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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Hoosiers Cody Zeller is apparently a hydroelectric engineer, on Twitter

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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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Keys for the #3 Indiana Hoosiers against the #1 Michigan Wolverines

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Fans, analysts and (surely) the teams themselves have had this one circled all season.

Indiana and Michigan were projected to be the Big Ten’s two best teams before the beginning of the 2012-13 college basketball campaign, and each has held true to form — even if in inverse order to this point.

And at 9 p.m. today, the Hoosiers and Wolverines — both with 7-1 Big Ten marks — will go at it for sole possession of first place in the conference in Assembly Hall.

The No. 3 Hoosiers have won 14 of the last 15 home games against the Wolverines, who are No. 1 for the first time since the infamous “Fab Five” squad, but this unquestionably is the most talented roster Michigan has had since Chris Webber, Juwan Howard, Jalen Rose, Ray Jackson and Jimmy King were causing sparks to fly in all directions in Ann Arbor.

How does Indiana win tonight?

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Indiana Hoosiers get caught playing Butler’s game, fall to in-state foe

The No. 1 Indiana Hoosiers have become known for going on scoring tears — particularly on fast breaks — when they can create even the slightest cushion against opponents.

In-state rival Butler never let Indiana have that chance Saturday.

The Bulldogs (8-2) asserted themselves physically against the Hoosiers (9-1), per the custom of Brad Stevens-coached teams, and knocked off the nation’s top-ranked team 88-86 in an overtime thriller at Bankers Life Fieldhouse as part of the now annual Crossroads Classic.

Butler led by as many as seven before a furious rally by Indiana, fueled by Victor Oladipo’s defense. Freshman guard Yogi Ferrell, who only seconds before had committed a costly turnover, hit a huge 3-pointer before regulation expired to tie the game at 76-76. It was Butler guard Alex Barlow, however, who would have the contest’s final clutch moment, tossing a floater over Indiana’s Jordan Hulls for the game-winner.

The Bulldogs didn’t just step it up late, though. They made sure all game long they’d have this opportunity.

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Indiana Hoosiers Cody Zeller becoming a rock star

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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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Indiana Hoosiers claim preseason No. 1 in USA Today Coaches Poll

Tom Crean’s restoration project of Indiana University basketball has pretty much come full-circle.

After being crippled by NCAA sanctions stemming from former coach Kelvin Sampson’s violations, struggling through six-, 10- and 12-win seasons his first three  years in Bloomington, and leading a remarkable turnaround in 2012-13 that resulted in a Sweet 16 appearance, Crean has his Hoosiers sitting atop the USA Today Coaches preseason poll, released today.

With key returnees in Player of the Year Candidate Cody Zeller, senior Christian Watford and juniors Victor Oladipo and Will Sheehey — plus a loaded freshman class dubbed “The Movement” — Indiana appears poised for a run at a sixth NCAA championship, which is remarkable given all the program has been through in recent years.

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2012 NBA Draft early entries list

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The deadline for underclassmen college basketball players to declare for the 2012 NBA Draft has passed.  Here is the latest list of early entries with Maryland’s Terrell Stoglin entering the draft at the last minute.  Check out our 2012 NBA Mock Draft and click on the player’s name for an in-depth scouting report.

UPDATED: 4/30/12 12:40 PM
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Cody Zeller and Christian Watford returning to Indiana Hoosiers for 2012-13

Let the preseason No. 1 speculation officially begin for Indiana basketball.

The Hoosiers, widely expected to enter the 2012-13 season at or near the top of the polls, got huge news for their chances on that front as the university’s athletics department announced in a release that forwards Cody Zeller and Christian Watford would return for their sophomore and senior seasons, respectively, rather than declare for the NBA Draft.

Such was expected. I never thought Zeller would leave after one season of college basketball (although he could have been a lottery pick), and I didn’t get a hint of any current interest in Watford as a NBA prospect — his skill set is a bit lacking in areas and he isn’t being listed in any mock draft I see — so it’s not a surprise to see both guys announce their returns. It’s going to be truly fascinating to see this Indiana team next season. It will have the firepower to do great things.

This announcement does create one minor issue for the Hoosiers, though: They are oversigned by one scholarship heading into next season. Coach Tom Crean will have to show one guy the door to make enough room for his key returnees as well as for “The Movement” of 2012 signees.

Follow the jump for the release from Indiana University Athletics.

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Indiana Hoosiers must move against VCU

The fourth-seeded Indiana Hoosiers now have a NCAA tournament win in the Tom Crean era.

They should get their second such victory at 7:10 p.m. today in Portland. Should.

Even so, the Hoosiers face a daunting obstacle to a berth in the Sweet 16 in No. 12 seed Virginia Commonwealth, who could make IU pay for repeating one of its worst habits. [Read more…]

Michigan’s Trey Burke making a case as Big Ten’s best player

Just four days ago, the Big Ten announced that its freshman of the year award was being given to two separate players—Indiana’s Cody Zeller took home the coaches award and Michigan’s Trey Burke got the media vote.

But after another eye-popping performance in Michigan’s win over Minnesota in the second-round of the Big Ten tournament, those coaches may want to re-think their decision.

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Indiana Hoosiers appear tourney-bound after win against Michigan State

No. 1 Kentucky? Check.

No. 2 Ohio State? Check.

No. 5 Michigan State? Check.

Each of those three teams, while ranked as listed, has fallen at Assembly Hall this season, adding a feat to the already deep lore of Indiana University basketball: the Hoosiers (23-7, 10-7 Big Ten) have knocked off three top-5 teams in the regular season for the first time ever.

Knocking off the Spartans in a 70-55 win Tuesday night adds yet another key victory to IU’s tournament resume — one that probably doesn’t need any more work to ensure the Hoosiers will go dancing for the first time under coach Tom Crean. For Crean, the players and Hoosier Nation, that has to feel good.

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