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Michigan State rallies in second half

Keith Appling led a pivotal run early in the second half and finished with 24 points and seven assists to help No. 13 Michigan State beat Illinois 80-75 on Thursday night. The Spartans (18-4, 7-2 Big Ten) scored the first 14 points of the second half to take their first lead.

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'Game of Change' featured tonight on hoops 'Report'

Last December the Michigan State Spartans played Tuskegee in celebration of the 50th anniversary of “The Game of Change” between racially segregated Mississippi State and integrated Loyola of Chicago in the 1963 NCAA Tournament Mideast Regional semifinals hosted by Michigan State. See the photos here and the game recap here.

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Big Ten Geeks: Defense and Deshaun

In a matchup of the Big Ten’s two best defenses, it was Ohio State that prevailed with a nine-point home victory over Wisconsin. Both of these teams rely on good old fashioned B1G defense: make you miss (without fouling), then secure the carom. Turnovers are optional.

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Mock brackets: Where do Big Ten teams land?

It’s that time of the week, time to look at the mock brackets. And the Big Ten remains well-represented with seven teams in each of the mock brackets that I check each week. The only conference with more bids is the Big East, which has eight or nine tourney teams—depending on the bracket you check.

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Power Rankings: Minnesota continues to drop

Just a couple weeks ago, Minnesota was 15-1 and in the top 10 of the national polls. Fast forward to today, and the Gophers have lost four straight – a funk that keeps them dropping in my Power Rankings. Where does your team land on my latest list? Find out in this post. Oh, and feel free to send me your thoughts, either in the comment box at the bottom of the post or on Twitter (@BTNBrentYarina).

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