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Jon Groce’s Illinois basketball team kicked off the Big Ten college basketball exhibition season with a commanding 101-64 win over McKendree Thursday night at the State Farm Center. More important than the final score, this was a chance for fans to see how this Illinois team would fill the void left by the departure of senior guards Brandon Paul and D.J. Richardson.
Can you smell it in the air? College basketball is just around the corner. In fact, the Big Ten preseason kicks off tonight as Illinois hosts McKendree at 8 p.m. ET on the Big Ten Digital Network. It will be the first chance to get a look at several of the conferences top newcomers, which is always exciting to see at this time of year.
Another light, yet exciting week ahead, with four teams off–Indiana, Michigan, Purdue and Wisconsin. Still, this Saturday has a marquee, prime-time game to hang its hat on with Penn State playing at Ohio State.
On Friday night at 10:30 p.m. ET BTN airs “Big Ten Elite: 1979 Minnesota hockey” right after the Boston College-Minnesota men’s hockey game at 8 p.m. ET. Watch it to learn more about Minnesota coach Herb Brooks and one of the best college hockey teams ever to take the ice for Minnesota’s storied program.
Here is a good place to start daily links on this chilly Thursday in late October. Interesting piece from the great Tom Shatel: If Nebraska has the Big Ten blahs, it has only itself to blame. It seems some Huskers fans aren’t enamored with their new home. But, Shatel has some interesting insights: The inability to move up the rankings, or flag down the Associated Press voters? That’s on Nebraska’s inability to show well in a big game — most notably UCLA — not the mediocrity that is Big Ten football.
Every week during the 2013 football season, BTN.com’s Tom Dienhart, Brent Yarina, Sean Merriman and hoops analyst Stephen Bardo, a huge football fan, make their Big Ten picks. We also provide polls for Big Ten fans to select their winners. Eight weeks down, Bardo, Merriman and Yarina are tied for the top spot, at 53-11. Big Ten fans are one game off the pace.