Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
At its spring meetings in Chicago, the Big Ten may discuss if it should have divisional play in basketball, as Rutgers and Maryland are set to join the league in 2014 to make the conference a 14-team entity. My advice: The Big Ten should take a lead from the other major conferences—ACC (12 teams), SEC (14), Pac-12 (12), old Big East (15), Atlantic 10 (16)–and not have divisional play.
Find out more about: Big Ten expansion
Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports
Spring football is over and the offseason is officially here. Let’s all let loose with a collective sigh. Now we have to wait until the night of Thursday, August 29, for the first Big Ten game when UNLV plays at Minnesota. There are lots of barbecues, cannon balls into the swimming pool, croquet, Wiffle Ball and Jarts between now and then.
It’s time to talk the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The event might be six-plus months away, but the 2013 matchups were released Wednesday afternoon. This year’s event is Dec. 3-4, with six games each night, and it features first-year ACC members Notre Dame, Pittsburgh and Syracuse.
Stephen Bardo needs no introduction to Big Ten fans. A key cog to Illinois’ 1989 Final Four team, dubbed the “Flyin’ Illini,” and a respected broadcaster since his retirement, Bardo is about to become even more synonymous with Big Ten hoops. That’s because the Illini product is BTN’s newest hire, and he’ll serve as one of our basketball analysts. Read our Q&A with the Illini product in this post.
This is a big year for Illinois’ Tim Beckman, who shook up his staff after debuting with a 2-10 overall record and going 0-8 in the Big Ten. The schedule is built for a nice start, as six of the first seven contests are home games—including a tilt in Chicago. But it’s November that could make or break the Fighting Illini. Yes, three of the five games are on the road—but three games are winnable: at Indiana; at Purdue; vs. Northwestern. And Illinois needs to cash in if it hopes to play in a bowl.
Find out more about: Schedule Analysis
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
BTN will televise 12 primetime games during the 2013 college football season, the most in network history. Five games feature a pre-season top-25 Big Ten team, while three of the 12 matchups feature games versus teams from the SEC, ACC and Pac-12 conferences. Eight Big Ten schools in all will be featured in primetime.