Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
As we sit on the cusp of postseason play for nine Big Ten teams, it feels an appropriate time to revisit where we were just four short months ago, previewing a season that was about to unfold before us. Did we nail it, or do we need to turn in our Geek cards?
The Big Ten is loaded with talented basketball players, so it’s only natural that some guys to go unnoticed or receive less respect than they deserve. That’s why I compiled my 2012-13 All-Big Ten Underrated Team. Who made the list? Find out in this post. Did I forget anyone? If so, leave it in the comment box at the bottom of the post.
Bill O’Brien receives much of the credit for Penn State’s surprising 2012 football season, and rightfully so. But Penn State strength and condition coach Craig Fitzgerald played a role, as well. In his first year with the program, Fitzgerald, who previously worked at South Carolina, helped modernize Penn State’s weight room and workout regimen. Watch Howard Griffith’s interview with Fitzgerald now.
If it’s highlights you’re looking for, the Big Ten tourney was the place to be. From Brandon Paul’s buzzer-beater in Thursday’s opening round to Keith Appling’s drive and posterizing dunk on Friday, there was no shortage of highlight-reel plays. Watch some of our favorite Big Ten tourney plays from the first three days in this post.
The tournament opener between Illinois and Minnesota didn’t offer much in the way of aesthetically pleasing play, but a buzzer beater has a way of upping the entertainment value. The Gophers turned it over on a season-worst 35 percent of their possessions, allowing the Illini to stay in the game dispute big Minnesota advantages in every other category.
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
The votes are in, and BTN.com’s 2012-13 Dunk of the Year bracket has reached the semifinals. The bracket opened with one dunk from every Big Ten team, which fans decided via polls, and it was seeded in accordance with the Big Ten tourney. Now, it’s time figure out who’s headed to the Big Ten finals. Vote for each semifinal matchup in this post.
Penn State stunned Michigan in State College (84-78) and gave them a tight game (79-71) in Ann Arbor. But there would be no nail-biting for Michigan in this meeting. The Wolverines trailed by as many as 11 points in the first half and led by just two points at halftime. But Michigan broke open the game in the second half, shooting 33 percent from three-point range (6-of-18) for the game and hitting 19 free throws to Penn State’s five over 40 minutes.