Michigan, Michigan State at Top of Early Big Ten Hoops Power Rankings

michigan wolverines

Early December polls and rankings are to be taken with a grain of salt, but we do know this about the Big Ten- “the Michigans” currently rule the roost. College hoops is a sport as synonymous with gambling as any you will find anywhere in the entire world. Wagering on college basketball at this time of year can be like real money online pokies, there is a ton of luck and chance involved. However, if you want a blue chip then #GoBlue, as the Michigan Wolverines have consistently shown a capability to beat the spread by by a comfortable margin.

They are the clear number one in the Big Ten with arch-rival Michigan State a solid #2 in the league. Next to each team name below you’ll find the following numerical values: overall record, conference record, AP ranking (when applicable) Sagarin rating and kenpom rating.

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How the Illini Revenue Sports Disaster Occurred and Who’s to Blame

Lovie Smith isn’t going anywhere right now. In fact, now he’s going to be sticking around even longer. Contracted until 2021, the school announced a two year extension for him Sunday morning. The numbers speak for themselves: in three years he’s gone 1-17 against his division, 4-23 against his own league and 9-27 overall.

Yet here we are, as the complete football disaster has been rewarded. If you’re a betting man, perhaps with BFB, you would not have put money on this happening. This was a long shot scenario to say the least. That’s because in all three seasons that Smith has been in Champaign, the team has gotten worse as the year has dragged on. 

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#20 Northwestern Wildcats vs Illinois Fighting Illini Game Preview, Prediction

northwestern

Get ready to LOL! It’s the Land of Lincoln Hat Game, 2018 version, and yes we are publishing our game preview on Sunday night/Monday morning, depending on what part of the world you’re reading this.

Hey, it’s Thanksgiving week and that means just about nobody will be online Tuesday onward. Therefore, we gotta do what we gotta do. We’ll put this Illinois Fighting Illini at #20 Northwestern Wildcats game preview story back at the top later in the week. 

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P.J. Fleck, Pat Fitzgerald, Florida St. Bag Opine on College Football Turnover Prop Trend

pj fleck

Perhaps P.J. Fleck said it best: “as educators, you’re always teaching life lessons in a very cultural way.”

Turnover props, the latest craze in college football, do indeed, as the Minnesota Head Coach puts it: “teach the importance of turnovers.”

Most people believe this trend started with the Miami Hurricanes’ turnover chain last season, which is certainly the most iconic object of the genre by far. However, when Lovie Smith took over the Illinois program in 2016, his staff installed a contraption in the team room/press conference room that does exactly what all turnover props do- emphasize the importance of getting takeaways.

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Michigan State #1, Purdue #2 in Big Ten Basketball Preseason Power Rankings

michigan state spartans

Believe it or not, Big Ten basketball media day is Thursday. Yes, hoops talking season arrives though it may not feel like it, given the 80+ degree temperatures in much of Big Ten country currently. Some schools have actually already had their media days, and you know what that means- overlap season is here.

So while every single outlet on the planet is posting Big Ten football power rankings today, we’re doing the hoops equivalent. 

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Infamous Illini Football Playboy Mansion Story: Fact or Fiction?

jack trudeau illini football

This legendary Playboy mansion tale we’re about to re-examine again is either  a.) the worst kept secret in Illini football history or

b.) the biggest lie ever told in the history of the program

This “urban legend” from 32 years ago is a timeless and perfect topic of discussion, especially this week when Illinois is set to host Purdue. Thus, episode four of “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” (part of the Hammer and Rails podcast network) focuses on the ’83 Illini.

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ESPN College Gameday: How it Went From Transcendent to Unwatchable

espn-college-gameday-jadeveon-clowney

Republishing from 9-16-17

To pinpoint what’s so wrong with ESPN College Gameday in 2017, there are a couple different places from which you can start. You can begin with ESPN’s horrible bungling of the Jemele Hill and Robert Lee situations, and go from there. The same principle, that of “let’s try to never hurt anyone’s feelings ever, no matter what the cost, because hurt feelings means upset sponsors” applies across the board.

ESPN should have never apologized for what Jemele Hill said about Donald Trump.

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College Sports Fans Beware the Nefarious Influence of the Recruiting-Industrial Complex

It’s really astounding when you think about it- in an era when almost no one is willing to pay for news content, recruiting services can survive and thrive off a subscription-based business model.

The year-round extensive coverage of college recruiting, at every step in the process, has destroyed media coverage of college sports. It’s not just the rise of the recruiting-industrial complex itself that ruined it. Recruiting sites flourished at the same time social media exploded and these two phenomena fed off of each other to concoct a toxic cocktail.

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EXCLUSIVE: Darrin Fletcher on Illini Baseball Next Big Thing Bren Spillane

DARRIN FLETCHER

Darrin Fletcher is no doubt on the Illini baseball Mt. Rushmore, right next to Lou Boudreau. Bren Spillane, if he takes the success that he’s enjoyed in college and translates it to the Major League level, could one day join them.

Fletcher, who played 14 years in the big leagues with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Philadelphia Phillies, Montreal Expos and Toronto Blue Jays, set an Illinois career batting average record of .497 (80-161) that still stands today. If you’re familiar with baseball betting, then you obviously realize how superlative it is to hit safely half the time. Bren Spillane, a 3rd round pick of the Cincinnati Reds (82nd overall) in the MLB Draft earlier this month, put up similarly eye-popping numbers in Champaign this past season. 

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EXCLUSIVE with Lou Henson, The Godfather of Modern Illini Athletics

lou henson

Lou Henson is the El Pedrino, “The Godfather,” of modern University of Illinois athletics. If you’re a generation X or younger Illini, then you already know how Henson is the Illini legend of all legends in modern sports. Red Grange, Dick Butkus and George Halas all have their place in the pantheon, but Illinois is a basketball school, and both the home court, and the street which bisects the two revenue sport home venues bare his honorary namesake. 

At age 86, Henson was inducted into the second class of the Illinois Athletics Hall of Fame Friday night, with a black tie gala at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago.

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Kendall Gill on the Chicago Bulls NBA Draft, Illini Hoops (EXCLUSIVE)

kendall-gill-illinois

Fighting Illini legend and former Chicago Bull Kendall Gill just turned 50 a couple weeks ago, but he’s in as phenomenal physical shape as he’s ever been. Boxing is a big reason why, and Gill was going to box the day after we caught up to him- at the second annual Illini Athletics Hall of Fame gala. If you’re into boxing, and need a new heavy bag, see more about them at this product review site. Boxing is one of the best cardio activities that one can partake in. 

 “It’s one of my main workouts, it keeps me in good shape,” Gill told The Sports Bank during our exclusive interview, conducted at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago.

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NBA, Illini Legend Deron Williams on His Present, Future (EXCLUSIVE)

deron williams

Illini legend and three time NBA All-Star Deron Williams walked up the orange carpet with his wife Amy Friday night at the second annual Illinois Athletics Hall of Fame Gala at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago.

D. Will was a part of the inaugural Hall of Fame class but was unable to attend last year’s gala as he was just coming off a NBA Finals appearance with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Williams couldn’t pass up this opportunity again, especially when you consider the manner in which he was invited.

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