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Golden Nugz for 2.2.09

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The sports world, by and large, has been focused on the Super Bowl the lats two weeks. College basketball pundits and talking heads obsess over the Big East.

Everyone's missing a great story in the nation's heartland--one hell of a Big Ten basketball season. Here's how the South Bend Tribune put it Sunday morning, hours before Michigan State and Penn State put on a show in East Lansing.

The Big Ten basketball race is quickly eroding into a series of physical brawls. Last Tuesday, it was Wisconsin’s Joe Krabbenhoft decking Lewis Jackson of Purdue with a pick that came with an elbow. Jackson missed Saturday’s game with a concussion. Last Wednesday, Michigan’s Zack Novak delivered an elbow to an Ohio State player that was flagrant enough for Novak to have been suspended for the trip to Purdue.

Saturday, it was Michigan’s Manny Harris knocking Kramer silly, leading to Harris’ ejection from the game and what Kramer called a broken nose.

After Harris' ejection, Michigan had no chance against Purdue. And a day later, Talor Battle went nuts and Penn State went on the road against Tom Izzo's Spartans--though it must be it was a Raymar Morgan-less Spartans team--and pulled the upset.

NittanyWhiteOut has a message for NCAA tournament prognosticators. Black Shoe Diaries notes it was Penn State's first ever win in East Lansing.

All this means the top of the Big Ten is as tight as can be, with five teams separated by one game in the loss column. And the conference's next big game?

Minnesota at Michigan State on Wednesday night. I can't wait. 

  • Over the last few weeks, we've seen stories about Ralph Sampson III putting in the extra hours in the gym. It has shown. He's also been leaning on this father for advice, according to Grandpa Sid of the Star Tribune.
  • Baseball Prospectus has a Q&A with former men's hockey player Blake Wheeler, who is having quite the rookie season for the Boston Bruins.
  • Rick Bozich of the Louisville Courier-Journal--who blogs more about Tubby Smith than the Minneeapolis beat writer--states the Gophers should be tournament bound if they finish 4-5 down the stretch or better. I think they could do 5-4 or maybe 6-3.
  • The Ohio State Buckeyes, who held off a game Hoosiers team over the weekend, are still aways off from seeing David Lighty return to the floor according to the Columbus Post-Dispatch.
  • ESPN's Adam Rittenberg has an interesting blog post on the conference's football scheduling. Apparently "2009 marks the start of a new scheduling rotation. Big Ten teams will play the same league opponents in 2009 and 2010 and have the same two byes, or no-plays." Read more here.