Big Ten

Big Ten basketball roundup: Four wins give B1G a Challenge victory

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Big Ten basketball roundup: Four wins give B1G a Challenge victory

A roundup of Big Ten basketball action from Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015:

Notre Dame 84, Illinois 79

The Illini had a 10-point lead in the early stages of the second half, but the final 20 minutes were dominated by the Irish, who took advantage of ice-cold Illinois offense and poor Illinois defense to shoot 57.1 percent and score 51 points in the second half to spoil the Illini’s housewarming party. Illinois missed all but three of its first 21 shots of the second half, shooting 35.1 percent in the period. Malcolm Hill finished with 19 to lead the Illini, with Jalen Coleman-Lands, Michael Finke and Kendrick Nunn also scoring in double figures.

Duke 94, Indiana 74

It was Duke domination for the vast majority, with a mid-first-half run of 17-5 turning a six-point Indiana lead into a six-point Duke lead. That grew as big as 13 in the first half, and a 13-2 Devils run to open the second half had the lead at an even 20. The Hoosiers didn’t get closer than 18 the rest of the way. Both teams shot well, better than 50 percent, but Duke had a rebounding advantage of 13, including 19 offensive boards and 26 second-chance points. Troy Williams had 17 points to lead Indiana, with Yogi Ferrell and James Blackmon Jr. also in double figures.

[MORE BIG TEN: Illini's housewarming party crashed in loss to Notre Dame]

Iowa 78, Florida State 75

Mike Gesell split a pair of free throws in the final minute of regulation that could have forced Florida State to hoist a 3 to tie. Instead, the Seminoles tied the game at 63 with two free throws, and the Hawkeyes blew their chance at a game-winning shot, turning the ball over in the final seconds. The teams traded leads throughout overtime until Peter Jok’s 3 with 26 seconds left made it 74-72. Jarrod Uthoff hit four free throws from there to hold off the Noles. Jok had 24 points to lead Iowa, which scored 19 points from the free-throw line.

Michigan State 71, Louisville 67

Sparty looked ugly early, missing all but three of its first 14 shots and turning the ball over 11 times in the first half. Louisville couldn’t capitalize, though, ahead by just three at the half. Michigan State charged in the second half, finally getting a lead with under seven minutes to go. The Spartans took command from there, getting 11 points from Denzel Valentine in the final five-ish minutes. Valentine finished with 25, and Bryn Forbes had 20, hitting five 3-pointers. Deyonta Davis was big with nine points and six rebounds, and Goins had five points and 13 rebounds.

[MORE BIG TEN: Poor defense in loss to Notre Dame an unfortunate trend for Illini]

Penn State 67, Boston College 58

Shep Garner was astounding, scoring 30 points and knocking down eight 3-pointers in the Nittany Lions’ win. Penn State allowed just 28 second-half points, outscoring Boston College by 10 over the final 20 minutes, during which the Eagles shot just 36 percent. Penn State also changed their own shooting fortunes, shooting just 32 percent in the first half before shooting 57 percent in the second. Garner came one 3 away from tying the Penn State single-game record.

Wisconsin 66, Syracuse 58

The Badgers outscored the Orange, 13-5, in overtime to grab an impressive and unexpected road victory over the No. 14 team in the country. Continuing to confound, Wisconsin turned the ball over 20 times but out-rebounded Syracuse, 51-25, as the Orange shot just 35.7 percent on the night. Forwards Ethan Happ and Nigel Hayes had huge games for the Badgers, Happ scoring 18 points and grabbing 15 rebounds, also blocking three shots and grabbing a pair of steals, and Hayes scoring 15 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.

After all 14 games, the Big Ten won the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, 8-6.

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?