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Week in review: Contenders begin to pull ahead

Keith Appling

Illinois at Ohio State - Men's Basketball Highlights

The season is nearing the halfway point, and the Big Ten race is starting to crystalize. Michigan State, Michigan and Iowa look like prime contenders. Wisconsin, Ohio State and Minnesota are lurking. The other six schools? Well, let’s just say they have a lot of work to do.

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Rice, Mathieu featured on Sunday's 'Journey'

DeAndre Mathieu

The Journey: Big Ten Basketball 2014 - Episode 3 Promo

This week “The Journey: Big Ten Basketball 2014” airs Sunday at 5 p.m. ET after Illinois plays Indiana on BTN/BTN2Go and we’ve got the stories right here. Come meet Minnesota point guard DeAndre Mathieu, a former walk-on and JUCO transfer who is now flourishing in Richard  Pitino’s system – all while honoring a friend. Also, track the long and winding road taken by Champaign native Rayvonte Rice, who wound up at Illinois as one of the leagues’ top scorers.

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Big Ten links: Catch up & read these 10 stories

Branden Dawson

Chris Borland at the Senior Bowl

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.

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Video: Nnanna Egwu uses floor mop to retrieve ball

Shannon Scott

Ball Gets Stuck, Egwu to the Rescue

Illinois and Ohio State had their share of misses from the field Thursday night. After all, the Illini shot 41 percent and the Buckeyes came in at 42 percent in the 62-55 Ohio State win. But there was one miss that neither team – nor anyone watching – will forget. That, of course, would be Lenzelle Smith Jr.’s 3-pointer in the second half that got stuck on top of the backboard. The ball remained there until Illinois big man Nnanna Egwu, with the help of a floor mop, jumped up at knocked the ball loose. Watch the scene in this post.

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B1G Hoops: Ohio State, Penn State end losing streak

Shannon Scott

Frazier to Newbill for Dunk and the Lead

There were two Big Ten men’s hoops games on the docket tonight, and both were filled with plenty of excitement. Ohio State kicked off the evening with a much-needed 62-55 win over Illinois, ending the Buckeyes’ four-game losing skid. Penn State followed with an impressive 58-52 victory over Nebraska, giving the Nittany Lions their first Big Ten win of the season.

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Branden Dawson breaks hand, out four-to-five weeks

Branden Dawson

Branden Dawson Tip Shot

Injuries have been an ongoing issue for Michigan State’s men’s basketball team this season, but this one is the most bizarre of them all. MSU junior forward Branden Dawson will miss four-to-five weeks after breaking a bone in his right hand. Dawson said the injury was caused after slamming his hand on a table in frustration during a Thursday morning film session.

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