Around the Big Ten: Basketball
As the Big Ten Conference Tournament is right around the corner, CommRadio’s “Around the Big Ten” podcast discusses every team as they prepare for postseason play:
No.6 Michigan State Spartans (23-5, 14-3 Big Ten)
The Spartans take over first place in the conference after beating the Michigan Wolverines last Sunday in Ann Arbor. Even though they were missing two of their top three scorers in Nick Ward and Joshua Langford, MSU had the edge in a close contest as guard Cassius Winston dropped 27 points, making 13-of-14 free throws, and accumulating eight assists. Forward Kenny Goins scored 16 and collected 11 rebounds. After two Big Ten games in between, The Spartans will host the Wolverines for each team’s final regular season game on March 9. Langford is officially out for the rest of the year, while Ward will be re-evaluated weekly.
No.14 Purdue Boilermakers (20-7, 13-3 Big Ten)
The Boilermakers are on a four-game winning streak and have won 13 of their last 14 games, and with Michigan’s loss last Sunday, they move to second place in the Big Ten. Purdue cruised by Illinois on Wednesday night. Guard Carsen Edwards scored 23 points while center Matt Haarms dropped 21 on a perfect 8-of-8 from the field and 4-4 from the stripe. One of the most talented teams in the country, the Boilermakers are ready to make noise in both the Big Ten tournament and in March Madness. They will host Ohio State in their next game on Saturday.
No.9 Michigan Wolverines (24-4, 13-4 Big Ten)
Despite the loss to Michigan State, four of the Wolverines’ starting five scored double figures. Guards Zavier Simpson and Jordan Poole led the way with 19 and 15 points, respectively, however, the combo missed a total of 11 three-pointers and only made four, aiding towards the team’s downfall. With the loss, Michigan’s chances of winning the Big Ten are slim. Before facing the Spartans again, Michigan has to visit the No.17 Maryland Terrapins on Sunday.
No.17 Maryland Terrapins (21-7, 12-5 Big Ten)
The Terrapins are coming off an upset loss to Penn State on Wednesday. The Terps already had eight turnovers just about two minutes into the game, and all five of the starters were pulled from the game less than five minutes into the second half. The team made two threes on 19 attempts and shot a below-average 41 percent from the field. Hosting the Wolverines on Sunday, the Terps have to figure out what went wrong quickly.
No.19 Wisconsin Badgers (19-9, 11-6 Big Ten)
Ethan Happ and company are coming off a taxing double-overtime loss to the Indiana Hoosiers Tuesday night. Happ posted 23 points and 11 boards but only made 5-of-10 from the stripe in 45 minutes played, and the Badgers as a team made less than 30 percent of their 3-pointers and 52 percent of their free throws. On Saturday, the Badgers beat the Northwestern Wildcats, the last-place team in the Big Ten, by only five points. This is a team that lacks good shooting, which could hurt them in tournament play. Wisconsin will host the red-hot Penn State Nittany Lions on Saturday, who have won five of their last seven games.
No.22 Iowa Hawkeyes (21-7, 10-7 Big Ten)
The Hawkeyes were defeated by the Ohio State Buckeyes on Tuesday by a 20-point margin. Forwards Tyler Cook and Luka Garza, the two leading scorers for the group this season, were held to only 12 and 6 points, respectively. Some strong points were apparent, however, as Cook grabbed 10 boards and guard Joe Wieskamp went five for six on 3-pointers. Looking to remain in the top 25, Iowa will be hungry for a win when they host Rutgers on Saturday.
Ohio State Buckeyes (18-10, 8-9 Big Ten)
Ohio State has not played as well as expected this season, beating mostly average to mediocre teams, however, the Buckeyes’ victory against the ranked Hawkeyes gives them momentum and a passable resume to solidify them a spot in the NCAA Tournament. Forward Justin Ahrens scored a career-high 29 points, beating his previous by 20. Forward Kaleb Wesson accumulated 18 points and 11 rebounds while his brother Andre Wesson scored 11. The Buckeyes have a big game coming up on Saturday when they will head to Purdue to take on the Boilermakers.
Minnesota Golden Gophers (17-11, 7-10 Big Ten)
Minnesota lost to Rutgers by four points last Sunday. Guard Gabe Kalscheur went 6-of-6 from three, and he and center Daniel Oturu both scored over 20, however, their efforts weren’t enough as the rest of the players were unable to reach double figures. The Golden Gophers will most likely have to win their three remaining games to have a legitimate chance of playing in the NCAA Tournament. This is no easy task, however, as Minnesota will face No.14 Purdue on Tuesday and No.17 Maryland on March 8.
Illinois Fighting Illini (10-17, 6-10 Big Ten)
After being routed by Purdue on Wednesday, the Fighting Illini have to fix the issues they have had during their three-game losing streak as they prepare for a game against the last-place Northwestern Wildcats on Sunday. Scoring only 56, not a single player on the roster was able to reach double figures in points against the Boilermakers.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights (13-14, 6-11 Big Ten)
The Scarlet Knights were able to slip by Minnesota last Sunday with strong efforts by guard Montez Mathis, who scored 18 and forward Eugene Omoruyi, who collected nine rebounds. Rutgers heads to Iowa to take on the Hawkeyes on Saturday.
Nebraska Cornhuskers (15-13, 5-12 Big Ten)
Nebraska lost to Purdue by three points on Saturday. Guard Glynn Watson Jr.’s career-high 25 points were not enough to stop the Boilermakers. The Cornhuskers will visit Ann Arbor to face the Michigan Wolverines Thursday night.
Indiana Hoosiers (14-14, 5-12 Big Ten)
With less than a second left on the clock, guard Romeo Langford made a game-winning layup in double overtime that put the Hoosiers up 75-73 to defeat Wisconsin. Langford scored 22 and shot 8-of-17 from the field. This was a big win for the Hoosiers as they lost their previous five games. Indiana will try to carry the momentum from their victory into their next game as they host the first-place Spartans on Saturday.
Penn State Nittany Lions (11-16, 4-12 Big Ten)
The Nittany Lions are finally looking like the team they were expected to be this year. In his last five games, forward Lamar Stevens is averaging 24.4 points per game and 7.8 rebounds per game. Against Michigan and Maryland, guard Myles Dread has proven that he can deliver in big moments as he dropped 17 points in both games. Penn State will go on the road to face No.19 Wisconsin and Rutgers and then return to the Bryce Jordan Center to face Illinois to finish off regular season play. The Nittany Lions hope to enter the Big Ten tournament with a lot of momentum by playing strong in the remainder of their games.
Northwestern Wildcats (12-15, 3-13 Big Ten)
The Wildcats are on an eight-game losing streak after they lost by five to Wisconsin on Saturday. Forward Vic Law and center Derek Pardon both scored over 20 points, but it was not enough as none of the other players were able to reach double figures. The Wildcats will try to end their losing streak when they take on Minnesota Thursday night.
Jack McCune is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.