Big Ten Basketball

 Auburn (-1.5) beats Oregon 22-19 for BCS Championship
Hurley misses with Oregon, but easily wins (Under 72.5)
Congratulations to both Auburn and Jim Hurley's Network for a championship college football season!

Elon (-4) UNC-Greensboro 80-65 WON




When you talk about the most hyped college basketball conferences, the ACC with Duke and North Carolina, and the Big East with several Eastern powers are generally at the top of the list. ESPN is based on the East Coast. The ACC has a long history of success to such a degree that Duke and North Carolina could almost be called 'America's Teams' like the Dallas Cowboys in the NFL.

The Big Ten is usually third on that list. They're on TV a lot...and they do have consistent representation in the Final Four over the years. But THIS YEAR'S BIG TEN may supplant the ACC in betting interest by quite a good bit.

That's because:

*North Carolina has fallen off the pace a bit, and Duke literally has nobody who's seen as a threat to unseat them at the top of the ACC. It's not shaping up as an entertaining year in that league.

*The Big Ten has several quality teams who are likely to be forces during MARCH MADNESS.

*The Big Ten has significant TV exposure with their ESPN contract and their own Big Ten Network which is seen on cable systems all over the country.

*Las Vegas has several sharps and media types from the Midwest (particularly Chicago), which means oddsmakers really have to stay on their toes to avoid being a step behind the market.

Here's how the Big Ten fares in the most recent Associated Press rankings:

2...Ohio State
18...Michigan State

That may not seem all that great. But, it's important to remember that the rankings are heavily influenced by won-lost records...and the Big Ten powers tend to schedule tough early in the season to get on TV. Also, some of these teams have run into each other already.

If you look at respected Power Ratings, it's a different story.We won't post our Network Power Ratings because we use those for clients. Here are a few you can find on the web:

*Ken Pomeroy's rankings at have Ohio State, Purdue, and Wisconsin all in the top nine, and everyone but Minnesota in the top 25. Note that Minnesota has had some personnel issues that hurt them early, but create the possibility to close well.

*Jeff Sagarin's rankings at in the sports section have Ohio State and Purdue in the top five, with Wisconsin and Illinois also in the top 18.

We should also point out that Michigan isn't considered to be in the top half, yet they just took Kansas to overtime this past Sunday in a national TV game (that you may have missed because it was on at the same time as Packers/Eagles). Northwestern just took Michigan State right down to the wire in a recent TV game too. Penn State BEAT Michigan State this past Saturday.

So, that's SIX teams in the AP top 30, and three more teams who are clearly dangerous. That only leaves Indiana and Iowa for everyone to beat up on!

Come March, this is going to be a battle tested conference with tons of big game experience. As long as they haven't beat each other up too badly, I expect the Big 10 to be a major factor in the Dance. And, that means YOU should be studying them very closely RIGHT NOW! If you haven't, but still want a strong play on tonight's Wisconsin-Michigan State ESPN game, along with an SEC battle between Florida and Tennessee, you can click here and get tonight's parlay for just $15.

On tap the next few days:

Wisconsin at Michigan State on ESPN (big game!)
Illinois at Penn State on the Big 10 Network

Ohio State at Michigan on the Big 10 Network (classic rivalry)
Northwestern at Iowa on the Big 10 Network

Purdue at Minnesota on ESPN2

Northwestern at Michigan State on the Big 10 Network
Illinois at Wisconsin on the Big 10 Network (big game!)
Penn State at Ohio State on the Big 10 Network
Michigan at Indiana on the Big 10 Network

Iowa at Minnesota on the Big 10 Network



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