Big Ten Preview

iowa cheerleaders

I gave this interview to college football who asked me to preview my alma mater, the University of Illinois for them.

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ESPN’s Rece Davis will Emcee Big 10 Kickoff Luncheon


The Big Ten Conference announced today that ESPN’s Rece Davis will serve as emcee for the 39th Annual Big Ten Kickoff Luncheon, which will take place Tuesday, August 3, at the McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago. Festivities are set to begin at 10 a.m. CT with the annual players and coaches autograph session for fans attending the luncheon. The luncheon will begin at 11:30 a.m. CT.

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Big Ten Basketball Power Rankings


“ONIONS!!!!   SEND IT IN!!!”

By Paul M. Banks

It’s Big Ten Basketball Media Day, and you know what that means? College basketball  season has officially begun! Well, actually it sort of began a couple weeks ago when Midnight Madness occurred and practices began. But nevertheless, college hoops season is almost here. msu-dance-teamAnd to quote the famous Christmas Carol, “it’s the most wonderful time of the year.”

1. Michigan State (31-7, 15-3)
Spartans return a good portion of the top guns from last year’s National runner-up team. With Kalin Lucas, Raymar Morgan and Durrell Summers back, the Izzone will have lots to get excited about this winter. Look for Delvon Roe to take a big step forward too.

2. Purdue (27-10, 11-7) A sweet sixteen appearance last year proved that the Baby Boilers are now all grown up, and established Matt Painter as a very strong branch in his legendary coaching tree.

3. Ohio State (22-11, 10-8) Imagine what they could have been had B.J. Mullens returned. He was one of just two Big Ten ballers to be drafted last season. Evan Turner (possible lottery pick) and David Lighty could follow.

4. Illinois (24-10, 11-7) If Mike Davis or incoming freshman D.J. Richardson can replace the departed Chester Frazier’s defense, it’ll be another year of progress in Champaign. But it’s all an appetizer for the main course in 2010-11- when they could be dominant.

5. Michigan (21-14, 9-9) Finally broke through to the tournament last season. However, they’re still a 2-man team. Then again Manny Harris and DeShawn Sims are no ordinary men. Look for them to be a tougher out this season.

6. Minnesota (22-11, 9-9) Finally broke through to the tournament last season. How valuable will Tubby Time be this season? Depends on what he gets out of Damian Johnson and Lawrence Westbrook.

7. Northwestern (17-14, 8-10) The ‘Cats went from laughing stock to NIT (and one win shy of the school record for victories) in just one season. Do they take the next step up this year? I asked the boss himself, NU Athletic Director Jim Phillips, and he responded “I say this both intellectually and emotionally. I believe it’s going to happen. I don’t know if it’s going to be this year, but I think we are going to get to the tournament. Recruiting is going well, and in future years I think we’ll have a nice nucleus.”


8. Penn State (22-11, 10-8) They still have their star point guard with a porn star name, Talor Battle, but little else. The Nittany Lions’ nickname begins with NIT for a reason.

9. Wisconsin (20-13, 10-8) The swing offense is so boring, it could make LeBron James unexciting to watch. Ok maybe that’s an exaggeration, but this team will win quite a few 48-44 games, and continue besmirching the national reputation of the Big Ten. Look for Bo Ryan to overachieve and make more than you could ever believe out of what he has- yet again.

10. Indiana (6-25, 1-17) It certainly will be a step up from last year, but then again how could things get worse? At least they have football…oh wait. Keep an eye on Jeremiah Rivers, Doc’s kid.

11. Iowa (15-17, 5-13) And you thought they were boring in football? At least they win ugly on the gridiron, here they’re just plain ugly to watch. They could easily break 20+ losses, as all their top players from last year’s team, a very bad one, are gone. But here below, you’ll find something much easier to look at.