With nine Big Ten men’s basketball games on Saturday and eight teams in the RPI’s Top 50, our Rick Pizzo, Derek Rackley and Tim Doyle take you into this pre-holiday weekend on The Big Ten Pulse at 7 p.m. ET tonight with an in-depth conversation on the overall depth of the Big Ten as each team builds out their tournament resumes. For example, Northwestern is 8-1 after racking up another win Thursday night. Also, tonight, Michigan State’s Draymond Green will join Pizzo, Rackley and Doyle to tell us how the Spartans’ tough games early on have helped the team come together.
Northwestern showed no ill effects from its 10-day layoff in a 30-point shellacking of Texas Southern. The impressive results, as usual for the Wildcats, were at the offensive end, where they posted the second-highest efficiency allowed by the Tigers all season. Texas Southern has faced a couple teams relevant to the Wildcats, so the efficiencies posted by each team against the Tigers may be enlightening:
BTN lead basketball analyst Jim Jackson needs no introduction. The former Ohio State star and two-time Big Ten Player of the Year has his number retired in the Value City Arena rafters, after all. He also had a long and successful NBA career. Oh, and he has a son, Traevon, who is a freshman basketball player at Wisconsin. Prior to Wisconsin’s game Wednesday night against Savannah State, Jim went one-on-one with his son at the Kohl Center. Watch the feature now.
BTN analyst Jim Jackson talked one-on-one with his son Traevon who is a freshman on the Wisconsin basketball team as the elder Jackson was in Madison calling Thursday night’s game. No. 15 Wisconsin used stingy defense to defeat Savannah State 66-33 while in the other game Northwestern topped Texas Southern 81-51, thanks in part to hitting 13-of-30 threes for a 43 percent night. Jump inside for recaps, stats and video highlights.
Ohio State point guard Aaron Craft has plenty of brains to go along with his skills on the hardwood. As it’s been reported recently, the sophomore sensation received the first “B” of his academic career last year. And it was a B-plus in chemistry, so it’s not like he should feel bad. On Tuesday, Craft was caught doing a Rubik’s Cube with one hand while conducting a phone interview with CBSSports.com’s Jeff Goodman. So, naturally, BTN asked Craft to give the Rubik’s Cube a try in front of one of our cameras Wednesday. He succeeded. In just more than a minute, too. Watch the video now.
Any way you define it, Ohio State’s Sam Thompson is an athlete. In fact, Ohio State head coach Thad Matta has been quoted as saying the freshman is the most athletic player he’s ever coached. Thompson hasn’t had many opportunities to showcase his talents in the Buckeyes’ first nine games, but he more than made up for it Wednesday night. In an easy win over South Carolina-Upstate, Thompson started things off by coming from behind and swatting a would-be breakaway layup. After that, he put on a dunk contest, prompting Jim Jackson to say: “He’s a highlight package waiting to happen.” Watch the block now and see his dunking ability inside.
Jared Sullinger returned from back spasms Wednesday night, but it was freshman Sam Thompson and other role players who propelled No. 2 Ohio State to a comfortable victory over South Carolina-Upstate (recap) at Value City Arena. Find halftime and final recap stories from the victory in this post. Oh, and watch the highlights from Ohio State’s win now.