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Yarina: Ranking 2014 ACC/B1G Challenge games

The matchups for the 2014 ACC/Big Ten Challenge have been announced, and now it’s time to rank the 14 games. Remember, this year, Maryland switches sides and Rutgers also is added to the Big Ten ledger. See my rankings in this post. In case you’re wondering, the ACC leads the event, 10-3-2, although the Big Ten has won or tied each of the last five seasons. [ MORE: 2014 Big Ten/ACC Challenge matchups announced ] 1. Duke at Wisconsin – Wed., Dec. 3 Duke brings all-world recruits Jahlil Okafor, the nation’s top recruit, and Tyus Jones into Madison to face

ACC/Big Ten Challenge games announced

Ready for some hoops – or at least news to get you excited about the season that is still five months out? Here you go: The matchups for the 2014 ACC/Big Ten Challenge were announced Thursday, and there are some really intriguing pairings. For example, Duke at Wisconsin. This year’s event will feature 14 games, with the Big Ten’s addition of Maryland, which comes over from the opposition, and Rutgers. That’s two more games than the previous three years, and five more than there were when the event launched in 1999. Speaking of history, after losing the event’s first 10

Ten B1G teams land on ESPN's Fab 50 for 2014-15

ESPN’s Jeff Goodman released his Fab 50 for 2014-15, a ranking of his top 50 men’s hoops teams, on Tuesday. Ten Big Ten teams make the list, including newcomer Maryland (No. 30), paced by reigning national semifinalist Wisconsin (No. 3). The No. 1 team? That’s Kentucky, of course. See Goodman’s analysis of all 10 Big Ten teams in this post. [ MORE: Yarina: My super-early 2014-15 Big Ten predictions ] No. 3 Wisconsin This is a team that was one shot away from playing for the national title game and also a group that will return seven of its top

Yarina: A super-early look at 2014-15 hoops predictions

With Mitch McGary announcing Friday that he will enter the NBA draft, we officially know what each Big Ten team will return for the 2014-15 season. So, naturally, that means it’s time to take a SUPER-early stab at next year’s standings and All-Big Ten teams. See my way-too-early predictions in this post. [ MORE: Big Ten roster updates: Who’s on the move? ] BIG TEN STANDINGS 1. Wisconsin – Everyone but Ben Brust is back from the Final Four team. 2. Nebraska – Terran Petteway and a healthy Shavon Shields form a fantastic 1-2 punch. 3. Michigan State – Speaking

Dienhart: Here are my final Big Ten hoops grades

The dust has settled on another basketball season. And, it was a good one for the Big Ten, as three schools advanced to the Elite Eight (Wisconsin, Michigan, Michigan State) and one made it to the Final Four (Wisconsin). Another won the NIT (Minnesota). Let’s punctuate the season by handing out final grades. Illinois, 20-15, 7-11/T8th. The Fighting Illini had a roller coaster season. In earlier January after a home win vs. Penn State, Illinois was 13-2 overall and 2-0 in the Big Ten. Alas, the wheels came off during an eight-game losing skid. Illinois would go on to lose

Magnificent 7: An early look at 2014-15 MVP race

The Big Ten has suffered some big attrition when it comes to players leaving early for the NBA Draft as Ohio State’s LaQuinton Ross, Indiana’s Noah Vonleh, Michigan State’s Gary Harris and Michigan’s Nik Stauskas and Glenn Robinson III all declared. Michigan’s Mitch McGary still is weighing his options. If he bolts, it will leave another gap to fill. On top of that, stars like Roy Devyn Marble of Iowa, Adreian Payne of Michigan State and Tim Frazier of Penn State are departing seniors. Who’s left? Who will be the front-runners for Big Ten Player of the Year in 2014-15,

Role playing: One ultimate Big Ten hoops roster

Here’s a question to ponder: What does every great college basketball team have in common? We know every one has a superstar. This year’s national champion UConn had Shabazz Napier, last year’s champion Louisville team had Russ Smith, and the 2012 Kentucky team had Anthony Davis, and so on. Every great college basketball team also has players who fill specific roles. For example, in addition to superstar Nik Stauskas, this year’s Michigan Big Ten title team had a shooting specialist in Zak Irvin, a bench spark in Spike Albrecht and a team leader in senior Jordan Morgan. This got me

If B1G basketball players formed a football team ...

Here’s a question that college basketball fans have probably asked themselves at one point or another: How good would that guy be if he played football? The which-basketball-players-would-be-great-at-football topic always makes for a great conversation point, but rather than pointlessly flirting with the idea, let’s go ahead and actually put it into action. With both the college football and basketball seasons now in the books, I went ahead and put together a 22-man football lineup made up of all Big Ten hoops players from the 2013-14 season. Did I miss someone? If so, tweet me @BTNSean. OFFENSE Quarterback: Josh Gasser,

Dienhart: A sneak peek at 2014-15 Big Ten hoops

The 2013-14 season was punctuated with UConn’s win over Kentucky in the national championship game Monday night. Deep breath … exhale. That means it’s time to turn the page toward the 2014-15 season. Yes, already. How will the Big Ten look? Not too bad. Take a peek. Illinois 20-15 overall; 7-11 Big Ten Key personnel back: G Tracy Abrams; F/C Nnanna Egwu; G Malcolm Hill; G Kendrick Nunn; G Rayvonte Rice; G Jaylon Tate Key losses: G Joseph Bertrand; F Jon Ekey Key newcomers: F Leron Black; G Aaron Cosby (Seton Hall transfer); F Michael Finke; F Darius Paul (Western Michigan transfer);

Yarina: 5 B1G breakout players for 2014-15

While analysts across the nation are busy compiling their super-early 2014-15 hoops polls, I thought I’d go with a more exact-inexact exercise and share my top five 2014-15 breakout candidates. You know the names from this season, but they’re certain to be even bigger names next season. Derrick Walton Jr., Michigan. Two names for you: Darius Morris and Trey Burke. Those are John Beilein’s previous two point guards, and both made gigantic strides as a sophomore. Walton Jr. isn’t going to win National Player of the Year, as Burke did, but he’s a do-it-all guard who will continue the recent