Big Ten

Big Ten basketball roundup: Denzel Valentine drops 32 in Spartans win

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Big Ten basketball roundup: Denzel Valentine drops 32 in Spartans win

A roundup of Big Ten basketball action from Friday, Nov. 27, 2015:

Illinois 72, UAB 58

Kendrick Nunn missed the Illini’s first five games but returned in a big way with 18 points to lead Illinois to a win. The Illini used a 9-0 run in the first half to create some separation with UAB and had another big 18-10 run in the second half. Illinois finally got a solid defensive effort, holding UAB to 38.8-percent shooting and just five 3-pointers. Malcolm Hill, Maverick Morgan and Leron Black all scored 12 points. The Illini next get the No. 4 team in the country, Iowa State, in the Emerald Coast Classic title game.

Notre Dame 68, Iowa 62

The Hawkeyes had a 15-14 lead midway through the first half, but the Irish went on 25-7 run to cruise out to a 17-point lead. A 16-0 run by Iowa in the middle of the second half, though, gave the Hawkeyes a one-point lead. But Notre Dame countered with 17-8 spurt to grab the lead back. Iowa stared at a six-point deficit with a minute left and couldn’t get it any closer as time ran out. The Hawkeyes shot just 37.9 percent from the field and went just 6-for-24 from 3-point range. Jarrod Uthoff had 20 points and eight rebounds, Mike Gesell had 14 points and nine assists, and Adam Woodbury had a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

[MORE BIG TEN: Kendrick Nunn scores 18 points in return as Illini beat UAB]

Michigan 78, Texas 72

The Wolverines were on fire from deep early, hitting six 3-pointers in the game’s first nine minutes and totaling 11 deep balls in the first half, taking a 12-point lead into the break. The Longhorns whittled that lead down to four midway through the second half and had it at just a point with four and a half minutes left. But Michigan got seven straight points from there to hold off the charge. The Wolverines shot a scorching 58 percent from the field and finished with 14 made 3-pointers. Caris LeVert led the way with 19 points (three made 3s), Duncan Robinson had 14 points off the bench (four made 3s) and Derrick Walton Jr. (three made 3s) and Zak Irvin (two made 3s) each had 13 points.

Michigan State 77, Boise State 67

There’s no one in college basketball playing better than Denzel Valentine right now, and he had another monster performance a night after recording his second triple-double of the season, scoring 32 points, hitting seven 3-pointers, grabbing nine rebounds and handing out six assists in another Spartan win. This one was maybe closer than it should’ve been, and it took a 19-7 close to the first half for Michigan State to create just a five-point lead. Valentine hit five straight 3s in a three-and-a-half-minute stretch in the second half. Deyonta Davis joined Valentine in double figures with 12 points as the Spartans moved to 6-0.

[MORE BIG TEN: Denzel Valentine gets another triple-double in Tom Izzo's 500th Spartans win]

Minnesota 93, Nebraska-Omaha 90

Allowing 90 points to Nebraska-Omaha is not good, but it didn’t end up hurting the Gophers too much. A 9-2 first-half run put Minnesota in front, but UNO led by a point at the half. After the Gophers went up five in the first two minutes of the second half, the Mavericks used an 11-1 run to jump back in front, but a 12-2 Minnesota run had the Gophers back in front shortly thereafter. That was answered by a 12-3 UNO run, and it was close from there. Minnesota’s lead was just a point with 30 seconds to play, but both teams missed shots and free throws, the Gophers missing fewer to cling to a win. Five Gophers were in double figures, led by the 18 points of Joey King, who was 4-for-4 from 3-point range.

Cincinnati 65, Nebraska 61

The Huskers and Bearcats played a defensive struggle in the first half, each scoring just 25 points. Things stayed extremely close throughout much of the second half before a 10-0 run gave Cincinnati an eight-point lead with three minutes to play. Andrew White and Glynn Watson kept things close with 3-pointers down the stretch, but the Bearcats made eight of their 12 free-throw attempts over the final minute and a half to hold on. Nebraska out-shot Cincinnati but was beat up on the boards. Tai Webster led the way for the Huskers with 21 points and eight rebounds. Shavon Shields was also in double figures with 14 points.

