Sports editor Jim Rossow doesn't have Illinois winning at Nebraska on Tuesday. Fortunately, he's coming off a really bad week and probably is wrong. Here's his weekly Big Ten breakdown:
W L W L ON THE MENU THEY’D BE ...
Wisconsin 4 0 13 4 Beef stew (hearty)
Michigan 4 1 17 1 Hot wings (good ‘n plenty)
Michigan State 4 1 15 3 Meatloaf (substance over style)
Indiana 3 1 15 2 Barbecue ribs (hot ‘n sloppy)
Ohio State 3 1 13 3 Smoothie (tasty treat)
Minnesota 3 2 15 3 Beef jerky (tough)
Purdue 3 2 9 8 Peanut butter (sticks to ribs)
Northwestern 2 3 11 7 Tilapia (brain food)
Iowa 1 3 12 5 Gouda cheese (better with age)
Illinois 1 4 14 5 Eggnog (good around Christmas)
Nebraska 0 5 9 9 Red Jell-O (wobbly)
Penn State 0 5 8 9 Eggs (must be beat)
Want to know which of this week’s games are worth a look? Here’s the scoop from sports editor JIM ROSSOW, who got dumped by his imaginary girlfriend after going 5-6 last week:
Nebraska at Penn State, noon, ESPNU
Loser has to start worrying about finishing winless in the Big Ten. The last sorry bunch to do that was Northwestern in 1999-2000 (0-16).
Rossow’s pick: Penn State, 52-50
West Virginia at Purdue, 1 p.m., WCIA (CBS)
A.J. Hammons (10.6, 6.4, 2.0) is one of two freshmen in a BCS conference averaging at least 10 points, six rebounds and two blocks per game. Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel is the other.
Rossow’s pick: West Virginia, 65-63
No. 15 Ohio State at No. 18 Michigan State, 5 p.m., ESPN
Hoopeston hero Thad Matta has a winning record against every Big Ten team except Bo Ryan’s Badgers (9-10) and Tom Izzo’s Spartans (8-8). But Matta has won in three of his last four trips to Breslin Center.
Rossow’s pick: Michigan State, 73-71
Wisconsin at Iowa, 7 p.m., BTN
Hawkeyes will pay tribute to the late Chris Street on the 20th anniversary of his death. “I am sure it will be emotional,” senior Eric May said. “We have to rise above that and use it as fuel and play even harder.”
Rossow’s pick: Iowa, 64-61
No. 2 Indiana at Northwestern, noon, BTN
Don’t expect the Hoosiers’ run in the rankings (23 straight weeks, longest stretch since 71 in a row from 1989 to ‘94) to end any time soon. Four members of Tom Crean’s Class of 2013 — Luke Fischer, Stanford Robinson, Noah Vonleh, Troy Williams — have been named 2013 McDonald’s All-America nominees.
Rossow’s pick: Indiana, 80-67
Iowa at No. 15 Ohio State, 5:30 p.m., BTN
Hawkeyes relying heavily on freshmen (26 percent of team’s scoring, 46 percent of assists), which might not be a good thing in Columbus (see: Michigan). Especially vulnerable is Iowa’s all-rookie backcourt of Anthony Clemmons and Mike Gesell).
Rossow’s pick: Ohio State, 77-69
No. 18 Michigan State at Wisconsin, 6 p.m., ESPN
Hard to believe Kohl Center turned 15 years old Friday. The joint’s certainly been good to Bo Ryan, who has won 92 percent of his games there, including 86-9 in Big Ten play.
Rossow’s pick: Wisconsin, 64-61
No. 23 Illinois at Nebraska, 7:30 p.m., BTN
Don’t expect the Cornhuskers to rattle easily (they set a school record against Purdue by committing two turnovers). Much credit goes to Dylan Talley, who has a 6-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio since moving to point guard three games ago.
Rossow’s pick: Nebraska, 58-55
Penn State at No. 2 Indiana, 6 p.m., BTN
As Gene Hackman was to “Hoosiers,” Al Pacino will be to “Happy Valley,” an upcoming movie about the Jerry Sandusky scandal. Pacino will play the role of Joe Paterno in a film directed by Brian De Palma.
Rossow’s pick: Indiana, 88-54
No. 9 Minnesota at Northwestern, 8 p.m., BTN
And you thought attendance was lousy for football games in Evanston? Wildcats rank last in the Big Ten (6,030) despite opposing teams bringing tons of fans.
Rossow’s pick: Minnesota, 69-65
Purdue at No. 5 Michigan, 6 p.m., ESPN
Rejuvenated Boilermakers have dominated the series lately, winning six of eight including their last trip to Crisler when Michigan was ranked 11th and celebrating Senior Night.
Rossow’s pick: Michigan, 74-68
Brandon Paul 1
Tracy Abrams 2
D.J. Richardson 5
Nnanna Egwu 3
Malcolm Hill —
Rossow’s take: Hill’s making the most of his senior season at Belleville East. The Illinois signee is among the leaders for N-G All-State Player of the Year, which last was awarded to a St. Louis-area star in 2000 (East St. Louis’ Darius Miles).
Big Ten MVP
STAR, SCHOOL PREVIOUS
Trey Burke, Michigan 1
Cody Zeller, Indiana 2
Deshaun Thomas, Ohio State 3
Andre Hollins, Minnesota 4
Tim Hardaway Jr., Michigan —
Rossow’s take: ESPN’S “College GameDay” will be on hand for the first Burke-Zeller showdown Feb. 2 at the other Assembly Hall. It’s the only Big Ten game on the 2013 “GameDay” schedule. Expect throaty boos for new cast member Jalen Rose.
Freshman of the Year
ROOKIE, SCHOOL PREVIOUS
A.J. Hammons, Purdue 4
Glenn Robinson III, Michigan 1
Gary Harris, Michigan State 2
Ronnie Johnson, Purdue —
Yogi Ferrell, Indiana 5
Rossow’s take: Johnson has been key in Boilermakers winning five of their last seven, averaging 10.0 points, 4.5 assists and 4.3 rebounds.
Coach of the Year
BOSS, SCHOOL PREVIOUS
Bo Ryan, Wisconsin —
John Beilein, Michigan 3
Tom Izzo, Michigan State 5
Tubby Smith, Minnesota 1
John Groce, Illinois 2
Rossow’s take: Since Ryan took over, the Badgers have the best Big Ten road record (64-62) in the league. Did you know he’s tied with John Wooden on the all-time wins list (664)?
Sixth Man of the Year
SUB, SCHOOL PREVIOUS
Adreian Payne, Michigan State 2
Sam Dekker, Wisconsin —
Mitch McGary, Michigan 4
Will Sheehey, Indiana 1
Joseph Bertrand, Illinois 3
Rossow’s take: Ask Brandon Paul about Dekker’s athletic ability. Dekker’s dunk against the Illini helped him become the first Badger to win Big Ten Freshman of the Week.
By the numbers
This week: All-6-foot-and-under
Trey Burke, Michigan 6-0
Jordan Hulls, Indiana 6-0
Ronnie Johnson, Purdue 6-0
Yogi Ferrell, Indiana 6-0
Benny Parker, Nebraska 5-9
Rossow’s take: A Kansas City-area star, Parker became the 10th freshman to start a season opener for Nebraska since 1995. Bo Pelini would like that he hasn’t missed a game despite knee and foot injuries.
Teams in the NCAA field
Ohio State Lock
Michigan State Lock
Rossow’s take: The Buckeyes are consistently good because they avoid prolonged slumps. They’ve gone 115 games without consecutive losses, the second-longest streak behind Kansas (259 games).