The Big Ten season is halfway over—and the best is yet to come in a conference race that remains in flux. More clarity may come this week, which shapes up as one of the best yet of the season. In particular, this is a big week for Michigan State and Indiana. And matchup-wise, I can’t wait for the battle between the Big Ten’s top freshmen: Michigan’s Trey Burke and Indiana’s Cody Zeller. See my game rankings for this week’s action in this post.
This shapes up as one of the best weeks of the season with several marquee matchups. The teams most on the spot? It’s Michigan State and Indiana, which each has two big games. The Spartans play host to Michigan and travel to Illinois; the Hoosiers have two on the road: Michigan and archrival Purdue. But don’t forget about surging Wisconsin, either. The Badgers, winners of five straight and one game out of the Big Ten lead, travel to Penn State and host first-place Ohio State. Get ready for the week ahead in this post.
The Big Ten men’s basketball coaches held their weekly Big Ten teleconference Monday with reporters from around the league, and we’ve posted the audio from each phone interview in the post below. BTN.com will post these media sessions each Monday right up to the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament, and all of our audio can be found in our BTN.com audio archive.
ESPN2 is running a contest on Facebook for the 2012 Dunk of the Year (you must like the page to vote), and Indiana’s Victor Oladipo and Michigan’s Tim Hardaway Jr. are both nominees. Oladipo is in the mix for his one-handed throwdown in Indiana’s upset of No. 1 Kentucky, while Hardaway is in there for his driving, one-handed flush at Indiana. Both dunks were terrific. Go to the page and cast your vote for the Big Ten. According to the page, the Dunk of the Year will be featured March 26 during Dunks of the Year on ESPN2.
A new class of future Big Ten football stars will sign National Letters of Intent on Wednesday, and BTN will air a live, 90-minute “Football Signing Day Special” at 4:30 PM ET that day to reveal which student-athletes will attend Big Ten universities.
For the first time since 1995, No. 17 Indiana hit triple digits in a Big Ten game, carding a 103-89 victory over Iowa on Sunday (recap). In other action, No. 3 Ohio State continued its dominance over No. 22 Michigan (recap). Catch up on both games with our Big Ten scoreboard and get stats, video and recaps in this post.
Derek Elston averaged 2.6 points per game in Indiana’s first nine Big Ten games. On Sunday night against Iowa, the junior forward erupted for eight points in a 70-second span, hitting a 3-pointer, a deep jumper and another 3 on successive first-half possessions. The scoring spree not only marked Elston’s most points in a game since he totaled eight against Howard on Dec. 19, it also turned a tie game into an eight-point Indiana advantage. Oh, and for good measure, the junior blocked a shot to help create the final bucket of the outburst. Watch Elston’s rare explosion now and see Cody Zeller’s dunk-a-thon in this post.