The 2012 Big Ten softball season is set to begin this week with 10 teams taking to the diamond on the opening weekend of play. Nebraska opens the season on Thursday, while Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern, Ohio State and Penn State begin on Friday, and Minnesota opens its season on Saturday. Wisconsin begins the new year on Feb. 17, and Purdue opens its season on Feb. 18.
This is a nice week of action with five matchups that will go a long way toward determining the Big Ten title chase—and possible NCAA bids. The steak vs. lobster match between the first-place Buckeyes and second-place Spartans is a five-star affair. Don’t miss it.
It’s time to release my latest Big Ten men’s hoops power rankings. The rankings are not meant to mimic the Big Ten standings. What fun would that be? They aren’t scientific, either. They’re simply my thoughts on where each Big Ten team stands right now and who would win on a neutral court. Agree? Disagree? Tweet @BTNBrentYarina or leave your comments below. Also, did you see my top 10 plays from the past week?
(AP) Samantha Prahalis scored a career-high 34 points and No. 10 Ohio State made the most of an eight-day layoff to beat Wisconsin 72-58 on Monday night, the Buckeyes’ 20th consecutive victory over the Badgers. Tayler Hill, the Big Ten’s leading scorer, added 18 points for the Buckeyes (21-2, 8-2), who had lots of time to mull a disappointing 76-65 loss at Minnesota on Jan. 29. Ohio State broke the game open with a 16-3 second-half run.
With the Super Bowl behind us, college basketball now becomes the center of the sports universe. And the Big Ten will get a lot of that attention this week with a collection of nice games headlined by Michigan State’s titanic visit to Ohio State on Saturday in a showdown between the top two teams in the Big Ten. In this week’s Big Ten Whiteboard, I draw up my game of the week, a sleeper matchup, the head-to-head battle between players you need to see, plus a few more items.
The Big Ten men’s basketball coaches held their weekly Big Ten teleconference Monday with reporters from around the league, and we’ve posted the audio from each phone interview in the post below. BTN.com will post these media sessions each Monday right up to the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament, and all of our audio can be found in our BTN.com audio archive.
Fourteen former Big Ten players will be fitted for rings after the New York Giants beat the New England Patriots, 21-17, Sunday night in Super Bowl XLVI (AP recap). Ex-Michigan WR Mario Manningham highlighted the group with five receptions for 73 yards, including a ridiculous 38-yard grab (watch the catch!) that helped set up New York’s game-winning score in the final minute. See how all Big Ten products did in the Super Bowl in this post.