Bears say they have to play better but can they?

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Bears say they have to play better but can they?

MINNEAPOLIS Sitting in front of his locker on Sunday afternoon, one member of the Bears offense took his time before answering. The hesitation, stretching on to a surprising 15 seconds or so, was an answer of its own.

The usual response to a question about a teams confidence is routinely upbeat. This one was not, and when the answer finally came it was about the level of confidence but rather about the Bears overall situation.

We have our window, the player said, quietly, but its getting pretty thin.

With their fourth loss in the last five games, the Bears (8-5) took one huge step closer to the abyss. They finished Sunday afternoons 21-14 loss to the Minnesota Vikings (7-6) as the No. 6 playoff team, down from No. 2 just a month ago.

They went into the Metrodome in acute need of a win against a team they had defeated six straight times. They left with quarterback Jay Cutler out with an unspecified neck injury after throwing two costly interceptions to hand the Vikings 14 points.

The Bears have gone from team that finds ways to win to one that finds ways to lose. The offense has scored 17 or fewer points in the four losses and perhaps there is no more telling indictment of the Lovie Smith offenses than that they are now 12-49 when they fail to score at least 18 points. Five of those 12 wins were in the 2005 season when the defense was the NFLs best in points allowed.

Notably perhaps, or not, defensive end Julius Peppers said afterwards that if the Vikings can beat the Bears after losing six straight, the Bears can do the same to the Packers, whove beaten the Bears five times.

It was not convincing logic.

The Bears dropped touchdown passes. Two, one by Devin Hester, one by Alshon Jeffery. And thats not even the bad news.

The really bad news is that those werent the only problems.

There were a lot of problems, said Cutler, one of those problems. Offensively I didnt play well (he didnt play well defensively, either). Interceptions, however they happened, they still happened. Weve just got to play better.

The overall is that you are what your record says you are. The Bears are 1-4 in games that have increasingly mattered. At this point. 13 games in, the biggest question is whether or not the Bears actually can play better.

Northwestern to play home basketball games at Allstate Arena in 2017-18

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Northwestern to play home basketball games at Allstate Arena in 2017-18

While Welsh-Ryan Arena undergoes a complete facelift, the Wildcats needed somewhere to play during the 2017-18 season.

That home location was announced Tuesday. Northwestern will play its home schedule at Allstate Arena in Rosemont during the 2017-18 campaign.

The previously announced renovation of Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2017 and finish up in the fall of 2018, ready for the 2018-19 season.

“We are excited to partner with Allstate Arena to host Northwestern men’s basketball games during the 2017-18 season while Welsh-Ryan Arena is undergoing its renovation,” Northwestern athletics director Jim Phillips said in the announcement. “The venue has a rich college basketball tradition in the Chicagoland area. I know that our fans will enjoy cheering on our team at Allstate Arena during what will be an exciting season.”

Certainly Allstate Arena is no stranger to college hoops. It's served as the home court for DePaul for decades and famously hosted the NCAA tournament Midwest Regional in 2005, when Illinois scored a remarkable win over Arizona to advance to the Final Four.

The renovation to Welsh-Ryan Arena promises a radically transformed venue for Northwestern hoops. Announced back in June, the renovation's details include new chair-back seating throughout the arena, new locker rooms and offices for the men's and women's basketball teams, new restrooms and concession areas for fans, as well as an expanded concourse, a new ticket office, an expanded lobby and an expansion of the N-Club, plus the retention of the recently installed video boards.

Spartans linebacker Jon Reschke to miss 'significant time' with ankle sprain

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Spartans linebacker Jon Reschke to miss 'significant time' with ankle sprain

The bad news keeps coming for the Michigan State linebacking corps.

A few days after Riley Bullough surprisingly sat out of the Spartans' big game against Wisconsin with an injury, fellow starter Jon Reschke will miss "significant time" with an ankle sprain, Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio told reporters Tuesday.

There is better news on Bullough, who Dantonio said is day-to-day. Bullough was listed on the team's depth chart for this week's game against Indiana, though he was not listed as a starter.

Bullough surprised by walking out of the tunnel in street clothes just prior to kickoff against Wisconsin. Big Ten Network reported during the broadcast that Bullough sustained his injury even prior to Michigan State's Week 3 win over Notre Dame and that it could keep him sidelined for multiple weeks.

It remains to be seen how that will play out, but certainly the Spartans could've used him against the Badgers, who behind a first-time starting quarterback in Alex Hornibrook had a stellar performance in a 30-6 win.

Bullough and Reschke have combined for 25 tackles and three tackles for loss, with Bullough playing in the first two games of the season and Reschke appearing in the first three. Reschke also has an interception and a forced fumble to his name.

Being without Reschke for a significant amount of time will be tough for the Spartans — Dantonio said Tuesday he's optimistic that the injury isn't season-ending — though that's made much tougher the longer Bullough stays on the sideline.

Plus, Michigan State is still working Ed Davis back into action. The senior had to wait until after the start of the season to learn if he'd receive an additional season of eligibility. Davis has played just very briefly this season, though he is listed on the depth chart. His return to form could be a big help, as Dantonio mentioned.