Bulls battle East-leading Knicks tonight on CSN

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Bulls battle East-leading Knicks tonight on CSN

The Knicks will be at full strength and back at home, where they have been nearly unbeatable, when they clash again with the Bulls tonight at 6:30 on Comcast SportsNet. Coverage begins at 6 p.m. with Bulls Pregame Live.

Before Mondays loss to the Houston Rockets when former overnight celebrity Jeremy Lin returned to score 23 points and dish out eight assists on his former team the New York Knicks had been a perfect 10-0 at Madison Square Garden. In fact, dating back to last season Mike Woodsons group had lost one time, to the Miami Heat in April, in its last 21 outings in the Big Apple.

The Knicks still boast a league-best 11-1 record at home, but theyll need to get back on track quick against a Bulls team playing solid basketball on the road. Tom Thibodeaus group had a streak of four straight road wins broken on Monday in Memphis, so one team will begin a new streak tonight at Madison Square Garden.

The Bulls were successful in their first meeting against New York this season, taking down a Carmelo Anthony-less group 83-85 at the United Center. And while not having to face their team MVP -- and perhaps the league MVP through two months made life easier for Chicago, its worth noting that two nights earlier the Knicks, without Anthony, had defeated the Miami Heat in Miami, giving credibility to the Bulls win against the deep New York team.

Anthony will be back in the lineup tonight and will look to continue his career year going as he leads the Knicks above the top of the Eastern Conference standings. Anthonys 28.0 point-per-game-average and 47.6 percent mark from the field are not career-bests, but when put together show the former No. 3 overall pick is playing the most efficient basketball of his nine-year career. He has missed four games including the loss to Houston with a sprained ankle but returned Wednesday to score 31 points in a 100-86 home win against in-state rival Brooklyn. Outside of guarding LeBron James, Anthony will be the toughest test Luol Deng sees all season.

RELATED: Gibson plans to play vs. Knicks

Just as the Bulls had a busy offseason moving and bringing in key pieces, the Knicks did the same. After losing Lin to the Rockets, veteran point guards Raymond Felton and Jason Kidd were brought in to fill the void. Those two have been every bit as good as advertised, with Kidd playing more of a shooting guard role next to the point guard Felton, while still providing his patented defense on the other end. Former Bull Ronnie Brewer is one of three Knicks to start all 25 games this season, but will look to improve on his 0-of-5 performance the first time these two teams squared off.

As Joakim Noahs dream season continues, hell once again be tested in the middle by a rejuvenated Tyson Chandler, who of course spent the first five years of his career in Chicago. After helping the Mavericks to an NBA title in 2011, Chandler was named Defensive Player of the Year in 2011-12 and is now enjoying the best offensive season of his 11-year career. In a matchup of the Eastern Conferences two best active centers Andrew Bynum, when healthy, may take that crown Noah vs. Chandler could determine the outcome of tonights game.

The Bulls will try and become the first team to take down the Eastern Conferences best team twice tonight when they take the court in the Worlds Most Famous Arena. Make sure to check out the action live, and dont miss pre- and post-game analysis with Mark Schanowski and Kendall Gill, only on Comcast SportsNet.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Are the Bears getting better?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Are the Bears getting better?

David Haugh (Chicago Tribune), Adam Jahns (Chicago Sun-Times) plus former Bears Jason McKie and Patrick Mannelly join Kap on the panel. The Bears win but are they getting better or did they just crush an awful team?

Rajon Rondo gets suspended one game for conduct detrimental to the team. Will he be suspended again?

Plus CSNChicago.com’s Dan Hayes has the latest on the Chris Sale watch and does Big Ten Champion Penn State have a legitmate gripe about not making the playoffs?

Listen to the SportsTalk Live Podcast below:

Jabrill Peppers is a Heisman finalist, so can he stop the Big Ten's drought from reaching a decade?

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USA TODAY

Jabrill Peppers is a Heisman finalist, so can he stop the Big Ten's drought from reaching a decade?

Michigan's Jabrill Peppers is a Heisman Trophy finalist. Can he stop the Big Ten's Heisman drought from reaching a decade?

We'll find out when Peppers travels to New York for the Heisman presentation, where he'll join fellow finalists Lamar Jackson, Baker Mayfield, DeShaun Watson and Dede Westbrook.

Peppers has already taken home plenty of hardware this season, named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, the Big Ten Linebacker of the Year and the Big Ten Return Specialist of the Year. He's also a finalist for the Maxwell Award and the Bednarik Award.

Peppers is a true do-it-all threat, playing in all three phases of the game. He's the third-leading tackler on Michigan's nation-best defense with 72 total stops. He also has 16 tackles for loss, four sacks, a forced fumble and an interception. Peppers also racked up 751 all-purpose yards: 310 via the punt return, 260 via the kick return, 167 rushing, 11 on an interception return and three receiving yards.

If he wins, Peppers would become the first Big Ten player to win college football's most prestigious award since Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith in 2006. He'd become the third Wolverine to win, joining Charles Woodson (1997), Desmond Howard (1991) and Tom Harmon (1940). If Peppers doesn't win, the Big Ten's Heisman drought will stretch to 10 years.

This season, the Big Ten doesn't need a Heisman victory to cement its status as the nation's best conference. It's done that already with three teams in the top six and four in the top eight of the final College Football Playoff rankings. Ohio State, ranked third, will compete for a national championship for the second time in three seasons.

But certainly hardware helps the perception of a league. Of the nine who have won since Smith, five hailed from SEC schools, two from the Big 12 and one apiece from the ACC and Pac-12.

Two seasons ago, Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon finished second, the best finish for a Big Ten player since Smith's win.

Twelve players from Big Ten teams have finished in the top 10 in voting since Smith's win:

YEAR PLAYER SCHOOL PLACE
2015 Ezekiel Elliott Ohio State eighth
2015 Connor Cook Michigan State ninth
2014 Melvin Gordon Wisconsin second
2014 J.T. Barrett Ohio State fifth
2014 Tevin Coleman Indiana seventh
2013 Braxton Miller Ohio State ninth
2012 Braxton Miller Ohio State fifth
2011 Montee Ball Wisconsin fourth
2011 Russell Wilson Wisconsin ninth
2010 Denard Robinson Michigan sixth
2008 Shonn Green Iowa sixth
2008 Javon Ringer Michigan State 10th