Illinois’ Meyers Leonard declared for the NBA draft Monday (story), and on Wednesday, it was Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger’s turn (story). With Leonard and Sullinger, both sophomores, leaving early and the deadlines to declare for the draft approaching (April 10, NCAA; April 29, NBA), BTN.com’s Brent Yarina considers some of the previous Big Ten sophomores – plus freshmen – who have left early since the new millennium. How did the decisions work out? Find out in this post.
Find out more about: NBA Draft
As is the case immediately following every Final Four nowadays, analysts and talking heads have shifted focus to next season by releasing their super-early 2012-13 top 25 polls. Several of the polls, by the way, feature a Big Ten team in the No. 1 spot. The team: Indiana. Yes, the Hoosiers, the same program that is fresh off its first NCAA tourney berth since 2008 and the same one that hasn’t been to the Final Four since 2002.
No Big Ten basketball team had a better winning percentage at home during the 2011-12 season than Indiana (.947 percent), and a lot of the success can be attributed to the rabid fans who fill Assembly Hall every game. Even when Indiana was winning six games a season, the fans showed and gave their team a homecourt advantage. IUAthletics YouTube channel posted a cool time-lapse video of the school’s loyal fans, from the time the gates opened to just before tip. Watch the video in this post.
Ohio State was our preseason pick for the cream of the conference, and, despite a bumpy Big Ten slate that left them sharing the title, the Buckeyes are now the last B1G standing. The Sweet Sixteen was rather cruel to Big Ten teams not from Columbus; let’s start with the happy news and work our way through the rest.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist scored 24 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lift Kentucky to a 102-90 win over Indiana on Friday at Georgia Dome in Atlanta in the Sweet Sixteen. Christian Watford had 27 points to lead the Hoosiers (27-9), whose comeback season ended two wins shy of the Final Four. Indiana, which won a total of 28 games the previous three seasons, has regained its usual place among the college basketball bluebloods. Full boxscore is here.
Find out more about: Big Ten Blast, NCAA Men
You have questions, I have answers in my weekly mailbag. There is a lot going on, with the NCAA tourney at the Sweet 16 stage and spring football in full swing across Big Ten territory. Which of the four Big Ten teams has the best shot to reach the Final Four? What will Wisconsin do at quarterback? I address those questions—and more—in this week’s mailbag.
Find out more about: Dienhart's Mailbag