[SHOP BIG TEN: Get your Spartans gear right here]

Memphis 81, Ohio State 76

The Buckeyes jumped out to a nine-point lead early in the second half thanks to an 11-2 run featuring 3s from Keita Bates-Diop, JaQuan Lyle and Marc Loving. The Tigers caught up relatively quickly, and the game remained close from there, with Memphis in front by five after a three-point play with two and a half minutes left. A Jae’Sean Tate jumper and a clutch, game-tying 3 from Bates-Diop spun the game into overtime as Ohio State turned the ball over in the final seconds on a breakaway chance to win the game. The Buckeyes then scored just one point in the extra period as Memphis got the win. Ohio State missed eight free throws and turned the ball over 19 times. Lyle had 18, Loving had 17 and Bates-Diop had 10 points in the loss.

Northwestern set to play Wisconsin at Wrigley Field in 2020

Northwestern set to play Wisconsin at Wrigley Field in 2020

Weeks will separate a perfect 10-year anniversary where Northwestern will play at Wrigley Field for one of its regular season games in the upcoming years.

Back on Nov. 20, 2010, the Wildcats battled it out with Illinois, known as the “Wrigleyville Classic,” which saw the Illini take a 48-27 win.

Even though it’s still two years out, Northwestern still planned ahead and announced its opponent for its game at Wrigley Field on Nov. 7, 2020, against Big Ten rival Wisconsin.

“Obviously an exciting opportunity for our football program to come back to Wrigley Field, one of the Cathedrals of sporting venues in the world,” Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said. “When I announced it to our team, they were absolutely ecstatic.”

“The opportunity to play at Wrigley field is unique to us, being Chicago’s Big Ten team, and to have the chance to come down and play in an atmosphere like we did a few years back was a bowl game type atmosphere, and I look forward to this special opportunity.”

This game though will be a little different than it was back in 2010. Both the Wildcats and Illini played toward the west end zone due to a tight squeeze near the right field wall due to box seats that were added down the third base line.

Now, Northwestern and Wisconsin do not have to worry about that problem because the bullpens have since moved to the outfield.

Cubs president of business operations Crane Kenney spoke at a news conference earlier on Tuesday at Wrigley.

“So excited to welcome back Northwestern to Wrigley Field to talk about football again,” Kenney said. “We had an incredible experience with them back in 2010."

Kenney also mentioned new seating is on a temporary platform that can all be removed and the dugout tops can be removed as well, and the field will expand west, to allow for a longer field.

With a sellout crowd in the last go around for the Wildcats, don’t be surprised for another sellout at the Friendly Confines.

See how they stack up: Week 12 college football top 25 rankings

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USA TODAY

See how they stack up: Week 12 college football top 25 rankings

With Week 12 in the books, here’s my top 25:

1. Oklahoma (10-1)

Still the team with the best resume in the country, no one can compete with OU’s wins over TCU, Ohio State and Oklahoma State, the latter two coming away from Norman. Baker Mayfield might not be a choir boy, but he’s the best player in the nation.

2. Miami (10-0)

You might think that being down 28-14 to Virginia in the second half was cringe-worthy, but the Canes made up for things by storming back with 30 unanswered points. Now they finally have to go away from South Florida for the first time since almost losing to North Carolina last month.

3. Alabama (11-0)

Tide gonna roll. But this Cupcake Weekend in the SEC has got to stop. While teams in other conferences are slugging it out against rivals, Bama gets to take a day off against Mercer? It’s just not fair. Also, Bama’s schedule is so soft, there’s no way it deserves to be the No. 1 team in the country.

4. Georgia (10-1)

The Dawgs should wrap an 11-1 regular season this weekend against Georgia Tech. But the SEC title game presents a kind of no-win scenario: undefeated Alabama or Auburn, who throttled Georgia earlier this month.

5. Wisconsin (11-0)

You didn’t need Wisconsin to do what it did to Iowa and Michigan to prove it had one of the best defenses in the country — but that sure didn’t help. Stockpiling national love with those two wins, a win in the Big Ten title game figures to make the Badgers a Playoff lock.

6. Clemson (10-1)

Why’d Kelly Bryant have to go and get hurt for that Syracuse game? The Tigers would be No. 1 and the undisputed best team in the country. Still, though, a win over Miami in the ACC title game ought to get the champs back into the Playoff.

