Big Ten basketball season begins tonight with UW and UM in actionRegional Sports
-- The University of Wisconsin and University of Minnesota men's basketball teams kick-off another season of Big Ten play this evening.
The University of Wisconsin and University of Minnesota men's basketball teams kick-off another season of Big Ten play this evening.
The University of Minnesota men's basketball team opens Big Ten play tonight at Illinois with the tip-off at 6:30 p.m.. Golden Gopher head coach Tubby Smith says the Illini will be tough competition. He says the Fighting Iillini's 7-1 center Meyers Leonard is one of the best big men in the country and D.J. Richardson is a great scorer. Ralph Sampson III and Rodney Williams are the only Gophers that have played at Champaign and Sampson plans to help the young guys adjust to Big Ten play on the road. Minnesota is 12-1 in non-conference play despite the loss of All-Big Ten power forward Trevor Mbakwe while Illinois has an 11-2 record.
Just as in football the University of Wisconsin men's basketball team welcomes Nebraska's basketball team to the Big 10. Although this time UW will be on the road at the 14,327-seat Bob Deveany Center, considered one of the traditionally tough venues to play at when Nebraska was in the Big 12. The Cornhuskers are 8-3 overall and are led in scoring by senior point guard Bo Spencer at 16 points per game. While UNL hasn't been to the NCAA Tournament since 1998, Nebraska does lead the all-time series against UW 10-6 including a 6-1 margin in Lincoln. The team's last meeting was back in 1998 at the Great Alaskan Shootout tournament where the Badgers won easily 74-41.
Bo Ryan's Badgers moved up two places in the latest AP media poll, and three spots in the USA Today/ESPN coaches' poll. The Badgers are 11-2 overall, and will open their Big Ten schedule tonight at Nebraska. Marquette fell out of the Top-10 in both surveys, after losing at LSU eight days ago. The Golden Eagles are now ranked 14th by the media and 13th by the coaches. Marquette was 10th in the both polls a week ago. The Eagles' next game is on Thursday night at home against Vanderbilt. In the AP women's poll, UW-Green Bay remains at No.18. The Phoenix' win over Wisconsin on Friday night improved UWGB's record to 10-0. They'll return to Horizon League play on Thursday night at home against Illinois-Chicago. The next game for the Badger women is on Friday at home against Ohio State as Big Ten's women's play gets underway this week as well.