If NFL teams are looking for linemen, they may look to the Big Ten often when the draft kicks off with the first round at 8 p.m. ET Thursday. The Big Ten’s top prospects with the best chance to hear their names called on Thursday are linemen: Iowa offensive tackle Riley Reiff; Wisconsin center Peter Konz; Wisconsin guard Kevin Zeitler; Michigan State defensive tackle Jerel Worthy; Illinois defensive end Whitney Mercilus.
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The 2012 NFL Draft kicks off Thursday night and runs through Saturday afternoon at Radio City Music Hall in New York. To get our readers excited for the three-day marathon of analysis and predictions, we’re taking you on a trip down memory lane. With the help of NFL.com, we’ve linked to the site’s school-specific all-time draft results. Wondering which Illinois players have been selected since the draft’s inception? Find the answer for every Big Ten school in this post. Also, watch our Russ Lunde talk about the NFL draft now.
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Not all non-conference schedules are created equal, as you can see from my rankings, from 1-12, of the Big Ten non-league menus. Some are high calorie. Some are low-calorie. So, who has the toughest slate? And the easiest? Find out in this post. You can find all of my Big Ten football coverage here. Oh, and if you like rankings like this, you’ll want to check out this archive, where I’m ranking 2012 games, players and schedules.
Three more spring games are in the books, as Ohio State, Penn State and Minnesota punctuated their drills with games on Saturday. Michigan State and Wisconsin are the only schools left playing, with each conducting a spring game this Saturday when the NFL draft still will be going on.
With the wind howling in Sunday in the first game of a Big Ten doubleheader at Indiana, Northwestern showed its power prowess with a pair of deep home runs and seven total extra base hits that aided an 8-3 Wildcats’ win at the IU Softball Field. In the second game, it was all Indiana en route to an 11-3 win in six innings. The win gave Indiana two wins over Northwestern in the same season for the first time since 1997. The Hoosiers connected for three home runs, matching a season high. Watch our highlights from the Northwestern-Indiana doubleheader now and get our Sunday softball roundup in this post.
The University of Iowa baseball team beat Penn State, 4-2, Sunday afternoon in the series finale at Duane Banks Field. The Hawkeyes scored three first-inning runs and never looked back en route to snapping a three-game losing streak. Iowa starter Sasha Kuebel was terrific, earning his fourth win of the year to remain perfect (4-0). The rookie threw seven and a third solid innings, yielding just two runs, striking out two while scattering seven hits. Read the full recap at HawkeyeSports.com and get our Sunday baseball roundup in this post.
The Fighting Illini men’s gymnastics team climbed back from a two-point deficit in the final two rotations of the night to win the 2012 NCAA Championship Friday evening at the Lloyd Noble Center. The Orange and Blue posted a season-high score of 358.850, including a school record-breaking 60.750 on pommel horse, to edge host and top-ranked Oklahoma (357.450), which finished second in the field of six. Penn State (354.800) placed third, followed by California (353.000), Stanford (352.650) and Michigan (351.050). Read more at FightingIllini,.com including some great videos.