7. Auburn (9-2)

Great job pounding Louisiana-Monroe, Tigers. You shall not escape the wrath over Cupcake Weekend in the SEC. That dumb game aside, Auburn and Alabama will meet in a titanic Iron Bowl this weekend with a trip to the SEC title game on the line — and perhaps a Playoff spot, as well.

8. Ohio State (9-2)

Not that pummeling Illinois is any big deal, but the Buckeyes are still alive in this thing and look like a team capable of making some Playoff noise. First, Ohio State has to win The Game and then the Big Ten title game to knock out undefeated Wisconsin.

9. Notre Dame (9-2)

Out of the Playoff chase thanks to that loss at Miami, Notre Dame squeaked by Navy this past weekend. Hope a New Year’s Six bowl game is enough for the Irish. We know it’s not enough for those ND fans. So maybe join a conference? Just saying.

10. TCU (9-2)

The Frogs can still make their mark on the Playoff race, even if they can’t get in themselves. The Big 12 title game will almost surely be TCU’s attempt at revenge on Oklahoma. Unfortunately, if revenge does come, it will probably cannibalize the conference’s Playoff hopes, too.

11. Penn State (9-2)

Why Penn State gave up 44 points to Nebraska, I do not know. What I do know is that probably no one cared because Penn State is going to go down as the most inconsequential 10-2 team of all-time. Such a bummer considering the preseason expectations for both the team and Saquon Barkley.

12. USC (10-2)

Yeah, I guess there’s still a way for USC to make the Playoff, but it’s hard to imagine that madness unfolding, even in the oft-mad college football. The Trojans get the winner of the Apple Cup in the Pac-12 title game.

13. UCF (10-0)

Finally we get our much-anticipated UCF-USF showdown this weekend. Make it count, Knights. This is probably gonna be Scott Frost’s last regular-season game in Orlando.

14. Washington (9-2)

It’s hard to say who has the edge in the Apple Cup, but certainly the stakes are high, with the winner going off to play USC in the Pac-12 title game. Can either team make the Playoff? Well, probably not, no.

15. Washington State (9-2)

Is this it for Mike Leach on The Palouse? He could be a hot candidate this offseason and leave for perceived greener pastures. Winning the Apple Cup would go a long way toward making that happen.

16. Mississippi State (8-3)

A win in the Egg Bowl means a 9-3 regular season for the Bulldogs with their three losses coming against three top-10 teams.

17. Oklahoma State (8-3)

Poor Okie State has been so good all year and had two losses to the two best teams in its conference, and then it went and lost to K-State for some ridiculous reason. The Mullet deserved better in 2017.

18. Northwestern (8-3)

The Cats are the fourth-best team in the Big Ten, simple as that, with wins over Michigan State and Iowa and conference losses to Wisconsin and Penn State. As commendable an effort as you’ll find in a highly competitive league. Plus, Fitz’s team is on a six-game win streak that could end up extending to eight.

19. Stanford (8-3)

Already with a win over Washington, Stanford could close the regular season with two wins over top-10 teams in its final three games. Also Bryce Love is back in the groove after back-to-back 100-yard games.

20. Memphis (9-1)

The Tigers have lost just one game all season, to the best Group of Five team out there. Heck of a season by Memphis.

21. Michigan State (8-3)

A 17-7 win over Maryland couldn't have been the most exciting way for anyone to spend their weekend. Sparty's had a mighty fine season, though, considering how badly things went in 2016.

22. LSU (8-3)

The SEC has seemingly gotten increasingly better as the year has progressed, with LSU and Mississippi State making for a solid-enough middle tier. But remember when LSU lost to Troy? That wasn’t good.

23. South Florida (9-1)

If not for that loss to Houston, USF’s showdown with UCF this weekend would be for Group of Five supremacy. Even without that, though, this should be a highly entertaining affair.

24. Virginia Tech (8-3)

The Hokies have a chance to salvage their tumble at the close of the season with a win at Virginia. But given how well the Cavs played at Miami this past weekend, a VT win is no sure thing.

25. Iowa State (7-4)

I understand the math and all, but can't the Big 12 just suspend its rules and send Iowa State to the title game? We all want to see the OU-ISU rematch. Why are you preventing us from being happy, Big 12?