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Written by Andrew Coppens | 05 June 2012

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Increasingly news is broken via twitter these days and because of that it got us to thinking abouttwitter coming up with a list of the people and accounts you should be following.  Well, just as we got that idea our friends at scacchoops.com approached us ahead of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge announcement of that very thing involving the Big Ten.  As a result they've compiled a list that's about as extensive as possible and we are honored to be included on that.  You can find the entire list here, but here's a sampling of it below for your viewing pleasure this morning:

Blogs
1.  @HawkeyeNation – Jon Miller is publisher HawkeyeNation, an independent and free (e.g. non-pay) site. They cover University of Iowa Hawkeye athletics. 

2.  @bhgp – Black Heart Gold Pants is your SB Nation blog for all things Iowa Hawkeyes.

3.  @IllinoisLoyalty – Illinois Loyalty is a fan-centric Illini sports blog and message board that is run by Dan O’Brien.

4.  @crimsonquarry –Also on SBNation is the The Crimson Quarry, a major source for Indiana Hoosiers athletics.

5.  @InsideTheHall – Inside The Hall is an Indiana Hoosiers blog that is solely focused on men’s basketball.

6.  @UMGoBlog – Probably the most well known of all Michigan blogs is UMGoBlog. Your definitive source for Michigan Wolverines athletics. The. Best.

7.  @MazeBlueNation – Maize and Blue Nation is a Wolverine-based recommendation from @MTBadgers

8.  @spartansordie – Mike Wilson runs the Bloguin-based Michigan State Spartans blog, The Little Brother Blog. 

9.  @gopherhole – Gopher Hole is one of the more well-known University of Minnesota blogs on Gophers Athletics. Here is a great bio on @NadineBabu who runs Gopher Hole. 

10. @FromTheBarn – From the Barn is a University Minnesota Gophers blog that focuses specifically on men’s basketball.

Don't fret, we are on that list, but they went in alphabetical order, so make sure to check out the entire list as they also give you some of the best "mainstream media" accounts to follow and we can't argue against any of the accounts they put on.

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Written by Andrew Coppens | 04 June 2012

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In the college hockey world there's rivalries and then there's great games and our No. 70 represents both as the two teams that make up this game can normally find themselves at the top of the college hockey heap.  What teams am I talking about?

That would be WCHA foes North Dakota and Denver as they have easily one of the most intense rivalries out there and with the future switch by both schools to the eight team NCHC (National Collegiate Hockey Conference) after this upcoming season things are only going to get more intense as they play each other more often.  

Just how intense?  Well, take this quote from Denver head coach George Gwozdecky who responded to a question about UND just this past season by saying, "We respect them because they've had success, but we don't like them.  You want to drive them through the boards and through the walls of the arena."  

What makes this series so intense and full of hate is because of the stakes involved.  Usually a McNaughton Cup, WCHA Final Five championships, or even NCAA Frozen Fours are at stake when these two teams meet.  Both teams made the 2011 NCAA West regional in Green Bay and neither teams fans wanted any part of the other squad at first, but once that game became a reality, boy oh boy did the UND fans revel in the 6-1 victory over their hated rivals that got them to the Frozen Four.  

UND vs. DUThat game wasn't quite as good in the stands because the Denver fans really didn't show up in Green Bay, but seeing the venom and intensity of the Fighting Sioux fans towards the Pioneers was something I'll never forget having seen it in person.

For some people this is one of the rivalries inside the WCHA that may not jump right out at you, but those on the inside and/or having studied the conference know that this could very well be the biggest and best of all the rivalries out there, at least on the ice.

Overall the series stands at 134-116-8 in favor of North Dakota and both teams have combined for 6 WCHA regular season titles as well as a 1-1 record in NCAA Hockey Regional Finals.  This past season went the way of the Fighting Sioux as they split the two regular season matchups but took out the Pioneers 4-0 in the WCHA Final Five Championship game.  

With the changing landscape of college hockey coming with the Big Ten coming next season it's going to be great to see this kind of rivalry have a chance to shine in a way it hasn't in the past and in my book that can only be a good thing for college hockey in general.

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Written by Andrew Coppens | 04 June 2012

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It's been a relatively quiet month or so on the trail of Jarrod Uthoff's decision to transfer from Wisconsin, but that appears to be on the way to concluding according to our friends over at Cyclone Fanatic.  

uthoffThe report from them and from the Cedar Rapids Gazette states the decision for Uthoff's services comes down to Iowa State and Iowa.  

