Big news today as Notre Dame announced it would join the ACC in all sports but—surprise!—football. So, Big Ten fans, trash any hopes you were clinging to about Notre Dame joining your conference. The Big Ten twice has made offers in the past, only to be rebuffed. It wasn’t going to ask a third time. Now this move by Notre Dame all but seals the notion that a Big Ten-Notre Dame marriage won’t happen in a long, long time . If ever.
On tonight’s “Football Report” at 7 p.m. ET with Mike Hall, Tony Banks, Rosevelt Colvin, and BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart, the crew will be joined by Purdue’s Danny Hope and Nebraska’s Bo Pelini. Also, our BTN experts are taking your questions on Twitter. Just tweet us using #AskBTN all day today.
It turns out Ohio State and Penn State do have something to play for this season, despite being on NCAA probation and ineligible to win the Big Ten or go to a bowl game. The Big Ten has said if either team finishes first in the Leaders Division, it will be awarded with the division trophy and be deemed “Leaders champion.”
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist scored 24 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lift Kentucky to a 102-90 win over Indiana on Friday at Georgia Dome in Atlanta in the Sweet Sixteen. Christian Watford had 27 points to lead the Hoosiers (27-9), whose comeback season ended two wins shy of the Final Four. Indiana, which won a total of 28 games the previous three seasons, has regained its usual place among the college basketball bluebloods. Full boxscore is here.
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.
In Wednesday’s web links, we look at what some of the Big Ten beat writers are saying about their school’s chances in the NCAA tournament, which tips Thursday for three Big Ten teams. Also, find links and my thoughts on a trio of Big Ten big men who are filling equally big roles for Indiana and Michigan State. There’s some football talk in here, too, as coaches discuss position changes. Find it all in this post.
What are my colleagues around the Big Ten saying this morning? The Spartans are a sure thing in an unpredictable tourney while the Buckeyes challenge is to move on. The Wolverines look to stick around a while in the NCAA while the Badgers’ bracket is dangerous even with Kentucky nowhere near. And the NCAA committee did Purdue a favor. What was it? Find out in my daily web links post.
The 2012 Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament tips off at 11:30 a.m. ET Thursday with No. 8 seed Iowa taking on No. 9 seed Illinois at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis (full bracket here). Before the action gets underway, I’m breaking down the first four games with an overview, key matchup and, of course, my prediction. Who do you like in the first four games? Vote inside.
In another edition of my daily links, I suggest five top stories worth a read plus a handful of others, too. But before I get to my usual breakdown, Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News and a frequent guest on BTN TV rolled out his publication’s All-American team and there are two familiar names on the first team and another one on the All-Freshman team. Read his piece here and see the list of teams here.
BTN will announce the 2011-12 All-Big Ten Men’s Basketball Teams live at 7 p.m. ET Monday. Until then, BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart and BTN.com editor and blogger Brent Yarina offer up their All-Big Ten teams and superlative winners. Check out their teams and honorees in this post. Don’t agree? Leave your thoughts in the comment box at the bottom of the post.
It was just last week when many felt Northwestern played perhaps the biggest game in school annals. And it lost, 67-55, in overtime at home to Michigan. But the Wildcats rebounded to score a huge win at Penn State over the weekend. Now, comes yet another “biggest game in school history” for the Wildcats tonight when Ohio State visits. In the first of today’s five big links worth a look, Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune says Northwestern needs another big game from John Shurna if it wants to beat Ohio State.
Entering the final week of the season, Draymond Green’s reign as the Big Ten’s top player isn’t threatened as he’s on course to take home the league’s Player of the Year honors (announced next Monday). Why not? Green is the lone player who averages a double-double. And his leadership is off the charts, as Green already has led the Spartans to a share of the Big Ten title.
A busy weekend in the Big Ten saw Michigan State clinch a share of Tom Izzo’s seventh Big Ten title without even playing on Sunday. Thanks, Badgers! Here’s some other news you need to know on this Monday, including Steve Greenberg of the Sporting News and his 12 burning questions as spring drills approach. More Monday links below in this post.
Michigan State got a scare last night, but it found a way to pull out victory at Minnesota to remain atop the Big Ten standings. But what else is going on in Big Ten and other related circles?
With his play in recent weeks, Michigan State’s Draymond Green has solidified his hold on the top spot in my weekly player rankings. The senior is a do-it-all talent who’s driven to leave campus standing side-by-side with players like Mateen Cleaves and Magic Johnson as an all-time great en route to leading the Spartans to a Big Ten title and spot in the Final Four. I am not gonna bet against him.
What a weekend, especially for Michigan, which remains in the hunt for a Big Ten title with that impressive win over Ohio State. Read all about the surging Wolverines’ quest for their first Big Ten regular-season title since 1985-86 and other Big Ten happenings with these links in this post.
What better way to end your work week than by getting caught up on all the Big Ten news right here? Selection Sunday is March 11. Until then, here’s a projection of the NCAA field from one of the smartest men in the business, Mike Huguenin of Yahoo! Sports.
Big game tonight, with Wisconsin invading Michigan State in a Big Ten battle of ranked teams. But that’s not the only news. Check out the latest scuttlebutt in Big Ten territory, including this story: Already making fall plans? Thank Matt Murschek of the Orlando Sentinel for looking ahead to five killer Big Ten games in 2012. Find more links lower in this post.
Indiana big man Cody Zeller has been named a finalist for the 2012 Wayman Tisdale Award, presented annually to the men’s National Freshman of the Year. Zeller is averaging 15.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 1.4 blocks per game, all while shooting a Big Ten-leading 64.8 percent. One of only a couple new faces for the Hoosiers this season, Zeller is the biggest reason for Indiana’s turnaround, which has seen the team go from 12-20 a year ago to 19-6.