Twitter is to go to get instant reaction from big events, so it’s always fun to take a spin around the Twitterverse during March Madness to see what some notable names are tweeting. For instance, Drew Brees still keeps an eye on his Boilermakers. Check out a handful of selected tweets below, and find a big list of Big Ten athletes on the Twitter page for BTN.com Brent Yarina. He’s @BTNBrentYarina and the full list is right here. All of BTN’s Twitter accounts are listed on our BTN social media page.
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Rodney Williams scored 21 points to lead Minnesota to a 78-60 victory over Miami in a second round NIT game Monday night. The Gophers never trailed after starting the game on a 12-0 run. Williams scored 16 in the first half. Minnesota (21-14) advances to the quarterfinals at Middle Tennessee on Wednesday night. The Blue Raiders efeated Tennessee earlier Monday. Read the full AP recap, see the box score and get Tom Dienhart’s analysis in this post.
Tonight on The Big Ten Pulse, Rick Pizzo, Tim Doyle and Mateen Cleaves set the table for the Sweet 16, which includes four Big Ten teams (see the NCAA bracket). The crew also discussed another memorable Draymond Green performance and the highly anticipated rematch between Indiana and Kentucky. Speaking of the Hoosiers, Will Sheehey, who hit the game-winning shot vs VCU, joined the guys to talk about the team’s first Sweet 16 appearance since 2002. Watch the full interview now.
Former Wisconsin basketball player Brian Butch was one of two guys named NBA Development League Co-Performers of the Week for games played March 12-18. The former BTN contributor — yes, he can blog, too — averaged 19 points, 12.5 rebounds and 5.5 assists in leading the Bakersfield Jam to two wins. As you might guess from the stats, Butch posted a pair of double-doubles. On the season, in eight games, he is averaging 18.4 points and 12 rebounds.
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For the first time since 1999 and the third time since the field expanded in 1985, the Big Ten has four teams in the Sweet 16. Indiana, Michigan State, Ohio State and Wisconsin all made it through the first weekend of the tournament, meaning each is two wins away from the Final Four, four from claiming the national title. The competition only gets stiffer the rest of the way, of course, so it’s important to consider what these teams did against elite foes. See how the Big Ten’s remaining teams fared this season vs. the Sweet 16 field in this post.
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All season, the computer rankings said that the Big Ten was the nation’s strongest conference. The league lived up to that hype through the first week of the NCAA tourney. Four of the six schools that received bids are still playing, with No. 1 Michigan State, No. 2 Ohio State, No. 4 Indiana and No. 4 Wisconsin advancing the second weekend of the tourney. No. 4 Michigan fell in the second round to No. 13 Ohio, while No. 10 Purdue lost in the third round to No. 2 Kansas.
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Greg Bartram-US PRESSWIRE
As of this writing, there is a 45.9 percent chance your NCAA Champion will be from the Big Ten. It was a good weekend for the conference, as four teams advanced to the Sweet Sixteen. But before we get to that good stuff, let’s deal with the unpleasantness.
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