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Power Rankings: Surging Illini continue ascent

John Groce

Evans Dunks It Back In With Gusto

Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports

John Groce’s Illini continued their torrid play this week, dispatching Purdue and Northwestern, teams they lost to earlier this season. Winners of four straight, Illinois has moved to No. 5 in my latest Power Rankings. Where does your team land? Find out in this post. Oh, and feel free to send me your thoughts, either in the comment box in this post or on Twitter (@BTNBrentYarina).

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Big Ten Geeks: Boiling Over

Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois exorcised some demons in a 20 point blowout of Purdue. The Fighting Illini seniors had never beaten the Boilermakers, but they changed that in emphatic fashion by attacking the offensive glass and limiting turnovers. In all, Illinois attempted 13 more field goals than Purdue, and those extra looks enabled John Groce’s team to score 1.20 points per trip despite 29 percent shooting on jumpers. It was Illinois’ best output since the win at Gonzaga, and it appears that the Illini of the season’s first month have returned.

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Braxton Miller scoops up Silver Football

November 24, 2012; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Braxton Miller (5) talks on a headset in the game against the Michigan Wolverines at Ohio Stadium. Ohio State won the game 26-21. Mandatory Credit: Greg Bartram-US PRESSWIRE

Braxton Miller Awarded 2012 Chicago Tribune Silver Football Award

Greg Bartram-US PRESSWIRE

During the halftime of Thursday’s game between Northwestern and Ohio State, Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller was presented with The Chicago Tribune’s Silver Football as the Big Ten’s top player of the 2012 season as voted by the 12 coaches. Braxton was named on 11 of 12 possible ballots (coaches cannot vote for their own players), receiving 5 first- and 5 second-place votes. Wisconsin’s Montee Ball came in second; Nebraska’s Taylor Martinez took third.

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No. 13 Buckeyes hold on to beat Wildcats

Northwestern at Ohio State

Northwestern at Ohio State - Men's Basketball Highlights

Northwestern at Ohio Statereg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Deshaun Thomas scored 22 points and No. 13 Ohio State used a late 12-0 run to beat Northwestern 69-59 on Thursday night, the Buckeyes’ 32nd consecutive home win against the Wildcats. Lenzelle Smith Jr. added 12 points – all in the first half – with Sam Thompson adding 11 and Amir Williams a career-high 10 for the Buckeyes (18-6, 8-4 Big Ten).

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