Snow is still on the ground in parts of the Midwest and the calendar still says “February.” No matter, Northwestern kicked off spring football on Wednesday, the first Big Ten school to take the lid off this beautiful annual rite. Yes, the 2013 season is a day closer. And, that’s a tremendous thing.
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We all know who the superstars are in the Big Ten—Cody Zeller, Victor Oladipo, Trey Burke, Deshaun Thomas, Brandon Paul, Trevor Mbakwe. This year the list really could go on quite a bite. But who do I think have been some of the most underrated players this season in the conference? Glad you asked.
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Please forgive John Beilein if he doesn’t want to get out of bed this morning. You see, his No. 4 Michigan team suffered arguably the biggest upset of the college season last night, falling 84-78 to a Penn State squad that was 0-14 in the Big Ten. The Wolverines were done in by a variety of issues. Trey Burke felt a lack of heart was the culprit in a defeat that likely kills any hope the Wolverines had of winning a share of the Big Ten title for a second season in a row. And a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tourney? It’s probably toast, too, after the Wolverines blew a 15-point second-half lead.
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.
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.
Aaron White had 18 points and nine rebounds and Iowa beat Purdue 58-48 on Wednesday night for its fourth win in five games. Devyn Marble also had 18 for the Hawkeyes (18-10, 7-8 Big Ten), who put an ugly loss at Nebraska behind them ahead of this weekend’s trip to top-ranked Indiana.