Around the Big Ten: Week 5
We’re about a month into the college basketball season, and the Big Ten is flexing its muscles as one of the best conferences in the country to start the season with seven teams in the AP Top 25 this week.
An early season portion of conference play got underway this past weekend, and teams are officially starting to show us who are really contenders.
The story of the conference so far is Michigan. The Wolverines are ranked No. 5 in the AP Poll, are off to a 9-0 overall start and are 2-0 in conference play with a convincing win over Purdue and a close win over Northwestern. If guard Jordan Poole continues to shoot the lights like he has been early, this team could be talking about another Final Four run.
No. 10 Michigan State put two early losses behind them to start 2-0 in conference play. The Spartans have two double-digit wins against Rutgers and an impressive blowout of Iowa. Tom Izzo’s team looks to be hitting an early season stride.
The Wisconsin Badgers jumped up 10 spots in this week to No. 12 and looked impressive doing it. With wins over Iowa and Rutgers, the Badgers were a team a lot of people liked in the preseason. They are starting to get respect from everyone now.
It was not an impressive week for Iowa. The Hawkeyes were one of the early season surprises and currently sit at No. 18, but have lost their first two conference games in blowout fashion to Michigan State and Wisconsin, two very good teams. Iowa will look to bounce back this week.
Ohio State sits right behind them at No. 19. The Buckeyes have looked impressive so far this season and started out conference play with an impressive 20-point win over Minnesota.
No. 23 Maryland came back from a nine-point deficit to beat Penn State 66-59 to get a win to start off Big Ten play. The Terps will go on the road to play Carsen Edwards and Purdue on Thursday.
Nebraska made its debut in the AP Poll coming in at No. 24. The Cornhuskers are off to a 7-1 start, most recently with a 75-60 win over Illinois. Nebraska is another team that is starting to get notice from the voters.
In the state of Indiana, the Indiana Hoosiers are 2-0 in conference play with two-point wins over Northwestern and Penn State. The Purdue Boilermakers dropped out of the Top 25 after their 76-57 loss to Michigan and have hit a bit of a rough stretch.
Northwestern and Penn State will both be looking to bounce back this week after 0-2 starts to Big Ten play. Both teams were victimized by close defeats. The Wildcats lost to both Indiana and Michigan by two points, while the Nittany Lions put up good fights with Maryland and Indiana.
Minnesota and Illinois will also both have an opportunity to get a conference win. The Fighting Illini host Ohio State, while the Golden Gophers host Nebraska on Wednesday night.
Kevin McConlogue is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism with a minor in political science. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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