The Big Ten has a number of touted freshmen entering the league this season. There’s Indiana’s James Blackmon, Maryland’s Melo Trimble and Northwestern’s Vic Law, to name a few. But the best of all may be Ohio State’s DeAngelo Russell, the favorite to be Big Ten Freshman of the Year.
Some interesting games dot the Big Ten map, including a key West Division tilt with Nebraska visiting Northwestern (watch on BTN/BTN2Go) and an interesting intra-divisional clash with Iowa at Maryland. And could we see an upset when Purdue visits Minnesota?
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In case you have forgotten, Minnesota won the NIT last season in Richard Pitino’s first season in the Twin Cities. The Big Ten has done well in the NIT in recent years. Iowa got to the title game in 2013. Minnesota was in the championship tilt in 2012. Penn State won it all in 2009 and year after Ohio State did so in 2008.
Iowa coach Fran McCaffery gave an update on his 14-year-old son, Patrick who had surgery to remove a tumor on his thyroid March 19. Two days later, doctors determined the tumor was malignant. Patrick had a second surgery on April 17. But, all is well now.
Illinois is an intriguing team, returning all of its starters. And the Illini also have added two transfers in Ahmad Starks (Oregon State) and Aaron Cosby (Seton Hall) that John Groce says have made difference. But how will Illinois do without Tracy Abrams, who suffered a knee injury this fall that will force him to miss the season?