Derrick Nix made two free throws with a minute left and finished with 17 points to help No. 22 Michigan State pull away for a 66-56 victory over Nebraska on Sunday night. The Spartans (14-3, 3-1 Big Ten) have won three straight and kept the Cornhuskers (9-8, 0-4) from winning their first conference game this season.
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On Wednesday, Minnesota made a statement, beating Illinois by 17 points in Champaign. This was a strange one, as the Illini actually negated the Gophers’ huge on-paper advantage on the glass. Instead, it was a big discrepancy in shooting accuracy that told the story. Minnesota, normally a mediocre outside shooting team, hit nine of 15 from behind the arc, while Illinois made just three of its 24 three-point attempts. The Gopher defense certainly had a lot to do with the Illini’s struggles–there just weren’t all that many open looks–but it was also just one of those nights (see Andre Hollins’ banked-in three from nearly midcourt to beat the shot clock).
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Branden Dawson scored a career-high 17 points, including a late steal and tiebreaking dunk that helped No. 22 Michigan State hold off Iowa 62-59 on Thursday night. Gary Harris had 14 points for the Spartans (13-3, 2-1 Big Ten), who hung on late for their eighth win in nine games.
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This LostLettermen.com post got me thinking about the Big Ten’s top dunkers. There’s a bunch of them, and they’ve kept me busy this season on our Big Ten Dunk Archive. But who are the best of the best? I’ve come up with my top 5, plus honorable mention list, in this post. Let’s hear from you, too, though. There’s a poll included inside and feel free to send your nomination in the comment box.
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It’s time for my latest Big Ten hoops power rankings. While it doesn’t take a genius to figure out the top team, there’s plenty of debate after No. 2 Michigan. See where I rank your team in this post.
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It seems ludicrous that a Geek would pose such a question concerning the No. 11-ranked team according to Ken Pomeroy, but it’s fair. While the Buckeyes still look good in the computer’s eyes, but the computer’s eyes aren’t going to determine things like whether Ohio State will be invited to the Dance and how it will be seeded. So far on the season, OSU has faced three quality opponents (Duke, Kansas, and Illinois), and they’ve lost them all.
The Big Ten men’s basketball coaches held a 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 throughout the season right up to the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament, and all of our audio can be found in our BTN.com audio archive.