(AP) Shaka Smart says he will stay at Virginia Commonwealth. Illinois had offered its coaching job to Smart, according to multiple reports. In a statement released by VCU on Wednesday, the 34-year-old Smart said: “I’m looking forward to building on the successes of our program and university.”
Illinois is the midst of spring practice under first-year head coach Tim Beckman, who was hired from Toledo to take over for Ron Zook. Beckman’s goal: Lead the Fighting Illini to the Big Ten championship, which they haven’t won since 2001 under Ron Turner. Zook couldn’t do it, going 34-51 overall and 18-38 in the Big Ten with three bowl bids in seven seasons. He was dismissed after a bizarre 2011 that saw the Illini open 6-0, then lose six in a row before winning their bowl game.
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After six weeks of non-conference play, the Big Ten softball schedule opens this weekend for all 12 teams. Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio State and Purdue all host conference-opening series this weekend.
Spring football is in full swing across the Big Ten. And each day, BTN.com will be the place to stop by for your daily gridiron fix as we roll toward spring games in April. BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart will provide analysis, previews, videos and Q&As—among other things.
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All season, the computer rankings said that the Big Ten was the nation’s strongest conference. The league lived up to that hype through the first week of the NCAA tourney. Four of the six schools that received bids are still playing, with No. 1 Michigan State, No. 2 Ohio State, No. 4 Indiana and No. 4 Wisconsin advancing the second weekend of the tourney. No. 4 Michigan fell in the second round to No. 13 Ohio, while No. 10 Purdue lost in the third round to No. 2 Kansas.
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The Big Ten Conference announced its women’s gymnastics All-Big Ten teams and Big Ten Championships seeds on Monday. The All-Conference teams feature top-six performers in the all-around and the top six in each of the four events, based on the student-athletes’ regional qualifying average.
The votes are in, and we’ve reached the second round of BTN.com’s 2012 Big Ten football uniform bracket. Much like the NCAA tourney, there were a couple early upsets, including No. 10 Illinois taking down No. 3 Ohio State. Not to be outdone, No. 9 Purdue also stunned No. 4 Nebraska. Check out all the first-round decisions. Also, cast your Round 2 votes in this post.
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