The building continues in Minnesota for second-year coach Jerry Kill, who is coming off a 3-9 season and last-place finish in the Legends Division. Hope floats in Minneapolis, but Kill has a long to-do list if he wants to get the Golden Gophers back to the postseason since Tim Brewster took them to consecutive bowls in 2008-09. The top priority? Improving a porous defense that finished 11th in the Big Ten vs. the run (186.4 ypg), ninth against the pass (216.7 ypg) and 10th overall in the Big Ten (403.1 ypg).
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Illinois’ Meyers Leonard declared for the NBA draft Monday (story), and on Wednesday, it was Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger’s turn (story). With Leonard and Sullinger, both sophomores, leaving early and the deadlines to declare for the draft approaching (April 10, NCAA; April 29, NBA), BTN.com’s Brent Yarina considers some of the previous Big Ten sophomores – plus freshmen – who have left early since the new millennium. How did the decisions work out? Find out in this post.
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The Big Ten Network will stream Minnesota’s spring football game live at noon ET on Saturday, April 21, on both BTN2Go and the Big Ten Digital Network. BTN also will have highlights and analysis from that day’s Big Ten spring games on at 7 p.m. ET on B1G Tonight Spring Football Edition with Dave Revsine, Gerry DiNardo and Howard Griffith. The Minnesota game will be televised at 7 p.m. ET on Sunday, April 22.
The nation still is buzzing over the greatest six-point performance in NCAA title game history. Thank you, Anthony Davis. Here’s what’s buzzing around Big Ten gridirons.
Minnesota is in the Frozen Four for the first time since 2005. The Gophers, which beat North Dakota in the West Regional finals, take on No. 1 seed Boston College at 8 p.m. ET Thursday at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Beat Boston College, and Minnesota would play the Ferris State-Union winner at 7 p.m. ET Saturday. See GopherSports.com’s Frozen Four Preview and Frozen Four Central page, plus watch all of GopherAthletics YouTube videos.
The NCAA men’s basketball championship game is Monday night, but here at BTN.com, our fans already have crowned the 2012 Big Ten Football Uniform Bracket champion. And the winner is Michigan, the top seed in the field. The Wolverines toppled No. 5 Iowa in the title matchup. See the final tally for the championship tilt in this post and check out all of the tournament’s matchups: Finals | Semis | Quarters | First round.
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The Big Ten Conference released its Big Ten Softball Players of the Week for March 26-April 1 action Monday. See all the winners and check out what they did to earn the distinctions in this post.