Big Ten football power rankings: lipstick on a pig edition

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During Big Ten football Saturdays like this, how do you spin what happened? How do you put lipstick on these pigs? And even though Northwestern out-gained an AWFUL Western Michigan team by just 126 yards, they’ve still earned the second slot.

You can argue that a different Big Ten football team deserves to be there. But my argument is pretty solid for NU. Also, Illinois gave up 615 yards and lost “at home,” and yet they move UP not down this week.

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Mitch McGary, Glenn Robinson III returning to Michigan

With Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III coming back, just how good will the Wolverines be next year? Sure, they lost Tim Hardaway Jr. and Trey Burke to the NBA Draft. And that’s huge. But look how much they have coming back.

The #1 ranked power forward and #2 overall recruit in the nation (according to ESPNU) Mitch McGary picked the Michigan Wolverines, over the Duke Blue Devils or Florida Gators. Now he’s picking Ann Arbor over the NBA Draft. Maybe Michigan won’t be just a “college football school” any more?

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Hoosiers Cody Zeller is apparently a hydroelectric engineer, on Twitter

cody zeller iu

The #3 Indiana Hoosiers defeated the #1 Michigan Wolverines 81-73 as Cody Zeller scored 19 points.

It’s the third time in school history that the Hoosiers (19-2, 8-1 Big Ten) have beaten the No. 1 team at home, and the first time they’ve done it in back-to-back seasons. The win gives Indiana a five-game winning streak, sole possession of the Big Ten lead and likely the top spot in the country again when Monday’s rankings come out. But was this worth storming the court? How can IU fans storm the court after a game in which they were favored.

In addition to Michigan’s defeat, No. 2 Kansas lost 85-80 to Oklahoma State.  But let’s get back to Zeller and his Twitter account.

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BTN’s Tim Doyle: worst. sportscaster. EVER

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You listen to Tim McCarver, Skip Bayless, or even worse yet, Jemele Hill and it makes you wonder “how does this person have a job?” Not only they do have a broadcasting gig, but it’s one with a very large footprint. There is no justice in the world.

The Big Ten Network version of that is Tim Doyle. As a player at Northwestern, he seemed to always be around and accumulate stats despite possessing no discernible talent. He’s the exact same as an announcer. Doyle is like Dick Vitale, he RUINS every game he calls. He’s so bad that he makes CBS 2’s Ryan Baker look good by comparison. And that’s really hard to do because Baker pulls off the impossible combination of being both bland/boring and annoying/irritating at the same time.

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Indiana Hoosiers Cody Zeller becoming a rock star

cody zeller iu

The Indiana Hoosiers Cody Zeller could end up achieving the same trifecta as Anthony Davis at Kentucky did last year. The Wildcats big man from Chicago won a national title, took home the college basketball player of the year award, and became the first overall pick in the NBA Draft.

Zeller may do the same this year. For those who do some online betting, the Hoosiers are the favorite, topping all the preseason polls. And Zeller looks like #1 material in many NBA mock drafts. This is why Zeller is getting so much pub; gracing the cover of ESPN the magazine for their college basketball season preview. He’s not nicknamed “the big handsome” for nothing.

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Indiana Hoosiers, Cody Zeller lead strong Big Ten basketball outlook

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The Big Ten has been pretty weak in college football this season. That’s obvious. But as down as football might be, Big Ten college basketball is up just as much, perhaps even more. The league has three of the top five in the coaches poll, and five teams in the top 25. The Hoosiers are number one in the poll, with the Buckeyes number four and the Wolverines number five.

Today was the conference’s media day, held right here in Chicago. And here’s who the media picked for to finish at the top of the league, and to make the all-Big Ten team.

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Northwestern opponents should worry about getting back-doored

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Northwestern is playing some really good offense lately. During their current three-game winning streak, the Wildcats are averaging 80.3 points per game while shooting 53.7 percent from the field, including 46.1 percent from 3-point range. Four different NU players are averaging at least
15 points per game during the stretch: John Shurna (23.0), Dave Sobolewski (17.3), Reggie Hearn (15.0) and Drew Crawford (15.0).

