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On Wednesday, Minnesota made a statement, beating Illinois by 17 points in Champaign. This was a strange one, as the Illini actually negated the Gophers’ huge on-paper advantage on the glass. Instead, it was a big discrepancy in shooting accuracy that told the story. Minnesota, normally a mediocre outside shooting team, hit nine of 15 from behind the arc, while Illinois made just three of its 24 three-point attempts. The Gopher defense certainly had a lot to do with the Illini’s struggles–there just weren’t all that many open looks–but it was also just one of those nights (see Andre Hollins’ banked-in three from nearly midcourt to beat the shot clock).
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It is time to reach into my weekly BTN.com bag of mail and deliver my answers. With hoops heating up, basketball is on the mind of many of you, but I continue to get several lingering questions from the bowl season. Keep them coming either via the submission box at the bottom of this post or on my mailbag page.
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Iowa is off to a rough start in the Big Ten, an 0-3 start vs. three very good teams (Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State). The latest setback was a 62-59 defeat at home to the Spartans that the Hawkeyes had their chances to win. Let’s start the daily links right there in Iowa City, shall we? Mike Hlas of the Cedar Rapids Gazette says it’s more evidence that Iowa isn’t out of the Big Ten lowlands yet.
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It’s a big weekend of Big Ten basketball on BTN/BTN2Go, including No. 10 Minnesota visiting No. 5 Indiana on Saturday. Throughout all the action, we’ll provide our usual in-game online coverage with quick video highlights where BTN.com is spotting great plays during BTN games, then posting them as fast as possible right here on BTN.com, Facebook and Twitter.
Dave Sobolewski scored 18 points and Jared Swopshire added 17 as Northwestern handled cold-shooting Penn State with ease in a 70-54 Big Ten Conference victory Thursday night. The Wildcats (10-6, 1-2) used a 25-4 run over an 11-minute span to lead by as many as 17 points, 33-16, in the first half. Penn State didn’t score a basket for nearly seven minutes during that span.