For those of you M.I.A. - the Hawkeyes are on the restricted list and therefore Uthoff would initially have to pay his own way and sit out next season as well as lose a year of eligibility, making it two seasons without competitive basketball for Uthoff who would then be a Sophomore in standing.  

Transferring to Iowa State has no such restrictions and therefore he would receive a scholarship as well as losing that year of eligibility since he redshirted last season. 

All I can really say is this one is about to get interesting, especially since Chris Williams has been right more than wrong on these issues and he sees the Cyclones as way behind the Hawkeyes for his services.  

If that does happen an already hyper-intense rivalry is about to take it up a notch to say the very least.  First it was Jason Bohannon not choosing Iowa and going to Wisconsin, then there is the matter of the recent on the court games that have been very close with Iowa sweeping the series last year.  Add in the fans storming to court at Carver-Hawkeye Arena to try and rub it in Wisconsin's faces and now this.... Um, ya, things are going to be VERY intense should it happen that way.  

Hey, best of luck to Uthoff in his future endeavors, but don't expect Badger fans to welcome you back to the Kohl Center with open arms during your years as a Hawkeye should that become your choice.

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Written by Andrew Coppens | 04 June 2012

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It's time we continue our look at the annual tradition that is the College Football Preview magazine as last week we looked at what Lindy's had to say about the Badgers and the Big Ten.  Today it's another one's turn in the hot seat.

Ahhh, it's finally in my hands... The end-all-be-all of college football preview magazines - Phil Steele's 2012 College Football Preview.  For those in the know this is the one preview magazine that ranks above any other.  It's simple, yet complex, and it's the college football geek's dream because it's full of actual data and reasoning.  

Gone are most of the fluffy writing as he doesn't waste time on vast prose or lots of gimmicks.  It's all about the FOOTBALL for Phil Steele, heck pick up the magazine and you'll see every single word written by the man himself.  It also happens to have the most accurate predictions of any magazine in the country and it's not exactly easy to do.

steele

So, needless to say when I got my hands on a copy today I was very excited to break this down from a Badgers perspective, so let's go ahead and dig right in.  

WARNING: This one is full of information, so if you don't like tons of information this may not be for you... But you are reading this, so I doubt this is an issue.

Overall: Steele ranks the Badgers 9th in the nation and here's how the Big Ten shapes up for Phil:

Legends Division: 

1. Nebraska Cornhuskers

1. Michigan Wolverines

1. Michigan State Spartans

4. Iowa Hawkeyes

5. Northwestern Wildcats

6. Minnesota Golden Gophers no comments

Read more...

Written by Andrew Coppens | 04 June 2012

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It's time we continue our look at the annual tradition that is the College Football Preview magazine as last week we looked at what Lindy's had to say about the Badgers and the Big Ten.  Today it's another one's turn in the hot seat.

Ahhh, it's finally in my hands... The end-all-be-all of college football preview magazines - Phil Steele's 2012 College Football Preview.  For those in the know this is the one preview magazine that ranks above any other.  It's simple, yet complex, and it's the college football geek's dream because it's full of actual data and reasoning.  

Gone are most of the fluffy writing as he doesn't waste time on vast prose or lots of gimmicks.  It's all about the FOOTBALL for Phil Steele, heck pick up the magazine and you'll see every single word written by the man himself.  It also happens to have the most accurate predictions of any magazine in the country and it's not exactly easy to do.

steele

So, needless to say when I got my hands on a copy today I was very excited to break this down from a Badgers perspective, so let's go ahead and dig right in.  

WARNING: This one is full of information, so if you don't like tons of information this may not be for you... But you are reading this, so I doubt this is an issue.

Overall: Steele ranks the Badgers 9th in the nation and here's how the Big Ten shapes up for Phil:

Legends Division: 

1. Nebraska Cornhuskers

1. Michigan Wolverines

1. Michigan State Spartans

4. Iowa Hawkeyes

5. Northwestern Wildcats

6. Minnesota Golden Gophers no comments

Read more...

Written by Andrew Coppens | 03 June 2012

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Today it's 30 down and 70 to go in our summer long journey through the best that college sports has to offer here on the MTB College Sports Bucket List.  Slotting in to the 71st position is an event that has produced many professional players, yet flies under the radar in a huge way.  Well, in 2013 that will change.  

But before we get in to the event we're talking about, don't forget to take a gander in to our 72nd game, one that should be near and dear to all Wisconsinites - The Battle for Paul Bunyan's Axe.  If you are surprised it's that low on our list, remember it's a bucket list and more than a few of us on staff have seen that game live before.

