Tuesday’s Michigan State-Illinois game was far from a thing of beauty. In the final minutes of the first half, in fact, ESPN play-by-play guy Mike Tirico begged, “This half NEEDS to end!” As inept as the offenses were in the 42-41 decision at Assembly Hall, there were a couple highlights: Meyers Leonard’s alley-oop and Brandon Paul’s poke.
Illinois upset No. 10 Michigan State, 42-41, (recap) and No. 20 Wisconsin topped Penn State, 52-46, for its sixth consecutive win (recap) Tuesday night. Perhaps worse than the loss for the Spartans, Draymond Green left the game with a left knee injury (AP story), and he’ll undergo tests Wednesday. Catch up on all the action with our Big Ten scoreboard and get stats, video and recaps in this post.
LeBron James’ ridiculous dunk against Chicago on Sunday and Blake Griffin’s silly slam against Oklahoma City on Monday got us thinking about the best dunks of the 2011-12 Big Ten season. Rodney Williams, Victor Oladipo and Sam Thompson’s highlights immediately come to mind, but there have been so many other memorable dunks. See my top 10 slams in this post. Did I forget a dunk? If so, click “other” on the poll or enter your selection in the comment box at the bottom of this post. Also, check out a collection of our dunk-centric highlights with our Did You See This? archive.
The race for top honors continues to be a battle between Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger and Michigan State’s Draymond Green. But the Big Ten also is marked by good point guard play, with players like Wisconsin’s Jordan Taylor, Michigan State’s Keith Appling, Michigan’s Trey Burke, Ohio State’s Aaron Craft, Purdue’s Lewis Jackson and Penn State’s Tim Frazier, among others, excelling.
With a big basketball game around every corner and football recruiting’s big day on Wednesday, there’s a lot going on in the Big Ten as January prepares to melt into February. I surf the Internet to stay on top of Big Ten news, then give you the links I like best.
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. This week’s rankings feature a new wrinkle, as I offer up my Big Ten MVP for all 12 teams now that we’ve reached the midpoint of the conference season. The stats that go along with each MVP includes conference games only.
The Big Ten season is halfway over—and the best is yet to come in a conference race that remains in flux. More clarity may come this week, which shapes up as one of the best yet of the season. In particular, this is a big week for Michigan State and Indiana. And matchup-wise, I can’t wait for the battle between the Big Ten’s top freshmen: Michigan’s Trey Burke and Indiana’s Cody Zeller. See my game rankings for this week’s action in this post.