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Big Ten Geeks: Back to square one

Weekends like this one have me considering whether it’s just better to disregard the non-conference season entirely. Because despite the last three months, there was a lot of reverting to preseason expectations. In turn… Wisconsin’s Defense is a Concern Last year the Badgers were an elite defensive unit that couldn’t score. A big reason for that was the team adopted the personalities of its two senior leaders, Ryan Evans and Jared Berggren. Both players were fantastic defenders, but they also struggled to put the ball in the basket. With those offensive anchors removed—and replaced by personnel with loads of offensive

Audio: Listen to your Big Ten coach's teleconference

On Monday, the 12 Big Ten men’s basketball coaches joined the Big Ten teleconference to take questions from the media. We’ve posted the audio for each coach on the call here, and will do so every Monday throughout the basketball season. Listen to coach Tom Crean: Listen to coach Fran McCaffery: Listen to coach John Groce: Listen to coach Chris Collins: Listen to coach Penn State Associate Head Coach Keith Urgo: Listen to coach Matt Painter: Listen to coach Tom Izzo: Listen to coach Bo Ryan: Listen to coach John Beilein: Listen to coach Thad Matta: Listen to coach Richard

B1G Whiteboard: Big week ahead for Michigan

Another week, another raft of games that will go a long way toward shaping the Big Ten race. And this much is becoming clearer: Michigan State, Michigan and Iowa are the teams to beat. Speaking of the Big Ten’s holy trinity, it’s a big week for Michigan. BIG week. Here’s a look at the week that’s on our doorstep. [ MORE: Enter our Trip to the Big Ten Tournament Sweepstakes! ] GAME OF THE WEEK: Michigan at Michigan State, Sat., Jan. 25. A monster showdown between state rivals who enter the week as the lone unbeaten teams in the Big

Twitter: Best reaction to NU's win at Indiana

Just four nights ago, Indiana fans were storming the court after sending No. 3 Wisconsin to its first loss of the season. Saturday, they left Assembly Hall stunned after Indiana’s ugly 54-47 loss to Northwestern, which entered the game with only two wins all-time in Bloomington. See some of the best Twitter reaction to the upset in this post. The numbers were ugly. Indiana shot 25 percent (15-of-60) and had one player (Noah Vonleh, 17) in double figures. Make no mistake, Northwestern’s defense had plenty to do with Indiana’s struggles. In the end, this game came down to Tre Demps,

Hoops recap: MSU, Michigan stay perfect in Big Ten

Saturday featured a quartet of Big Ten men’s hoops games. Northwestern kicked off the action with an upset win over Indiana at Assembly Hall. Michigan followed with an impressive road win over No. 3 Wisconsin, while Purdue edged out Penn State and Michigan State cruised to a win over Illinois. Michigan and Michigan State remain the only unbeaten teams in Big Ten play this season. Catch up on all the scores, stats and in-game video highlights in this post. [ MORE: Enter our Trip to the Big Ten Tournament Sweepstakes! ] MICHIGAN STATE 78, ILLINOIS 62 | RECAP | BOX

Early look at NCAA Tournament mock brackets

It’s mid-January. Seems like a good time to start taking a look at some mock NCAA brackets. Things are looking good for Wisconsin and Michigan State, which are primed to be No. 1 seeds. Michigan, Iowa and Ohio State also are solid tourney teams for now. But teams like Minnesota and Indiana may bob in and out of these mock brackets all winter. First, there’s Jerry Palm of CBSSports.com, my personal favorite because he’s a Purdue grad who studied computers and played in the All-American Marching Band. And, I know how smart those guys are, having gone to Purdue myself.

Video: Victor Oladipo wows with dunk Saturday night

Indiana product and NBA rookie Victor Oladipo continues to make quite the statement in his first pro season. A couple nights after going for a career-high 35 points, Oladipo threw down one of the more powerful and athletic slams you’ll see all season Friday night. If you missed it, don’t worry, it’s in this post. Here it is. Enjoy! The former Indiana star and No. 2 pick is making a case for NBA Rookie of the Year, averaging 13.7 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.6 assists for the Orlando Magic. Here’s a picture of the dunk, too:

Survey says: Big Ten's toughest player

Toughness. It’s needed in any sport to be successful. And there are many definitions of toughness, which is displayed in various ways. Show me a successful team—and I’ll show you a tough team. Knowing that, I asked some writers who cover Big Ten hoops teams who they felt is the “toughest” player in the conference. [ MORE: Ups and Downs: Reviewing and Previewing Hoops ] Mark Snyder, Detroit Free Press: Aaron Craft. Whether by design or accident, he takes more bumps than a pinball — at both ends. Seth Gruen, Chicago Sun-Times: Keith Appling. Smallest guy on the floor and

Ups & downs: Reviewing & previewing hoops

It’s time for my Big Ten basketball 3-Pointers, my look back at the week that was in the Big Ten—with a sneak peek at what’s to come. It has been a good week to be Minnesota and Indiana. It hasn’t been such a good week to be Ohio State and Illinois. And if you’re Richard Pitno’s jacket from Thursday night, you had a little bit of good and bad this week. Read on, Big Ten fans! Three Stocks to Buy: 1. Minnesota. Dinkytown residents probably woke up this morning to hear chants of “Ski-U-Mah!” Why not? Minnesota looks legit after

Throwback Thursday Q&A: Indiana's A.J. Guyton

A.J. Guyton compiled quite the career as a four-year starter at Indiana, from 1996-2000. As a freshman, the Peoria, Ill., native won Big Ten Freshman of the Year and was second-team All-Big Ten. As a senior, Guyton was Big Ten Player of the Year (media) and a first-team All-America. Along the way, the guard scored 2,100 points (16.4 career average), the fourth-most in Indiana annals. I caught up with Guyton, who is retired and coaches his high school alma mater’s JV team and the Bloomington (Ill) Flex, of the Premier Basketball League, for an email Q&A. [ MORE: Previous Q&As: