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Big Ten Geeks: A look at Tuesday's Challenge games

It’s that time of year again, when the powers of the Midwest exert their basketball dominance over the Atlantic Coasters. Or at least that’s been the story in recent years, with the Big Ten taking three of the last four Challenges (last season was an unsatisfying tie). We won’t talk about what happened in the 10 prior Challenges. We’re going to give a quick rundown on each of the 12 games, complete with our picks. First, here’s our look at Tuesday’s games. ** Notre Dame at Iowa Pomeroy says: Iowa by 12 The teams: Notre Dame has played the third-weakest schedule

Big Ten Geeks: Turkeys and Trophies

While most of the nation feasted, several Big Ten teams were playing for tournament hardware. Let’s get right into the meat and potatoes of what’s worth knowing. ** Wisconsin rolled to the Cancun Challenge title with a workmanlike victory over West Virginia. The Badgers jumped out to a 17-point lead late in the first half, and the Mountaineers were never able to get within a possession the rest of the way. After settling for a complementary role the past couple games, Sam Dekker resumed his rightful place as Wisconsin’s offensive centerpiece, scoring 21 points on 14 shots. It’s early, but

Big Ten Geeks: Dramatic Gophers

Tuesday and Wednesday brought a flurry of interesting results for Big Ten teams. Let’s dive in to what it all means. ** Minnesota had a rough couple days in Maui, losing to Syracuse and Arkansas by a combined 22 points. The problem in both games was defense, as the Gophers’ zone was often porous and ineffective. Cue Dramatic Gopher! Coming into the season, the big question with Minnesota was how much it would get out of its frontcourt. Thus far, the results are decidedly mixed. Elliott Eliason is off to a good start with his rebounding and shotblocking, but Oto

Tuesday B1G men's hoops roundup: IU rolls Evansville

Tuesday featured a handful of Big Ten men’s hoops games, including No. 25 Indiana blasting instate foe Evansville, 77-46, at Assembly Hall. Track all the day’s action, plus get select video highlights, in this post. [ MORE: View Tuesday’s full Big Ten men’s hoops schedule ] ILLINOIS 61, UNLV 59 | RECAP | BOX | PLAY-BY-PLAY (AP) Rayvonte Rice is making a name for himself in his young Illinois career.With his Illini and UNLV tied with under a minute to play, Rice took a pass from Tracy Abrams, saw an opening in the lane and converted a driving layup that

Thursday Hoops Roundup: No. 12 Wisconsin wins big

There were five Big Ten men’s basketball games on Thursday, including Wisconsin’s impressive 88-64 win over Bowling Green. The Badgers had six players score in double figures, led by Ben Brust, who had a game-high 19 points. This is the first time Wisconsin has had back-to-back 80-plus point games since December, 2012. Catch up on all of Thursday’s action in this post. MASSACHUSETTS 96, NEBRASKA 90 | RECAP | BOX | PLAY-BY-PLAY (AP) Texas Tech transfer Terran Pettaway led the Cornhuskers with a career-high 28 points, but Massachusetts held on in the final minute to open the Charleston Classic with

A look at early basketball signing classes

The early basketball signing period started last Wednesday, Nov. 13, and ends today. The Big Ten had a decent haul. According to Scout.com, Ohio State (No. 6) and Indiana (No. 21) are the lone league schools to rank among the Top 25 classes in the nation. But there still will be a spring signing period, so these classes can change. There were just two five-star signees, and both inked with Ohio State: 6-4 off-guard D’Angelo Russell and 6-7 small forward Keita Bates-Diop. There were seven four-star signees. Russell is the highest-rated Big Ten prospect, coming in at No. 16 in

Tuesday hoops roundup: Kaminsky nets record 43

There was a trio of Big Ten men’s basketball games Tuesday night, including Wisconsin taking down North Dakota, 103-85. The 103 points marked the first time the Badgers eclipsed 100 points since December 1995. But the bigger story was Frank Kaminsky, who scored a team single-game record 43. Catch up on all of Tuesday’s action in this post. [ MORE: Get Stephen Bardo’s Power Rankings | Bardo’s top 5 dunkers ] MINNESOTA 82, COASTAL CAROLINA 72 | RECAP | BOX | PLAY-BY-PLAY (AP) Andre Hollins helped Minnesota overcome a sluggish performance, scoring 19 points for the Gophers in an 82-72

Big Ten Geeks: Standing Tall

The Big Ten suffered its first losses over the past couple nights, and we learned just a little bit more about the shape of this conference. Let’s dive in. In a formula that might become common this season, Illinois struggled to score over Valparaiso’s length but did enough on defense to secure the victory. After facing two decidedly smaller teams to open the season, Illinois had trouble converting over Valpo’s big and experienced frontline. In fact, the Illini’s 35.6 effective field goal percentage is the lowest mark of the John Groce era, and last season’s team wasn’t exactly a collection

What a night! Catch up on Big Ten hoops action

Down goes No. 1! No. 2 Michigan State dropped top-ranked Kentucky, 78-74, on Tuesday night in the Champions Classic at the United Center. The Spartans’ big win was just one of seven Big Ten games on the night. Get game recaps, stats and video highlights from all the games in this post. INDIANA 73, LIU-BROOKLYN 72 | RECAP | BOX | PLAY-BY-PLAY (AP) Will Sheehey scored 15 of his 19 points in the second half, making the go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:47 left to lead Indiana past pesky LIU-Brooklyn 73-72 on Tuesday. Indiana (2-0) continued its home mastery against non-conference foes barely

Ten Big Ten stars listed on Wooden preseason top 50

The Big Ten placed a nation’s best 10 players on the John R. Wooden Award preseason top 50 list, released Tuesday. Michigan State led the way with three players (Keith Appling, Gary Harris and Adreian Payne), while Michigan (Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III) and Ohio State (Aaron Craft and LaQuinton Ross) also made the list. A freshman made the cut, too. See all the representatives in this post. [ MORE: Big Ten Geeks 2013-14 Season Preview Part I | Part II ] INDIANA Noah Vonleh, Fr., F/C INSTANT REPLAY: @IndianaMBB's Noah Vonleh grabs board, takes it length of court