"Big Ten" tag

No. 23 Iowa tops Ohio St. 77-73 in Big Ten semis (The Associated Press)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Theairra Taylor scored 21 points and made a go-ahead layup with 1:32 left as fifth-seeded and No. 23-ranked Iowa held on for a 77-73 win over eighth-seeded Ohio State on Saturday in the semifinals of the Big Ten tournament.After…

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Big Ten title out of reach, Buckeyes shift focus (The Associated Press)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — For the first time in five years, the 22nd-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes hit the middle of February with no shot at a Big Ten regular-season title.

Buckeyes seeking answers after consecutive losses (The Associated Press)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — After Ohio State lost its second game in a row last Sunday, coach Thad Matta noticed in the locker room that freshman Marc Loving was obviously discouraged.Matta approached him and said, ”Hey, my man. This isn’t going to be the only time in your career you’re at a low point. Trust me. It happens. That’s the reality for me when I’ve been coaching as long as I have.”The thing we’re trying to find is, how do we get back to playing our consistent – our best – basketball?”Matta has been preaching this week that the Buckeyes shouldn’t – and can’t afford to – dwell on the defeats. After all, it seems there’s always another major Big Ten test right around the corner.Matta, Loving and the rest of the Buckeyes are trying to pick themselves up off the mat. Whether or not they have been successful in pushing away the negatives will likely determine the outcome of their game at Minnesota (13-4, 2-2 Big Ten) on Thursday night.Judging from the mood of the players, Matta’s upbeat approach is apparently getting through. View gallery Ohio State’s Lenzelle Smith, left, tries to dunk the ball over Iowa’s Aaron White during the … ”We were all down at first. We were pretty upset by the way we’ve been playing lately,” point guard Shannon Scott said. ”But we’re starting to get back our winner’s mentality now. We’re all positive. We all know what we have to do to be successful again, so we’re sticking with that and we’re going to try to move on from there.”After climbing to No. 3 in the nation, the Buckeyes fought back from a 17-point deficit at No. 5 Michigan State before falling in overtime 72-68 on Jan. 7. Then they blew a nine-point second half lead in losing at home to No. 20 Iowa 84-74 on Sunday.Now the 11th-ranked Buckeyes (15-2, 2-2) are trying to answer a lot of questions – and doubts – when they step on the court at dark and drafty Williams Arena.One of the big messages Matta has discussed is that this isn’t new ground for an Ohio State team.Just two years ago, the Buckeyes lost three out of five games in one stretch in February – two of them at home – yet still rebounded to go 31-8 and make it to the Final Four.Last season, they followed a similar scenario. They lost two in a row to ranked opponents, then two games later were routed at Wisconsin, 71-49. But that team reeled off wins in its next 11 games to capture the Big Ten tournament championship and come within a narrow loss to Wichita State of making it to the Final Four once again.”The last two years we did a good job of getting back to doing what we do,” said junior sixth man Sam Thompson. ”We weren’t really ourselves this past week on the court. So we want to make a point to play our game in Minnesota – to make sure we’re mentally ready to come out and play 40 minutes of Ohio State basketball.”Ohio State has won the last six meetings with the Golden Gophers of first-year coach Richard Pitino, the son of the legendary Louisville coach, Rick Pitino.The Buckeyes, averaging just over 10 turnovers a game over their winning streak, totaled 38 in the defeats. They’ve spent extra time working to avoid those errors in practice this week, in addition to preventing defensive lapses.They’ll have more than 100 hours to get over the most recent loss.”We definitely don’t think it’s the end of the world,” Thompson said. ”We don’t like losing. But there’s always a chance for improving.”—Follow Rusty Miller on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/RustyMillerAPSports & RecreationAmerican FootballOhio StateThad Matta

Season wrap: Illinois

The program hasn’t returned to respectability yet in the Big Ten, but at least Illinois was able to get back in the win column before the season was over. There were some signs outside of conference play that the rebuilding job might be ahead of schedule for the Illini, but once they got back inside the league, there wasn’t much to feel good about until a late victory over Purdue ended an ugly 20-game losing streak in the Big Ten.

The good news for Illinois is that skid is over. The bad news moving forward is it must replace do-it-all quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase as it closes the book on 2013 and tries to get back into a bowl game in 2014.

Offensive MVP: QB Nathan Scheelhaase. Through all the rough patches and the piles of defeats, the Illini did know they could always rely on Scheelhaase to provide some entertainment and plenty of production leading the attack. With a final 300-yard passing outing to close the season, Scheelhaase broke the school record for total offense previously held by Juice Williams, another indicator of just how much he’s given the program over the last few years.

Defensive MVP: LB Jonathan Brown. Wherever the football was, Brown was a safe bet to be nearby as he did everything he could to help the Illini turn things around defensively. He led the team in total tackles (119), tackles for loss (15) and sacks (5), and for good measure the senior added a forced fumble and an interception as another veteran at least went out on a personal high note for Illinois.

