It’s no secret that Illinois’ Meyers Leonard is blessed with a lot of athleticism. The 7-foot-1 big man moves and leaps unlike most guys his size, and he displayed it once again Wednesday at Northwestern. Late in the first half – a frustrating one for Leonard and the Illini – the breakout sophomore jumped out of the gym on a one-handed slam. Look at how high he got up there. And listen to that rim rattle! As BTN color commentator Shon Morris put it: “I think that rim is going to file assault charges.” Watch the dunk now and see his game-sealing block in this post.
That was exciting! The season’s first BTN Super Wednesday doubleheader, presented by Buffalo Wild Wings, came down to the final second in both games. In the first one, Meyers Leonard swatted away a shot to seal Illinois’ win over Northwestern (recap). And in the nightcap, Iowa denied Minnesota on the final possession (recap). Catch up on all the action on our Big Ten scoreboard and view our Super Wednesday schedule.
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The Big Ten already has seen two top underclassmen officially declare for the draft: Illinois defensive end Whitney Mercilus and Iowa OT Riley Reiff. And one report has Michigan State DT Jerel Worthy bolting (read the report), while many speculate that Wisconsin RB Montee Ball will opt for the NFL, too.
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Wisconsin and Michigan State squared off last night in a game that will not help the Big Ten’s national image. Via a combination of slow pace, good defense, and missed shots that both teams would normally make, the Spartans and Badgers labored for points. It took Michigan State over 13 minutes of game time to break into double digits–and even then they were only down two points. Wisconsin’s shooting nightmare that began against Iowa persisted, and it truly looked like the first team to 50 would win.
One week of Big Ten play in the books, it’s time to release my latest Big Ten men’s hoops power rankings. The rankings are not meant to mimic the Big Ten standings. What fun would that be? They aren’t scientific, either. They’re simply my thoughts on where each Big Ten team stands right now and who would win on a neutral court. Agree? Disagree? Tweet @BTNBrentYarina or leave your comments below. See Brent’s rankings in this post.
Illinois junior defensive end Whitney Mercilus announced Tuesday that he will forgo his senior season and enter the 2012 NFL Draft. Mercilus entered the season as a relative unknown and finished it as one of the nation’s elite defensive players. During his breakout campaign, he led the nation with 16 sacks, forced a Big Ten-record nine fumbles and registered a Big Ten-leading 22.5 tackles for loss.