Oh, yes: It’s National Signing Day! It’s a de facto national holiday for many in America. You know who you are. But, hey, who am I to judge? I still eat Fruity Peebles. This day is all about that guy in your office who hits the “refresh” button every nanosecond on his computer to get the latest round of official commitments. Please, don’t rat him out to the boss. Here is a handy-dandy place to keep up with the Big Ten signings.
From the good news, bad news department: Several Big Ten schools are projected to make the NIT, college hoops’ version of the Belk Bowl, Little Caesar’s Bowl, Beef O’Brady’s Bowl, Pinstripe Bowl … well you get the idea … all rolled into one gloriously meaningless event.
The upside down world that has become Big Ten basketball continued over the weekend. The latest installment of craziness was unranked Indiana’s home win over No. 10 Michigan, the last Big Ten squad unbeaten in league play. Who saw this coming? This was a Hoosiers club that had lost three of four—including a home loss to Northwestern and a loss at Nebraska–coming into the meeting yesterday. Don’t try to understand it. Just enjoy it.
Is Nebraska becoming a basketball school? I kid. But, you have to be impressed with the work of Tim Miles, the upbeat Howdy Doody of Big Ten coaches. The guy emotes enough positivity to light up Scottsbluff, Neb. Last night’s win over Indiana made the Cornhuskers 10-1 at home and was the team’s third victory in four games. Hey, I’m a believer. Give me two of whatever Miles is drinking … pronto.
What a crazy, loony night in the Big Ten. First, last-place Penn State waltzed into No. 24 Ohio State and won. If that wasn’t zany enough, Northwestern cruised into No. 17 Wisconsin and shocked the world with a triumph. The more I learn about this Big Ten race, the less I seemingly know. Confused? You betcha.
A huge win for Michigan State last night at Iowa City. I didn’t think the Spartans could prevail without Adreian Payne and Branden Dawson in that hostile environment vs. that talented Hawkeyes squad.
If you are a Big Ten hoops fan, then you wanna be in Iowa City tonight. That’s where Michigan State will play Iowa in what’s the best matchup of the week. Each squad is chasing Big Ten front-runner Michigan, which beat the Hawkeyes and Spartans last week. No doubt, playing at Iowa will be a big challenge for Michigan State.
No doubt, it’s good to be Michigan. The Wolverines are coming off a monster week in which they took control of the Big Ten with huge victories vs. Iowa and at Michigan State.
If it’s not one thing, it’s another for Michigan State. Or, so it seems. News broke late Thursday afternoon that Branden Dawson had broken his right hand and will be out four to five weeks. How did it happen? Dawson slammed his hand on a table in frustration while watching film. He explains in this video. Looks Kenny Kaminski will need to step up as a defender on Glenn Robinson III. Meanwhile, reaction in social media circles has been critical. And that has MSU coach Tom Izzo fuming.
If you aren’t on it already, you may want to jump on the Michigan bandwagon before it hits 88 mph and vanishes. The Wolverines are legit, notching another big win last night. This time, hard-charging and high-flying Iowa was the victim, as the Wolverines moved to 6-0 in the Big Ten. And, they are doing all of this without injured Mitch McGary, out with a back injury. Oh, and Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway, Jr., also are gone. It’s incredible, really.
Big game tonight, Hoop Heads: Iowa at Michigan. And the Hawkeyes’ Roy Devyn Marble has some extra motivation. “I’m trying to knock a couple of teams off the bucket list,” said Marble, a senior and Michigan native who has never won at Michigan or Michigan State during his Iowa career. “I got both of them at home. I want to get them (on the road). It’s an important game because it’s the next one. Each game is important when you’re in the race to win a Big Ten championship.”
If Buckeyes fans aren’t feeling good today, we understand. That’s four losses in a row for Ohio State, which fell at Nebraska last night to a Cornhuskers’ squad that was 0-4 in the Big Ten. This is OSU’s longest losing skid since 2007-08.
There is so much to like about Iowa hoops. Where to start after witnessing its win over Minnesota? Let’s count the ways with this look at its remarkable depth. If Devyn Marble and Aaron White aren’t doing damage, guys like Josh Oglesby, Zach McCabe and Gabe Olaseni are. It’s quite impressive, really. Minnesota actually led Iowa on Sunday at halftime, 43-41. It lost, 94-73. Stunning.
The Ohio State tailspin continues, as the loss at Minnesota last night makes it three in a row for the Buckeyes. Weren’t they just ranked, like, No. 3 in the nation the other day? No one denies that this Ohio State team plays good defense. But the offense is struggling. More shooters are needed, among other things. And the turnovers need to be reduced. I’m looking at you, Aaron Craft and Shannon Scott.
Big win last night for Indiana over unbeaten Wisconsin. BIG win. This was the signature victory that had been lacking from the Hoosiers’ resume. It’s also a victory that may spark Indiana in what thus far has been a lackluster season. How big was the win for IU fans? They rushed the court. Seemed a bit excessive, but, what the heck.
Well, if you had any doubt if Iowa was legit, yesterday’s win at No. 3 Ohio State should quell that notion. This was the signature victory for the Hawkeyes under Fran McCaffery, who was coming off a one-game suspension for his double-technical/ejection last Sunday at Wisconsin. What a way to announce your return.
What a barnburner last night at the Breslin Center, as Michigan State had to work overtime to beat Ohio State after blowing a 17-point second-half lead. Give Adreian Payne major props. He didn’t start as he dealt with a foot injury but fought through the pain and discomfort to notch 18 points and six rebounds in 32 minutes. Heroic. And how about that big 3-pointer he hit in the dying moments? So clutch.
Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports
Time for today’s top Big Ten stories. Let’s start in cold and snowy Wisconsin, where the end to the Badgers’ football season has sent a chill down the spins of many fans. Wisconsin ended the season with consecutive losses to Penn State and South Carolina, as a season with BCS promise melted into a disappointing finish. Does a 9-4 record and bowl loss equal a successful season for Wisconsin?
Great win for Michigan State in the Rose Bowl, as the Spartans punctuated a 13-1 season with a dominating 24-20 triumph over Stanford in the 100th “Granddaddy of them All.” What’s next for the Spartans? A national championship run, of course. Hey, it could happen.