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Big Ten Geeks: It isn't the Little Ten

Illinois’ weaknesses were exposed in a road loss against a mediocre Purdue team last night. The concerning thing isn’t so much that Illinois lost—Purdue isn’t a terrible team, just a terrible offensive team—it’s that it lost to Purdue despite hitting 10 three-pointers (38% from three on the night). Thus, it appears the “Illinois wins when it shoots well” maxim is incorrect. This team can shoot well, and still lose. The fact of the matter is that Illinois is a mediocre defensive team, and especially awful on the defensive glass. Purdue grabbed 44 percent of its misses—including four off of missed

Purdue upsets No. 14 Illinois in Big Ten opener

Terone Johnson scored a career-high 25 points and D.J. Byrd spurred a key 19-3 second-half run to send Purdue past No. 14 Illinois 68-61 on Wednesday night. The Boilermakers (7-6, 1-0 Big Ten) are above .500 for the first time this season and have won eight straight over the Fighting Illini. Illinois (13-2, 0-1) was led by Brandon Paul with 15 points and Joseph Bertrand with 14, not quite enough to prevent an eighth straight conference loss on the road. [ BOX | AP RECAP | SCORES | ALL PHOTOS | CONNECT | RAPID RECAPS | B1G DUNKS ] Terone

BTN Court Pass debuts tonight

Just as BTN & BTN2Go did for football this past fall with BTN Field Pass, we’re turning on pregame cameras before selected Big Ten men’s basketball games this season to give fans a glimpse of their teams before the TV cameras go live. The experience starts tonight 30 minutes before both BTN games –  Nebraska vs. Ohio State Court pass goes live at 6 p.m. ET and the court pass at Illinois vs. Purdue goes on at 8 p.m.  You can watch these live online feeds via BTN2Go. What will the cameras show? Anything around the buildup to the games themselves. We expect

Yarina: My All-Big Ten noncon teams

And just like that, it’s time for the Big Ten season to tip. It was a highly successful nonconference season, with the Big Ten owning the national polls. We have even more to look forward in the coming months, however, as many feel this could be one of the better conference races in recent history. Check out my All-Big Ten Nonconference Teams in this post. [ RELATED: Watch 2012-13 dunks in our Big Ten Dunk Archive ] FIRST TEAM G: Trey Burke, Michigan G: Brandon Paul, Illinois F: Deshaun Thomas, Ohio State F: Rodney Williams, Minnesota F/C: Cody Zeller, Indiana

Illinois survives Auburn's late charge

Tracy Abrams scored 27 points, grabbed eight rebounds and handed out five assists as No. 15 Illinois defeated Auburn 81-79 on Saturday at United Center in Chicago. Catch up on all the action on our Big Ten scoreboard and get video, stats and recaps in this post. [ BOX | AP RECAP | SCORES | ALL PHOTOS | CONNECT | RAPID RECAPS | B1G DUNKS ] FINAL: Both teams poured on the points. Illinois (13-1) shot 49 percent (25-of-51) and Auburn (5-7) shot 48 percent (29-of-60) during the game. The Fighting Illini shot 27-of-40 from the free throw line. Illinois was

Big Ten Geeks: On the chin

The Big Ten had a relatively bad weekend, dropping marquee games against other high-major conference teams. The main event was a battle between two top-10 teams when Kansas visited Columbus. Given that the game was on the Buckeyes’ floor, Ohio State should have won this game, and probably by more than just a point or two. Instead, Kansas ended up with a relatively comfortable 8-point win. The Jayhawks led most of the way, and started pulling away with about ten minutes left. There was no great mystery as to why OSU lost—they were terrible shooting the ball, both inside and

Power Rankings: 12-1 Minnesota on the way up

Happy Holidays! I have a “present” for you. It’s my latest Big Ten Power Rankings. So, if you manage to get some free time from all the family and delicious eats, take a moment to see where your team ranks before the conference season tips off. Don’t agree with the rankings? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment box at the bottom of the post. Or tweet it my way (@BTNBrentYarina). [ RELATED: View the latest AP & Coaches polls ] 1. Michigan, 12-0 – Nik Stauskas is no ordinary freshman. Even as the team’s third or fourth

Missouri sends Illinois to season's first loss

Laurence Bowers had 23 points and 10 rebounds to lead No. 12 Missouri over No. 10 Illinois 82-73 in the annual Braggin’ Rights game on Saturday. Alex Oriakhi added 13 points and 14 rebounds as Missouri (10-1) won its fourth straight in the 32-year-old series. Jabari Brown had 18 points and Phil Pressey handed out 11 assists. Brandon Paul led Illinois (12-1) with 23 points. Tyler Griffey scored 14, Joseph Bertrand had 13 and Nnanna Egwu 12 for the Illini. Missouri used a 9-0 run late in the game to take the lead for good at 70-64. Brown led the

Big Ten Geeks: Digging deeper on Illinois' offense

With the latter half of this quiet week bringing nothing but blowouts, let’s instead focus on one of the more surprising developments of the season thus far–the play of the Illinois Fighting Illini. The John Groce era has gotten off to a remarkable start in Champaign–the Illini are 12-0 and ranked 10th in the AP poll. But, college basketball observers can be forgiven for asking: haven’t we seen this film before? After all, this is largely the same group of guys that got off to a surprising start last season: W-L Best win Losses KenPom rank AP rank 2011-12 Illinois,

Big Ten Geeks: Should every team play in tourney?

We’ve already argued for and against divisions in Big Ten basketball. Today, we discuss whether every member of a 14-team Big Ten should be allowed to play in the Big Ten tournament. Josh: No. Tournaments are a lot of fun. There’s no atmosphere that’s better than a split crowd at a neutral site. And in the Big Ten Tournament, that happens numerous times over a four-day stretch. But for whatever reason, the Committee just can’t seem to recognize a conference tournament for what it is—a handful of conference games in a single-elimination format. The conference tournament should absolutely not trump