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Spring football: Interviews & features from across the Big Ten.

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Today
3:02 PMWashington St. at IowaWatch
3:18 PMIllinois at IowaWatch
Tuesday Mar 28
3:05 PMW. Michigan at Michigan St.Watch
6:00 PMKent St. at PurdueWatch
6:05 PMEvansville at IndianaWatch
6:34 PMOhio at Ohio St.Watch
7:00 PMNiagara at RutgersWatch
7:00 PMBradley at IllinoisWatch

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Big Ten Geeks: Getting Defensive

We sit mere days away from Big Ten play, so it seems a proper time to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the conference’s defenses. Possibly the best way to do that is through detailed shot data. The best defenses will limit open threes and shots at the rim while forcing opponents to take low value two-point jumpers. Courtesy of Hoop-Math, the following table contains defensive shot data for the teams in the Big Ten, sorted from fewest shots allowed at the rim to most shots allowed at the rim. Team % Shots At Rim % Shots 2pt Jumpers %

Sunday hoops roundup: B1G goes for 5 for 5

The Big Ten went a perfect 5-0 for the second consecutive day Sunday. Indiana (Kennesaw State), Iowa (Ark-Pine Bluff), Northwestern (Brown), Penn State (Mount St. Mary’s) and Purdue (West Virginia) all carded nonconference wins. Catch up on all the stats, scores and select video highlights in this post. INDIANA 90, KENNESAW STATE 66 | RECAP | BOX | PLAY-BY-PLAY (AP) Yogi Ferrell had 25 points while Noah Vonleh added 14 points and nine rebounds as Indiana easily defeated Kennesaw State 90-66 on Sunday afternoon. The Hoosiers (10-3), who open Big Ten play on New Year’s Eve at Illinois, shot a

BTN expands studio team of basketball analysts

CHICAGO – BTN will bolster its team of studio analysts to coincide with the start of conference basketball by adding former Maryland and Ohio State head coach Gary Williams and Hall of Fame sportswriters Dick “Hoops” Weiss and Mike DeCourcy, who returns for a third season. In total, BTN will televise 67 men’s conference basketball matchups, including nine straight weeks of “Super Wednesday” doubleheaders, presented by Buffalo Wild Wings, and four Big Ten Tournament games. All “Super Wednesday” doubleheaders will begin with the Auto Owner’s Insurance Big Ten Tip-Off Show, hosted by Dave Revsine alongside analyst Jim Jackson. BTN’s lineup

Big Ten Geeks: Early Trends

It’s still early, but it can be instructive to look at how Big Ten teams have performed relative to preseason expectations. With so few games of consequence being played this week, now is as good a time as any to pause and see how things have gone. Courtesy of the ever-useful kenpom.com, here’s how the rankings have evolved for Big Ten teams so far this season: The index on the x-axis is the game number from which the ranking was taken. The first ranking is taken from before the first game (i.e. the preseason ranking), the second ranking is taken

Big Ten Geeks: The kids are alright

As most of the Big Ten pauses for finals, it seems a fitting time to evaluate how the first semester went for the conference’s freshmen. We’ve got a third of the season under our belts, so it feels like we can finally take an initial peek at the numbers. The following table lists every Big Ten freshman that has played at least 10 percent of his team’s minutes, sorted by usage rate. Player Team %Min Ortg %Poss OR% DR% DefensiveSOS Rank Bryson Scott Purdue 44.8 111.1 29.0 4.2 10.2 310 Stanford Robinson Indiana 24.3 94.8 25.1 4.0 16.8 332 Noah

Big Ten Geeks: Fun with shot data

You can tell a lot about an offense based on its shot selection. Does it force the ball inside? Does it take a lot of threes? The most efficient offenses will thrive on layups, dunks, and open threes. It’s still early, but we can look at shot distribution data (courtesy of hoop-math.com) to get a feel for a team’s offensive tendencies. Here’s the complete data for the Big Ten, with teams sorted from least jump-shot-happy to most jump-shot-happy. Team %shots at rim %shots 2-pt jumpers %shots 3-pointers Indiana 53.8 19.1 27.1 Michigan St. 45.4 21.2 33.3 Ohio St. 42.1 21.5 36.4

Big Ten Geeks: Surveying the Landscape

It’s hard to believe, but nearly a third of the 2013-14 regular season is already in the books. There’s still a lot we don’t know about the Big Ten, but certain trends and qualities have emerged. With preparation for final exams taking precedence over meaningful basketball games this week, let’s take this opportunity to pause and evaluate what we’ve seen. LaQuinton Ross Has Emerged In our Ohio State preview, we compared LaQuinton Ross’ sophomore conference season to that of Deshaun Thomas with the following table: Poss% Shot% eFG% 3PA/FGA Free Throw Rate Assist% TO% ORtg Deshaun Thomas, sophomore 20 25

Audio: Listen to your Big Ten coach's teleconference

On Monday, the 12 Big Ten men’s basketball coaches joined the Big Ten teleconference to discuss non-conference action and look ahead to conference play, which tips off on New Year’s Eve. We’ve posted the audio for each coach on the call here, and will do so again when weekly calls begin in January. Listen to coach Tom Crean: Listen to coach Fran McCaffery: Listen to coach John Groce: Listen to coach Chris Collins: Listen to coach Patrick Chambers: Listen to coach Matt Painter: Listen to coach Tom Izzo: Listen to coach Bo Ryan: Listen to coach John Beilein: Listen to

B1G hoops roundup: Badgers down Marquette

Saturday wasn’t just about the 2013 Big Ten Football Championship Game. No, there was more than enough men’s basketball today to keep you entertained all day. There was a total of nine games, including Wisconsin beating instate foe Marquette to stay perfect. Get scores, stats, updates and video highlights in this post. [ MORE: View today’s Big Ten men’s basketball scoreboard ] INDIANA 89 NORTH FLORIDA 68 | RECAP | BOX | PLAY-BY-PLAY (AP) Evan Gordon scored 15 points and Yogi Ferrell had 14 points with seven assists to help Indiana rout overmatched North Florida 89-68 on Saturday. Noah Vonleh

Big Ten Geeks: Salvaging a 'Challenge' tie

Wednesday night went much better than Tuesday night for the Big Ten, as a 4-2 showing salvaged a second-consecutive tie in the Challenge. Overall, this was a good result for the conference, but the discussion at the end of the night focused on who to blame for the Big Ten’s failure to outright win the thing. So if results hold, who deserves more blame: MSU or Illinois? — Josh and Mike (@bigtengeeks) December 5, 2013 Responses were mixed, but a slight majority pointed their fingers at Michigan State, a team that was ranked #1 in the polls and was playing