Aaron Craft already was a big deal prior to Sunday’s NCAA tourney performance against Iowa State. Add the late momentum-shifting charge and game-winning buzzer-beater to his record, and we’re dealing with a guy approaching icon status. Heck, Thad Matta wants a statue of Craft erected outside the arena. And local children must agree, because they’re building snowmen of Craft.
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It’s Monday, and that means it’s time to take a look at BTN.com’s top 10 most-read stories from the past week. See the full list in this post.
For this year’s NCAA tourney preview edition, Sports Illustrated is producing four regional covers. One of the covers features a Big Ten star. It’s Indiana junior Victor Oladipo. See the cover in this post.
There was a special a moment following No. 4 seed Wisconsin’s victory over No. 1 Indiana in the Big Ten tourney semifinals Saturday afternoon, and it involved a father and a son. Here’s a hint: The father is a BTN analyst. Yeah, Jim Jackson and his son, Wisconsin guard Traevon Jackson, shared a genuine moment before the son joined the BTN crew on set to talk about the win.
Michigan State’s Keith Appling must be sick of hearing about how great teammates Branden Dawson and Adreian Payne are at dunking, because the point guard threw down his second ridiculous jam in as many games Friday night. Last week, it was this powerful beauty. Appling’s latest dunk may have been even better, as he drove the lane, again, and, this time, posertized Iowa’s Melsahn Basbabe. Watch the dunk here and see Twitter reaction to it in this post.
Victor Oladipo was having a pedestrian day, all things considered, before he loudly announced his presence with a fastbreak 360 slam in the waning moments of Indiana’s win over Illinois in the Big Ten tourney quarterfinals Friday afternoon. Despite finishing the game with a double-double (12 points, 11 rebounds), the junior star struggled early and wasn’t much of a factor until the second half. And then, came the dunk. Watch it here and see some of the Twitter reaction to it in this post.
You didn’t think Sam Thompson would return home to Chicago and not put on a show in the Big Ten tourney at the United Center, did you? That’s just silly. The Ohio State sophomore gave fans what they expected with a quartet of dunks, a soaring alley-oop being the best of all. Thompson got so high on the alley-oop, he almost goal-tended the pass that looked more like a shot. Watch the alley-oop now and find Thompson’s other dunks in this post.
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Eric May is no stranger to highlight-reel dunks. May has this dunk currently in our Big Ten Dunk of the Year tournament, plus several other impressive ones throughout his career. In Thursday’s Big Ten tourney game against Northwestern, May took flight again – for what was arguably his best dunk. This time, he went coast-to-coast and took off from the “B1G” logo in the key for a powerful one-hander. Watch the ridiculous slam here and see Twitter reaction in this post.
Minnesota’s Trevor Mbakwe threw down an incredible dunk in the second half of the opening game of the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament against Illinois then Illinois’ Brandon Paul responded with a nice move at the other end of the court. Watch it here, and follow all of our Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament action now.
There’s no bigger body in the Big Ten than Nebraska’s Andre Almeida. The senior checks in at 314 pounds – a very generous number – and he’s also 6-foot-11. So, yeah, he’s huge. Like to the point that no player wants stand in his way and take a charge or draw a charge on him. Nebraska reserve Jordan Tyrance had to do both in practice recently, and the video of it (sound effects, too) is classic.
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That was an incredible basketball season. Now, with the regular season complete, we’re asking our fans to vote for their favorite 2012-13 Big Ten game. Here’s how this works: We’ve compiled a list of 10 candidates and put them in a Facebook poll. We’ll air the top 5 vote-getters all day Wednesday, the day before the Big Ten tourney tips, capped with the No. 1 game at 9 p.m. ET. So, who’s it going to be?
Late in Sunday’s game, it looked like Indiana was going to fall for the third time in four games. But then, Cody Zeller took over. The sophomore big man scored the game’s final six points, in the last 41 seconds, including the go-ahead bucket on a layup with 14 ticks remaining. The Wolverines had a couple shots at the the would-be game-winning bucket, but they couldn’t get the ball to go down. Watch the exciting finish here.
