Baseball players don’t forget when an opponent robs them of a potential base hit. And nothing makes them happier than returning the favor. The opportunity doesn’t always present itself, but it did in the first game of the Big Ten tournament Wednesday. Three innings after Illinois’ Thomas Lindauer made a diving grab to retire Minnesota’s Connor Schaefbauer (video above), the latter got revenge in the eighth inning. Both catches were nice, but which was better?
Nebraska product and longtime Minnesota baseball assistant Todd Oakes was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia nearly a year ago. But that won’t keep him from doing what he loves most: coaching baseball. Oakes, in his 15th season with the Gophers, continues to serve as Minnesota’s pitching coach. The uninformed fan wouldn’t even know about Oakes’ illness – if it weren’t for the surgical mask around his face.
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John Shoop long has admired Purdue’s offensive tradition from afar. Now, he gets a chance to add to that tradition by pushing the buttons on the Boilermakers’ attack under first-year coach Darrell Hazell.
First-year coach Darrell Hazell has his work cut out for him, playing arguably the toughest schedule in the Big Ten. There is no more challenging non-conference schedule in the conference, with a trip to Big East co-champ Cincinnati and home games vs. Notre Dame (BCS title game) and Northern Illinois (Orange Bowl). Getting one Big Ten road victory may be a difficult proposition, too. Bottom line: A 1-6 start isn’t out of the question.
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Tom Crean and Indiana spent a big portion of last season ranked No. 1 in the nation. As we all know, though, the Hoosiers lost a ton of talent, including Jordan Hulls, Victor Oladipo, Christian Watford and Cody Zeller. They return Yogi Ferrell and Will Sheehey and also welcome a decorated incoming class, so the question needs to be asked: Should Indiana be ranked in the preseason polls? BTN.com’s Tom Dienhart and Brent Yarina offer their thoughts below.
Richard Mackson-US PRESSWIRE
This time of year, it’s always fun to look at the rosters and try to pick out the conference’s breakout stars. A year ago, if you had your eye on, say, Venric Mark, Allen Robinson, Jake Ryan or Ryan Shazier, you hit it out of the park. It’s time to go out on a limb and offer my top five candidates for who will go from an under-the-radar player to a household name in 2013.