April 12, 2007

Big Ten Rundown...

Michigan - After the hiring of Tubby Smith, Michigan hiring John Beilein away from West Virginia is probably the biggest news in weeks. Beilein has been very successful at WV after inheriting an 8-20 team. His run at WV was highlited by an Elite Eight apperance in the 2004-05 NCAA Tournament and winning the NIT this past season. Hiring a very successful coach away from another big time conference is a nice move by Michigan. We'll see if Beilein can overcome the challenges that face the basketball program in Michigan.

Iowa - lets stay with the basketball coaching theme here as Iowa watched the highly unpopular Steve Alford pull a Tubby and leave before he was tarred and feathered. The Hawkeyes replaced Alford with former Butler coach Todd Lickliter. Lickliter has been VERY successful at the Mid-Major level so his obvious challenge will be trying sustain that success in the Big Ten. I know my heart will break if he fails miserably.

Ohio State - the talk at this football school is all about the basketball team. After losing to Florida in the NCAA Championship game (which sport?) all speculation surrounds the NBA futures of Greg Oden and Mike Connely Jr. Common assumptions are that Oden is a lock to follow Kevin Durant from Texas to the NBA, but what about Connely? Some say he's leaving some think not. I don't know and I don't have an opinion on him leaving or not, but I do have a bold prediction. Should Connely stay he will be Big Ten Player of the Year and will battle with Tyler Hansboro for the Wooden Award.

The other big news out of Ohio is the newborn baby named Tressel Hayes! Sure to be a legend.

Illinois - This isn't new news but the Illini FB program recieved high marks for it's second straight outstanding recruiting class. Minnesota will be in direct competition with Illinois in their efforts to rise to the next level in the Big Ten.

Michigan State - The Spartans won their third hockey National Championship. That's great and we are happy for you but the problem is that they screwed up their streak of winning every 20 years. Champions in 1966 and 1986 they were 1 year tardy by winning in 2007 instead of 2006.

Indiana - I have not seen anything interesting coming out of Bloomington. Things should start to get crazy there next fall. Is their football team going to be any good? No, Eric Gordon will be on campus as the next great Hoosier, ready to team with DJ White as early favorites (along with Ohio State) to win the Big Ten. Gordon is one of the top 3 high school seniors out there, Indiana's Mr. Basketball and along with the rest of this stellar recruiting class should make for an exciting season at IU.

Purdue - the Boilermakers lose their top 2 scorers but will replace them with 2 positional top 10 players next season. They will be young but talented so that always makes for an interesting season.

Penn State - PSU is in the midst of spring practice and hopes are high as they return 15 starters and 33 letterwinners. Replacing Tony Hunt and improving O-line play will be a couple of the keys to Penn State getting into the BCS picture.

Northwestern - also had trouble finding much of anything noteworthy out of NU. Looking at basketball recruiting it looks as though NU is in the running for the #1 SG of the 2008 class. Of course I know nothing about this kid (Jarrett Mann, Middletown, DE) other than what I just typed, but it would be a coup for the Wildcats to land a kid of that caliber.

Wisconsin - I'm going to ignore the obvious greatness of their recently completed basketball season (and sudden THUD in the NCAA tourney). Football practice is underway and the story in Madison is the QB competition to replace John Stocco. Sr. Tyler Donovan is being pushed by Kansas State transfer Allan Evridge. Who will be the man? Who cares, Badgers suck :) !

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