Did You See This? Payne alley-oop

Michigan State’s Adreian Payne is as long as any player in the Big Ten. That length really comes in handy when his teammates decide to loft a pass his way in the paint. Keith Appling knows that as well as any Spartan. The first-year Michigan State point guard found Payne open around the rim in the first half of Wednesday night’s game against Penn State, and the result was pretty obvious. Two easy points. Watch the Appling-to-Payne alley right here.

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Big Ten Geeks: Offensive Explosion in Columbus

Last Tuesday, we watched Illinois and Michigan State fight it out to a 42-41 final. A week later, Ohio State and Purdue matched that point total on the first possession of the second half in an entertaining 87-84 Ohio State win. Both teams used outstanding three-point shooting and minuscule turnover rates to power themselves above 1.30 points per trip, marking a season-high output for both sides.

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BTN to Air 7 Winter Championships

For the fifth consecutive year, BTN will televise seven winter Big Ten Championships, including men’s and women’s swimming and diving, wrestling, men’s and women’s indoor track and field and men’s and women’s gymnastics. Every event will be produced in high definition, including live coverage of the entire Big Ten Men’s Gymnastics Championships, the final rounds of the Big Ten Wrestling Championships and the final session of the Big Ten Women’s Gymnastics Championships.

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Dienhart: Get your Big Ten player rankings

Jared Sullinger, Draymond Green. Draymond Green, Jared Sullinger. The player on top of my weekly player rankings seemingly changes each week. And it may continue to flip-flop the rest of the month, too. For now, I have to go with Sullinger, given his sterling effort in Ohio State’s first win at Wisconsin since 2000 and the fact Green hurt his knee in a loss at Illinois.

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Big Ten softball season opens Thursday

The 2012 Big Ten softball season is set to begin this week with 10 teams taking to the diamond on the opening weekend of play. Nebraska opens the season on Thursday, while Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern, Ohio State and Penn State begin on Friday, and Minnesota opens its season on Saturday. Wisconsin begins the new year on Feb. 17, and Purdue opens its season on Feb. 18.

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