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Big Ten basketball's rise

Any NCAA title contenders will have to deal with these teams

Updated: January 8, 2013, 4:56 PM ET
By Scoop Jackson | ESPN.com

One look at Tubby Smith's squad's five-game stretch between New Year's Eve and Jan. 17 and the full clarity of what every team in the Big Ten is up against becomes blatantly evident:

Then-No. 18 Michigan State Northwestern No. 12 Illinois No. 5 Indiana No. 2 Michigan

Four ranked teams in five games all inside of conference play; games he didn't purposely schedule to get his No. 8 Minnesota Gophers "ready" for the NCAA tournament; games this season that just came with the ...

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