Now on to the rest of the countdown and today it's another NCAA Championship Event:

No. 71: NCAA Division II Elite Eight (DII Basketball): 

Every year this event seemingly gets better and better and a lot has to do with the coaching and talent on the court getting a lot better year by year.  However, it always falls under the radar because it takes place around the main event of the spring - the NCAA DI Tournament.  

The Elite Eight can feature future pros and future NBA stars, just ask the likes of Ben Wallace who took his Virginia Union team to the Elite Eight and many others who have gone on to stardom.

It's a unique event because it gets all eight teams in one area to play out the games and for those who may not have seen a D2 basketball game you just may come away surprised by the level that the game is played on.  

Overall, one of the smallest schools in the division - Kentucky Wesleyan (900 or so students) - leads the way with 8 DII National Championships, with now DI Evansville in 2nd with 5 titles to their name.  Many schools you may recognize as DI now have competed at and won national titles at this level including the all ready mentioned Aces, Cal State Bakersfield, UC Davis, Jacksonville State, South Dakota State, and Winston-Salem State.

It's quite clear once you watch any of the games that the games themselves can be very entertaining and that will certainly be the case in 2013 as the tournament runs in conjunction with the 75th anniversary celebration for the NCAA Tournament.  The Elite Eight will have a different look in 2013 as the regional finals and then Semi-finals will be played at one location.  However, all tournament finals will be played from the DIII to the DI level on the same weekend in Atlanta, making the stage and the exposure for the finals of these tournaments the most they've ever seen.  

Usually the tournament is relegated to CBS Sports Network with just the final airing on CBS in the afternoon before the DI Elite Eight games go, so if you want to check out the event make sure you don't do it this next year for the simple reason that it's not all one weekend and one event.  However, if you are in Atlanta for the DI Final Four give the final a look and I bet you'll find yourself wanting to watch more D2 basketball in the future. 

Some of the purest forms of the game, away from the bright lights and the crazy ego come out watching DII basketball and the chance to interact and see fans from all over the country converge on one spot make this one of the must see events on the NCAA calendar every year.

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Written by Andrew Coppens | 03 June 2012

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Saturday was the finale of the 2012 rowing season for both the men's and women's teams at the IRA National Championships.  Wisconsin has always been a national contender at this event and Saturday the Women's Varsity Four produced another National Championship for Bucky.  

The Varsity Four title was combined with a fourth place finish from the Varsity Eight boat for a great showing once again from Wisconsin.  The national championship was the 2nd straight for the Varsity Four while the Varsity Eight made it 13 straight years of no worse than a 4th place finish for the boat and 16th straight year of 5th or better.

Over on the men's side things weren't quite as successful as the team finished 8th at the national championships.  They metaled twice on the day, coming in 2nd in the varsity eight petite finals as well as in the open four event.  

The Badger men's rowing team competed in grand finals of the lightweight four and second varsity eight, finishing 3rd and 5th respectively.  

With the IRA Championships done and gone only Wisconsin track is left to complete it's season to close the book on the 2011-2012 season.  They will finish that starting June 6th at the NCAA Track & Field Championships in Des Moines, IA and we'll have you updated via Twitter & with recaps here!

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Written by Andrew Coppens | 02 June 2012

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There's rivalry, there's passion, and then there's this:  An Ohio State "fan" had to issue an apology after putting a $2,000 threat on the head of a Michigan committed recruit.  

All of this comes on the heels of that recruit, Logan Tulley-Tillman, sending out a picture of him burning a letter he received from OSU after his announced commitment to Michigan was posted on Twitter.

Of course the individual stated he meant the "$2,000 to whoever sidelines this kid permanently" as a joke, but even then... really, REALLY?  That's your idea of a joke?  

I mean, I get being a passionate fan - heck I wouldn't be writing this or any article for MTB if I wasn't - but there's passion and then there's pure stupidity!  Yikes.  It all goes back to a column I wrote a few months back, calling for people to stop stalking these kids on facebook and tweeting at them like they are their best friends.  

It's one thing to send them a congratualations, or give them a follow to see what their choice may be in the end, but seriously, leave the kids alone already!  There's something just super creepy about grown men seemingly trying to justify their "coolness" by "friending" 15, 16, 17 year old kids.  

Let them make their choices in peace.  It's one thing to contact them from a journalistic perspective like we've done to bring you, the fellow passionate fan, a perspective future Badger's thoughts on the process and what they like about Wisconsin.  But it's an entirely different thing for fans to harrass, threaten, browbeat, etc. these kids.  

