Tim Beckman is the new Illinois coach and arrives from Toledo, where he forged a 21-16 record (16-6 in the MAC) the past three seasons after taking over for Tom Amstutz. Beckman led the Rockets to an 8-4 mark this season and a spot in the Military Bowl against Air Force, the program’s second bowl under his stewardship. Toledo has gone 7-1 in MAC play in each of the past two seasons.
Wednesday night brought a slew of closer-than-expected games for Big Ten teams. Most were able to escape without deflating losses, but the way they played may tell us more than the final result. Let’s dive right in.
Toledo’s Tim Beckman may be the man at Illinois. According to a Thursday morning report in the Chicago Tribune, Illinois is focusing on Beckman to replace Ron Zook, who was fired after seven years in Champaign. I think Beckman would be a terrific hire. He has done a good job at Toledo, forging a 21-16 record (16-6 in the MAC) in three years and leading the school to share of the MAC West title this season. The 8-4 Rockets, 7-1 in each of the last two years in MAC action, will play Air Force in the Military Bowl this month, the second bowl under Beckman.
It was a struggle for the Big Ten on Wednesday night. The conference eked out several wins against inferior opponents, including Illinois over St. Bonaventure (box), Nebraska over Florida Gulf Coast (recap) and Purdue over Western Carolina (recap), while Penn State lost to Lafayette (recap). There were a couple drama-free games, though, as Wisconsin drilled Green Bay (recap) and Michigan State blew away CCSU (recap). Catch up on all the action on our Big Ten scoreboard.
Roughly halfway through the nonconference basketball season, CBSSports.com’s Jerry Palm decided to take another look at what the NCAA tourney bracket looks like. First impression: Jerry really likes the Big Ten. Nine teams make the field, more than any other conference, including Northwestern (No. 10), which eyes its first NCAA berth, and Indiana (No. 7), which hasn’t made the tourney since 2007-08. See all the Big Ten teams Palm included in this post.