Sparty is no stranger to bringing smiles to the faces of people around the Michigan State community. During a timeout in Sunday’s game vs. Northwestern, the Michigan State mascot had people cracking up at his failed dance moves. Let’s just say Sparty’s big feet got in his way. Watch Sparty tumble to the court after joining the dance team on the floor.
When Wisconsin needs a big shot, more times than not, it dials Traevon Jackson‘s number. One of the Big Ten’s most improved players, the sophomore guard loves the ball in his hands during crunch time. And he’s had great results in such situations. Just ask Minnesota. Or Iowa. On Sunday, Jackson added to his collection of clutch shots, nailing a deep 3 at the buzzer to lift Wisconsin past Penn State, 63-60. Watch the shot now.
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That’s how you close out an arena. While it wasn’t the prettiest game one’s seen, Nebraska edged Minnesota 53-51 on Wednesday night in the final game at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.
Legendary Purdue coach Gene Keady, currently an assistant at St. John’s, attended Wednesday night’s Michigan-Purdue game at Mackey Arena. And he had a couple distinguished visitors track him down during the first half. Former Purdue stars Glenn Robinson and Brian Cardinal found Keady’s seats and visited the coach for a few moments. Watch the encounter here.
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Jordan Hulls grew up a few miles from Indiana and his grandfather was an assistant on Bobby Knight’s staff, so it was only fitting that he would wear the candy stripe pants one day. Four seasons of sweet shooting later, the hometown kid couldn’t help but get emotional following his final game at Assembly Hall. Watch Hulls let the emotions flow throughout his memorable Senior Night speech Tuesday here.
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It’s Monday, and that means it’s time to take a look at BTN.com’s top 10 most-read stories and most-watched videos from the past week. See both lists in this post.
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There’s no denying it, Cody Zeller struggled in No. 1 Indiana’s loss Tuesday at Minnesota. The sophomore also got off to a rough start in Saturday’s win over Iowa, but he opened the game aggressive and was rewarded for his hustle on an incredible first-half sequence. It all started on defense, where Zeller dived from behind to knock the ball loose, and then got up to his feet and hammered down a powerful dunk. Watch the sequence here.
So many of us have seen basketball players go to their knees and kiss the center court logo as they exit for the final time on Senior Day. But what about hockey players kissing the logo at center ice? It’s a Michigan State tradition, and thanks to @MSU_Hockey, there’s an outstanding photo of this year’s senior class continuing the tradition Saturday night.
Four days after showing the basketball world how high he can get up, Rodney Williams decided to show everyone how long he can hang in the air. Spoiler alert: It’s a LONG time. At the end of the first half of the Penn State-Minnesota game on Saturday, Williams defied gravity, once again, with his latest highlight-reel alley-oop. Watch the dunk here.
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Your move, Big Ten coaches. In a sports world obsessed with the Harlem Shake, Bo Pelini and Nebraska took the dance video to a new level during their first spring practice. Watch the Nebraska football team’s version of the internet phenomenon in this post.
The last two nights in the Big Ten have provided college basketball fans with two exciting upsets and a pair of the more impressive blocked shots of the season. On Tuesday night, it was Rodney Williams jumping out of the gym to block a final-minute Victor Oladipo 3-pointer. And tonight, it was Eric May coming from behind to swat Terone Johnson in the final minute. Which block was better? Watch both in this post and vote below.
When Big Ten basketball fans think Iowa coach Fran McCaffery, they probably see his red face, his intensity, basically the guy in this video. That wasn’t the case Wednesday night. Iowa gave away Fran McCaffery bobbleheads for the Purdue game, and the coach was as carefree and happy as ever.
The Nittany Lions could only hear about how they were playing hard every game for so long. Those “moral victories” that came in close losing efforts meant nothing if they didn’t get a win. On Wednesday night, Penn State, which entered the game 0-14 in the Big Ten, finally had reason to celebrate.