Ask yourself this question?  When you were 17 what would you think about a bunch of grown men/women trying to influence your choice on where to go to school?  Chances are it wouldn't have much affect at all, but if it did it might only be a negative thing.  I know when I was that age I didn't want to do what everyone else was telling me to do.  In fact, many recruits have gone on record as saying this type of behavior has actually turned them off of playing for a particular school.  

Let this be a lesson to everyone out there: STOP HARRASSING RECRUITS!  In the end the irony of this particual situation is that a man who claims to be an Ohio State fan through and through is now going to be donating $2,000 to the University of Michigan.  Next time you think of tweeting something at a recruit, keep in mind it could cost you and your team dearly!

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Written by Nate Woelfel | 01 June 2012

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It's the most played rivalry in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

Since 1890, Wisconsin and Minnesota have been dueling it out on the gridiron. The history of the rivalry runs deep within each of the programs and the fans that follow them.

 The Gophers hold a 59-54-8 record in the all-time series. While the long stemming affair has taken place for over a century, the history of the prizes is relatively short.

In 1930, a Doctor by the name of R.B. Fouch created the "Slab of Bacon" a piece of black walnut wood that had a logo engraved on it that could look like an "M" or a "W" depending on which way it was displayed.  This prize was awarded to the winner of the annual meeting for the next 14 seasons. The Gophers were 11-3 in that time span.

Minnesota won the slab in 1943 by virtue of its 25-14 win over the Badgers in Minneapolis. However, then-Gophers head coach, Dr. George Hauser declined the trophy citing the trivial meaning of the game in the relation to the events taking place in World War II. The trophy then vanished only to be discovered in an athletic storage room during the 1994 renovation of Camp Randall Stadium. Every score from 1930-1970 had been placed on the back of the slab which is now displayed in the Wisconsin football office.

In 1948, the National W Club, the Wisconsin letter-winners organization, created Paul Bunyan's Axe, and began awarding it to the winner of the event. The axe is still the defining symbol of the rivalry to this day. The original axe, which was retired in 2003, had a side that was painted in each school's color with the team's logo. The results were recorded on its six-foot handle. The new axe, which was made in the likeness of the original trophy, was instituted in 2004.

Wisconsin is 37-24-3 against the Gophers in the "Axe Era." Since 1990 the Badgers are 17-5 against their arch-rival and have held the axe for the last eight seasons, the longest streak by any one team since the inception of the prize in 1948.

What makes this annual contest truly special is that both teams genuinely believe they have a shot to win every season. Regardless of records, the two teams have a history of bringing out the best in one another. Nearly half the 61 games that have not ended in a tie have been decided by a touchdown or less.

This rivalry is one of the healthiest in all of college athletics. Its competitiveness and tradition makes it a sight to be taken in by any true college sports fan.

 

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Written by Andrew Coppens | 01 June 2012

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Alright, by now we hope you know the drill.. it's another game you best know or already know in the world of college sports and for that you're in for a treat.. one that might be of the pickled variety!!  

After experiencing Hilton Magic yesterday it's about time you experience one of the most bitterly cold and bitter rivalries in college hockey... 

No. 73: Michigan Tech vs. Northern Michigan (DI Hockey): 

Luckily for most of the Badger fans in the population this is a rivalry that doesn't need much in the way of introduction.  However, if you need it... The Upper Peninsula of Michigan is home of two teams that have been in and out of conference affiliation with each other and will soon find themselves back in the same conference thanks to realignment.  

Don't confuse the Huskies (MTU) and the Wildcats (NMU) as twins, at least to those that go the universities.  Literally you can hear just about all of jokes between the schools in a great bar serving pickled eggs in Hancock.  However, the one thing that connects the teams is the fact that they compete in one of the most remote areas in all of DI college hockey, the shores of Lake Superior.

On the ice the Wildcats of NMU lead the series (one that's seen both be in the WCHA and CCHA) 65-48-5 over the Huskies of Michigan Tech.  It's a series that's only dated to 1979 but it's about as bitter as you can get. Incredibly Michigan Tech had one of their best seasons in the WCHA last year despite losing to the Wildcats in both games last season.

The fact that both schools are overlooked and the makeup of the schools are so different makes this rivalry so intense.  Off the ice it's quite common to see this series as a "house divided" situation as many students date people from the opposite school.

Not only that but UP bragging rights that tend to drip in to the northern or northeastern parts of Wisconsin make the series' between the two schools very well attended. 

Amazingly these two teams don't play for traveling trophy currently, however the bitterness between the schools can't be overstated and the games played (at least once at each others arenas) can't be overlooked in terms of college hockey.  In fact both programs are on the upswing and could see themselves in positions to make NCAA tournament runs once realignment is done. 

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