Best moment: The future looked mighty bright after two games, particularly on the heels of a 45-17 throttling of a Cincinnati team that would eventually go on to win nine games. Scheelhaase produced four touchdowns as the offense exploded, Mason Monheim paced an aggressive defensive performance with a pair of tackles for loss and everything appeared to be trending in the right direction. The buzz was short lived, and it would never be that positive again for the Illini.

Worst moment: The gap between the Big Ten’s elite programs was never likely to shrink that much this season, so blowout scores against division champions like Michigan State and Ohio State weren’t much of a surprise. But the struggles against the rest of the pack were troubling, most notably a 37-34 loss at home to end the season against Northwestern. The Wildcats had been ravaged by injuries and hadn’t won a conference game all year, and dropping that decision a week after ending the epic losing streak wasn’t a strong way to capitalize on any momentum the Illini might have had heading into the offseason.

Covers Ohio State and the Big Ten.Joined ESPN in 2012.Attended the University of Wyoming.

Iowa-Ohio St. Preview (The Associated Press)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Iowa coach Fran McCaffery is coming back from a one-game banishment.It remains to be seen if No. 3 Ohio State’s swagger also returns after its first loss of the season.”There’s two ways we can go,” Buckeyes defensive dervish Aaron Craft said. ”Obviously, we want to try to win every game and we’re a competitive group. But the worst thing we can do is turn that loss into two.”McCaffery’s Big Ten-mandated suspension for his blow-up with the officials in a loss at No. 4 Wisconsin on Sunday is behind him. He’ll be on the sideline when the 20th-ranked Hawkeyes travel to play the Buckeyes on Sunday afternoon.Iowa (13-3, 2-1) has already rebounded from that loss to the Badgers, taking it out on Northwestern 93-67 on Thursday.Soon after that game ended, assistant Kirk Speraw, who filled in for McCaffery, said the Hawkeyes had their work cut out for them when they take on the Buckeyes (15-1, 2-1). View gallery Iowa assistant coach Kirk Speraw, left, huddles with players Jarrod Uthoff (20), Josh Oglesby and Za … ”We need a lot of things in Columbus,” he said. ”We need great defense, taking good care of the basketball, shooting the ball well, rebounding the ball well. I mean, that’s one of the better teams in the country, obviously, and so it’s just another step in our journey down the Big Ten schedule.”The Hawkeyes were clinging to the lead against the Badgers in Madison on Sunday when McCaffery was hit with two technicals. He stormed after the officials, briefly making contact with one. In the wake of that 75-71 loss, the Big Ten decreed he sit out a game.”I lost my cool, and you can’t do that,” he said in apologizing later. ”My passion and energy come from a good place. I want my players to play that way.”At the same time, a lot of eyes will be trained on the Buckeyes to see if they can bounce back after a 72-68 overtime defeat at No. 5 Michigan State on Tuesday night.Ohio State’s players and coach Thad Matta realize that they cannot afford a second straight slip. View gallery Ohio State’s Aaron Craft, left, puts up a layup against Michigan State’s Adreian Payne durin … Matta was reminded that a year ago the Buckeyes were in the thick of the Big Ten race in early February when they lost (in overtime) at another school from the state up north, No. 3 Michigan, 76-74. They returned home and were practically run out of their own gym by No. 1 Indiana, 81-68.”I mean, Indiana was No. 1 in the country at the time. And Iowa is kind of …,” Matta hesitated. When a reporter said, ”Good?” he smiled and continued. ”Yeah. That’s just something we addressed in terms of an overtime loss on the road

Biggest Lessons Ohio State Needs to Learn from Michigan State Loss

“There is no better than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance the next time.” Malcolm X Similar words should be plastered all over the Ohio State Buckeyes locker room in the wake of Tuesday night’s 72-68 loss to their Big Ten Conference foe Michigan State Spartans. The Buckeyes’ frantic second-half rally pushed the game to overtime, but MSU had more left in the tank. OSU’s first defeat of the year left a more sour taste than usual in the mouth of coach Thad Matta. “Yeah, I’m proud we came back, but we weren’t as sharp as we needed to be to start the game,” Matta said to the Toledo Blade’s David Briggs. “We can’t come on the road and have 21 turnovers. We had shots to win the game.” Neither coach was terribly happy after the game, with Michigan State’s Tom Izzo fuming over the late-game collapse, and Matta concerned that a wild comeback was needed at all. As the man said, however, the loss carries multiple learning tips for the Buckeyes as they load up for the remainder of the Big Ten schedule. Be Punctual Those 21 turnovers that Matta alluded to were by far a season high for Ohio State. The vast majority—17, already breaking the previous high against Morgan State—came in the game’s first 32 minutes, helping stake Sparty to that 55-38 lead. From there, the Buckeye mistakes slowed to a trickle as if someone had found the valve to turn off a flooding…

Braxton Miller confirms return for 2014

Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller made it official Thursday night, announcing that he will return for his senior season. Miller’s return had been widely reported last week. Colleague Austin Ward weighed in here. “I want to help this team win a Big Ten championship next year,” Miller said in a prepared statement. “Plus, I want to improve as a quarterback in all aspects of my game. I’m looking forward to working for another year with Coach Urban Meyer and Coach Tom Herman. And I want to graduate, so this will help get me closer to my academic goal.”

