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Big Ten Geeks: Regarding Rutgers

Yesterday, it was Maryland. Today, it’s Rutgers. With today’s news, the Big Ten is primed to become a 14-team conference starting in 2014-15. While Big Ten basketball fans have at least some familiarity with Maryland’s hoops tradition, not much is known about these Scarlet Knights. Let’s take a look at what Rutgers brings to the conference from a hoops perspective. Clearly, not all (any?) conference expansions are driven by basketball. On the football side of things, the Scarlet Knights have been solid for some time and are currently 18th in the BCS standings. It’s not hard to see why the

Big Ten Geeks: Regarding Maryland

With the news that Maryland will be joining the Big Ten in 2014, there are all sorts of implications to evaluate. Maintaining our narrow perspective of Big Ten basketball, let’s take a look at what the addition might mean strictly on the hardcourt. Maryland has a proud basketball tradition, with the pinnacle coming in the form of the 2002 national championship squad led by Juan Dixon. Otherwise, Maryland has made only one other Final Four (2001) and hasn’t reached the Sweet Sixteen since 2003. Even making the Big Dance has become a bit of a struggle for the Terrapins, who have

Big Ten Geeks: Prove It

Early season tournaments tantalize with their meaningful matchups (played in front of a lot of empty seats), and they offer a glimpse into what we should expect over the year. A thirty-point beatdown over Texas Pan Am doesn’t tell you as much about a team as a loss to Villanova. But still, we should take these with a grain of salt. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, some teams that really struggle with challenging early season games end up making lots of deep runs in March. I try to view these games through a “canary in the coal mine” lens. While one

Ball, Miller finalists for college football awards

It’s almost December, and that means awards season is almost here. That being the case, the finalists for college football’s most prestigious awards, other than the Heisman Trophy, were announced Monday. Ohio State’s Braxton Miller and Wisconsin’s Montee Ball were named finalists for Davey O’Brien Award and Doak Walker Award, respectively. Davey O’Brien Award (Top quarterback) Collin Klein, Kansas State Johhny Manziel, Texas A&M Braxton Miller, Ohio State Doak Walker Award (Top running back) Montee Ball, Wisconsin Kenjon Barner, Oregon Johnathan Franklin, UCLA Both awards will be announced Dec. 6. Also, Nebraska’s Rex Burkhead and Northwestern’s Patrick Ward were named

Big Ten Geeks: One Week In

After a week of games, primarily of the cupcake blowout variety, the Big Ten is a cumulative 23-5. Can we learn anything from what we’ve seen so far? Here’s a few thoughts heading into the weekend. Purdue is 1-2 with a close loss to Bucknell, a blowout of Hofstra, and a controversial loss to Villanova. We aren’t high on these Boilermakers and don’t expect them to make the NCAA tournament, but in fairness, Purdue is just a few plays from being 3-0 instead. The Bucknell game was close the whole way, with D.J. Byrd missing a wide open three that

No. 10 Florida knocks off No. 20 Wisconsin, 74-56

Erik Murphy tied a career-high with 24 points just days after dealing with an illness, and No. 10 Florida beat 22nd-ranked Wisconsin 74-56 on Wednesday night. Murphy made all 10 of his shots, including two 3-pointers, as the short-handed Gators enjoyed a double-digit lead most of the night. He also had seven rebounds. Mike Rosario added 15 points, four rebounds and four assists for Florida (2-0), and Kenny Boynton chipped in 10. Sam Dekker and Jared Berggren had 11 points apiece for Wisconsin (1-1). The Gators, playing without point guard Scottie Wilbekin (suspension) and forward Casey Prather (concussion), essentially won

Berggren, Brust lead Badgers past SE Louisiana

Junior Ben Brust had 14 points and 11 rebounds, and No. 23 Wisconsin scored the first 19 points in an 87-47 rout of Southeastern Louisiana in a season opener Sunday. Jared Berggren led the Badgers with 19 points and fellow senior Mike Bruesewitz added 10 in a 13-minute appearance. Bruesewitz cut his lower right leg during practice Oct. 9 and returned Friday. Redshirt freshman George Marshall, starting at point guard for Wisconsin with junior Josh Gasser out for the season because of a torn knee, hit a 3-pointer 13 seconds into the game to set the tone. [AP RECAP |

Wisconsin starts slow, recovers to drill UW-Oshkosh

UW-Oshkosh scored the game’s first seven points, but Wisconsin quickly recovered to cruise to a 96-44 exhibition victory Wednesday night at the Kohl Center. Jared Berggren scored 16 points, on 7-of-10 shooting, to pace a quintet of Badgers in double figures. Ryan Evans tallied a double-double, with 11 points and 10 rebounds, and freshman point guard George Marshall chipped in 11 points and committed only one turnover. Jared Berggren throws down reverse alley-oop Berggren And-1

Can Wisconsin survive without Jordan Taylor?

For today’s point/counterpoint, we’re debating how Wisconsin can move on without Jordan Taylor. Point: Yes, and thrive. It goes without saying that Jordan Taylor was not only one of the best players in the country over the past couple of seasons, but he might well be the best Badger of all time. To put it mildly, those are big shoes to fill. But the smart money is on Wisconsin not missing a beat. From a raw numbers perspective, this is an easy argument to make. Consider: Wisconsin was good last year; The Badgers return 76 58 percent (poor Gasser) of last

In the spotlight: B1G players who need to produce

The exhibition season already has tipped off for Big Ten men’s hoops teams. Before the games start to count, though, BTN.com’s Brent Yarina wanted to offer his Big Ten players in the spotlight. Whether the players have big shoes to fill, they’re considered the missing piece or they’re coming off down years, Yarina offers one guy for every Big Ten team. See the list in this post. ILLINOIS Nnanna Egwu, C, So. Why he’s in spotlight: Last season’s breakout big man Meyers Leonard was a first-round NBA pick, meaning Illinois needs a big body, someone to fill the role down