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.
Every year, it’s a test of one’s will to avoid drawing any conclusions prior to the beginning of conference play. For instance, two years ago the Texas Longhorns jumped out to an undefeated mark before beginning their conference slate. Non-conference opponents included Pitt, UNC, and Michigan State. After opening conference play with wins over what turned out to be the bottom of the Big XII, Texas sat atop both polls (I still don’t understand the point of polls in college basketball) and was generally recognized as the best team in the country.
Eight of the 12 Big Ten women’s hoops teams are in action Monday, including the conference’s three ranked teams. No. 12 Ohio State took down Iowa, 81-74, and No. 17 Penn State throttled Wisconsin, 84-49. No. 21 Purdue is taking on Illinois right now. Catch up on all the action on our Big Ten scoreboard, watch our highlights and interviews from Ohio State win now and get recaps from every game in this post.