The win streak has coincided with Northwestern going with a starting lineup of Sobolewski, Hearn, Crawford, Shurna and
Alex Marcotullio. This is the first time that NU has started the month of February with three consecutive wins since 1946. As they take on the Purdue Boilermakers this Sunday, they’re looking college basketball heavyweights North Carolina and Duke…on the offensive end. (The defensive end still has some issues). And the ‘Cats are getting it done with a very unique system, the Princeton offense, which we don’t see as much anymore. And of course the Princeton offense runs most smoothly when you get back door cuts.

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Analyzing all 9 Undefeated College Basketball Teams

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Nine undefeated teams left in all of college basketball. And none of them are named Kentucky, Duke, North Carolina, Duke (I listed them twice because ESPN loves them so much), Ohio State, Florida or Kansas.

In other words, if you’re still undefeated at this point of this season, you are legit- at least to some extent. By mid December, pretty much everyone has played in a conference “challenge” event and participated in a Holiday tournament. if you didn’t pick up an L in either of those situations, then you likely suffered a setback in some quality opponent non-conference scheduling.

Yes, most of the games up to this point have been cupcakes, but no one has really been able to feed on just  cupcakes for over a month. Let’s run through the 9 remaining perfect teams, in order of AP poll ranking.

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Big East, B1G Ten News: Purdue, Notre Dame, Minnesota, Penn State, Wisconsin

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Notre Dame Fighting Irish forward Tim Abromaitis (Unionville, Conn.) is one of 22 collegian who has accepted an invitation from the USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Team Committee to attend the 2011 USA Basketball Men’s World University Games training camp.

The training camp, which will be held from July 29-Aug. 7 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center (USOTC) in Colorado Springs, Colo., will be used to select the 12-member team that will represent the USA at the 2011 World University Games men’s basketball competition Aug. 13-23 in Shenzhen, China.

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Big 10 Announces Future Sites of Football Title Game, Basketball Tournament

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We already knew that the inaugural Big Ten Football Championship Game will be held at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis this December, but today following a meeting of league big wigs, it was announced that the same facility will also host the title game 2012-15. The first of the league’s new premier college football games takes place on December 3rd, 2011.

The Council of Presidents/Chancellors approved this recommendation from university administrators for the cities of Chicago, Hoffman Estates and Indianapolis to rotate as the host sites for the Big Ten Football Championship Games and Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournaments for a four-year period beginning in 2012.

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Big Ten Tournament: Notes, Quotes and Nuggets

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Another Big Ten Tournament will soon be entirely in the books, and with it 7 NCAA Tournament bids from the conference. Yes 7! And the only way that could have happened is…with the exact scenarios that did transpire.

The final college basketball tournament bracket S-Curve, what Joe Lunardi uses for bracketology, has that Big Ten muddled mush of middle (Illinois Fighting Illini, Michigan Wolverines, Michigan State Spartans and Penn State Nittany Lions) all in the mid 40s when it comes to their overall seed.

-No clear favorite for BTT MOP, but candidates include Talor Battle, Juice Thompson and Jared Sullinger. Juice is only on that list because he set a tourney record with 35 points on Thursday.

-Please use these hashtags today #PennState #BigTenTourney #TalorBattleforWoodenAward #TalorBattleforNaismithAward

By Paul M. Banks

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Michigan State Blows Out #9 Purdue, Secures NCAA Tournament Bid

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I guess MSU Coach Tom Izzo  finally got his Michigan State Spartans to realize that March is here? In their 74-56 rout over the #6 Purdue Boilermakers, State finally played like a preseason #2 team in national college basketball.

And of course they did it in March, a month in which they’re known to be at their best. It took all the way to the Big Ten Tournament Quarterfinals, but it did happen.

This was about as complete a game, at both ends of the floor that State has played all season. And the win, in very convincing fashion, over a top opponent has clinched their way into the NCAA Tournament.

By Paul M. Banks

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