rim. Team % Shots At Rim % Shots 2pt Jumpers %

Big Ten Geeks: Illinois, Ohio State win thrillers

The headliner to the Big Ten’s wild weekend was Ohio State’s improbable comeback over Notre Dame. The Irish held an 8-point lead with under a minute to play, but OSU’s frenzied press led to four Notre Dame turnovers, which fueled a 14-3 Buckeye run. It was an unreal comeback, so hopefully you saw it, and weren’t like, trying to get a toddler to go to sleep. That would have been unfortunate. Wow! @OhioStateHoops goes on a 14-3 run over the last 48 seconds and gets the win. This guy was incredible tonight. pic.twitter.com/D0vpFVwlSU — Sean Merriman (@BTNSean) December 22, 2013

Twitter: Reaction to Illinois' Braggin' Rights win

For the first time since 2008, Illinois has Braggin’ Rights. The Illini held off rival Missouri, 65-64, in a thrilling back-and-forth affair Saturday at Scottrade Center. The win snapped the Illini’s four-game losing streak in the series and also marked the Tigers first loss of the season. See reaction to the victory in this post. Illinois senior Joseph Bertrand has some fun with former teammates who went 0-4 in the rivalry. @tylergriffey @djrich32 @BP3 u mad? pic.twitter.com/wOmlfyzGjY — Joseph Bertrand (@iJoeTales) December 22, 2013 Former Illinois star Brandon Paul was a nervous wreck watching this one. me during the end

Saturday hoops roundup: Big Ten goes perfect 5-0

There were five Big Ten hoops games on Saturday and the Big Ten made a huge statement, going a perfect 5-0 on the day. No. 5 Michigan State took down Texas in Austin, Illinois sent Missouri to its first loss, and No. 2 Ohio State made an incredible comeback to drop Notre Dame. Nebraska followed with a blowout win over The Citadel, while Michigan closed out the evening with an impressive victory over Stanford. Catch up on all the day’s scores and stats in this post. [ MORE: View Saturday’s full Big Ten scoreboard ] ILLINOIS 65, MISSOURI 64 |