Big Ten Wonk
Saturday, January 08, 2005
COMING Monday....
Updated PPWS numbers for the best and worst of 70-odd Big Ten starters and key reserves. Will Minnesota who-dat Brent Lawson still be number 1? Will Purdue's David Teague and Illinois' Nick Smith still be co-anchor-men? Tune in Monday!

In today's less Wonk-ish venues....
Indiana hosts Wisconsin tonight. Bad sign: today's game-day article in the Indianapolis Star by indefatigable Hoosier beat writer Terry Hutchens includes, as it always does, a sidebar listing today's probable starters, their stats, team summaries, etc. Today, however, that sidebar also includes details on Mike Davis's contract with IU. ("A coaching change would be costly," Hutchens notes, "$737,500.") Hutchens says a "combination of last year's 14-15 record, last month's six-game losing streak and Wednesday's 21-point loss to Northwestern" has caught the attention of Indiana Athletic Director Rick Greenspan. (Badger link here.)

Purdue hosts Illinois today. (Boiler links here and here. Illini links here and here. Farewell profile of Gene Keady by Skip Myslenski of the Chicago Tribune here.) Purdue is 2-14 all-time against number 1 teams. (Wonk loves this stat--isn't every team something like 2-14 against number 1?) "We watch Illinois a lot," says Gene Keady. "I like to watch their team. They are really entertaining and I'm proud of what Bruce has done. Unfortunately, they are in the same league....It was dumb of me to recommend one of my ex-assistants to play in the same league. A lot of stuff I'm doing lately is not very smart. I think loyalty has been stupid. Our scheduling this year was stupid. It has not been a real smart year on my part."

Ohio State hosts Iowa today. (Buckeye link here. Hawkeye links here, here, and here.)

Michigan State hosts Northwestern today. (Spartan link here. Wildcat link here.) Northwestern will be without the services of Davor Duvancic, sidelined with T.J. Parker-like flu-like symptoms.

Minnesota hosts Penn State tonight. (Gopher link here. PSU link here.) Minneapolis Star Tribune columnist Patrick Reusse says Gopher coach Dan Monson has succeeded this season by doing things his own way. For his part Monson, modestly yet accurately, adds that a very soft non-conference schedule certainly hasn't hurt, either.

Also tonight: Michigan hosts Fairfield.

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