A full slate of games is on tap this weekend and the storylines abound. Michigan State (Legends) and Penn State (Leaders) could clinch shares of their respective divisions, but Wisconsin also controls its destiny in the Leaders and looks to keep pace with the Nittany Lions (full standings here). And Purdue and Northwestern could become bowl eligible. Following is a look at this Saturday’s menu of games, so be sure to track them from kickoff to the final whistle.
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Last night, Ohio State handled a very good Florida team–a squad that at least one astute observer has picked to win the National Championship–with relative ease. After a slow start, the Buckeyes led by as many as 16 points before finally winning by seven. Thad Matta’s team displayed the same strengths as a season ago–namely a high effective field goal percentage and a low turnover rate–but they also showed a new wrinkle: getting to the foul line. It’s extremely early, but Ohio State now has a free throw rate of 72 FTA per 100 FGA. For some perspective, the Buckeyes only eclipsed that number twice all of last season–and both times were against the hacktastic Hoosiers. Perhaps this increase in trips to the foul line shouldn’t be surprising given the players that are being replaced:
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Northwestern followed up their regular-season title with the Big Ten Tounament title. In the latest installment of “BTN Soccer Report,” host Kevin Egan and analyst Aron Hyde recap the tournament and highlight Northwestern’s championship run. Soccer By Ives writer John Boschini also calls in to look ahead to the NCAA Tournament. On the women’s side, Illinois beat 2010 defending NCAA Champion Notre Dame to advance to the second round. We’ll also hear from Illini coach Janet Rayfield about the win. Watch the latest webisode now and come back next week for another soccer update.
We continue to work our way up our projected standings, and today we’ve reached our pick for fifth place: the Illinois Fighting Illini. Bruce Weber’s squad may be the biggest wild card in this season’s Big Ten, as it is supremely talented but woefully inexperienced. What’s a reasonable range of expectations for a team like this? Let’s find out.
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First off, apologies for the absence of the Numbers last week. The demands brought on by our Penn State coverage proved to be a bit too overwhelming.
Every Big Ten men’s hoops team has played at least one game, and in today’s quick-to-judge world, we thought why not offer some initial thoughts on what we’ve seen through the first week of action. See Brent Yarina’s way-too-early Big Ten impressions in this post.