Miller, who has won Big Ten offensive player of the year the past two seasons, always had been expected to stay but did consider a jump to the NFL, in part because of his young son. Miller has a record seven individual Big Ten awards, including back-to-back Silver Football league MVPs. No Big Ten player has won three Silver Footballs or offensive player of the year awards.

Miller needs 2,256 passing yards and six more passing touchdown to become Ohio State’s all-time career leader in both categories.

So no surprise here, but good news for Ohio State entering the long offseason.

ESPN.com Big Ten reporter. Joined ESPN.com in 2008. Graduate of Northwestern University.

Big Ten’s lunch links

Penn State must be cramming a century’s worth of silly seasons into one. Welcome to the party. The search for a coach at Penn State is overshadowing another important vacancy at the school, one that will have an impact that’s more than just on the football field.

An evening flight back to town for Penn State athletic director Dave Joyner drew a crowd, but it didn’t bring a resolution just yet for filling the void left by Bill O’Brien’s departure.

Michigan started a busy day of its own on the coaching front by firing offensive coordinator Al Borges after the Wolverines finished No. 47 in scoring last season.

Brady Hoke capped the day by snatching away Alabama offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier just a few hours later to quickly move on from Borges.

Vonn Bell was given the chance to show his stuff in a meaningful game at the Discover Orange Bowl, and it confirmed how bright the Ohio State safety’s future is with the program.

The possible hiring of Bobby Petrino at Louisville is another bullet dodged if Michigan State is going to hang on to defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi, who was once again a prime candidate for an attractive job.

The fake Bo Pelini speaks.

The projections of his draft stock aren’t all that high, but Indiana receiver Cody Latimer felt he was ready for the next level and isn’t looking back on his decision.

Maryland lost its second assistant since the regular season ended to a head-coaching job after wide receivers coach and ace recruiter Lee Hull left for Morgan State. The Terrapins currently have three vacancies on the staff as they prepare for their first season in the Big Ten.

Purdue will have a minor behind-the-scenes shakeup after assistant recruiting coordinator Kevin Maurice, credited by coach Darrell Hazell for his work in the transition a year ago, left for a job at North Dakota.

Covers Ohio State and the Big Ten.Joined ESPN in 2012.Attended the University of Wyoming. Tags:Purdue Boilermakers, Penn State Nittany Lions, Michigan State Spartans, Indiana Hoosiers, Ohio State Buckeyes, Michigan Wolverines, Big Ten, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Maryland Terrapins, Pat Narduzzi, Brady Hoke, Bo Pelini, Bobby Petrino, Darrell Hazell, Al Borges, Cody Latimer, Dave Joyner, Bill O’Brien, Vonn Bell, Doug Nussmeier

If Ohio State’s Noah Spence Sues the Big Ten, How Will That Impact B1G’s Image?

When news first broke of Ohio State Buckeyes defensive end Noah Spence’s suspension, something just didn’t add up. Now we know why. Noah Spence didn’t get a three-game suspension for a dietary supplement, like was first reported. Rather, he was suspended for testing positive for “a small amount of ecstasy” in a random drug test prior to the Big Ten Championship game, according to an interview with Spence’s father by WHTM-ABC27 in Harrisburg, Pa. That’s only half the story, though, as the report also indicates that Spence’s family is also considering suing the Big Ten over how it classifies ecstasy. Whether or not the lawsuit happens or has a chance to work is for another time. Today, the question is: Will the Big Ten stick to its guns on how it classifies the drug going forward? It may seem like a matter of semantics, but it is an important question because the answer may affect what seems to matter most in this day and age, its image. See, the Big Ten classifies it as a performance-enhancing drug, while the NCAA classifies it as a street drug. The latter carries with it a far less harsh penalty, while the violation of the Big Ten’s performance-enhancing drug policy carries an automatic one-year suspension. Spence’s family, backed by Ohio State, already won an appeal of the original one-year suspension, according to WHTM’s report. An apparent second appeal went nowhere fast, hence the consideration of a lawsuit to get the rest…

Father says Spence’s suspension is unjust

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The father of Ohio State’s Noah Spence says his son unknowingly ingested the drug ecstasy and that the Big Ten unjustly suspended the sophomore defensive end.Spence was suspended for Ohio State’s Orange Bowl loss and must sit out the first two games of the 2014 season. His father, Greg Spence, has told several media outlets that someone apparently slipped the drug into a drink without Noah knowing it the week before the Big Ten title game on Dec. 7.Ohio State backed the Spences’ appeal. Greg Spence said the Big Ten initially wanted to suspend his son for a season but then determined Ecstasy is not a performance-enhancing drug but rather a stimulant. The Big Ten denied an appeal to drop the suspension.Spence led the Buckeyes in sacks.American FootballSports & Recreation

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