Men’s Basketball: Around the Big Ten Recap
It has been yet another week of Big Ten basketball and the counter leading up to the Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis is down to only two weeks. The standings are still very close, especially in the middle of the pack where there is an abundance of 9-5 and 9-6 teams. There was a good amount of movement from last week in the standings, and there looks to be more to come in the next two weeks.
Here is the week in review as of Feb. 21:
Indiana (12-3 Big Ten, 22-6 Overall)
Indiana takes first place in a jump from third due to winning both of their games this week. Iowa and Maryland each losing one also played a hand in Indiana’s rise to the top this week. Both of Indiana’s wins came relatively easily with an 80-64 win against Nebraska and a 77-73 win against Purdue. Their next two games are on the road against Illinois and Iowa. All six of their losses this year have come on the road meaning they might not be at the top of the list at the end of next week if they falter.
Iowa (11-3 Big Ten, 20-6 Overall)
The Hawkeyes lost their only game this week, causing them to fall to second in the Big Ten standings. Iowa took on Penn State in State College where the Nittany Lions took the game from the Hawkeyes, 79-75. Iowa tried to make a comeback in the final minutes but failed due to Penn State’s defense and lack of time. Iowa needs to pick themselves back up for these last two weeks if they want to regain that first seed.
Maryland (11-4 Big Ten, 23-5 Overall)
The Terrapins split their two games this week evenly, losing their first at Minnesota and winning their home game against Michigan. Both games were close, 68-63 and 86-82, respectively, though Maryland couldn’t pull through in Minnesota. Maryland’s next game is next Saturday at Purdue. They need to win this game and the two the week after if they want to regain second seed in the Big Ten Tourney.
Ohio State (10-5 Big Ten, 18-10 Overall)
Ohio State won both of their games this week, bringing them to fourth in the Big Ten all the way from eighth last week. Their win streak has continued to four, and with only three games left in the season it will be interesting to see if they could break into the top three. They take on fifth-place Michigan State as their only game this week, on the Tuesday.
Michigan State (9-5 Big Ten, 22-5 Overall)
Michigan State won their only game this week, and by a decent margin too. They still have a chance to move into the top 3 but they have to win each of their last four games. They also need the top teams to lose, and that may be even less likely. Michigan State’s last four games are against some of the lower teams on the list, and Ohio State.
Wisconsin (9-5 Big Ten, 16-10 Overall)
Wisconsin split their two games this week, losing against Michigan State 57-69 and beating Illinois 69-60. They are in the midst of a really close group of teams in the middle of the standings, meaning they could almost be anywhere in the standings come the end of the season. Unluckily for Wisconsin, they have to play some of the better teams in the league to end out the season.
Purdue (9-6 Big Ten, 21-7 Overall)
Purdue also split their games this week. As well as Wisconsin the Boilermakers will have to take out a couple of the better teams if they want a higher seed at the end of the season. To make it worse, they have been a little shaky since the second half of the season started.
Michigan (9-6 Big Ten, 19-9 Overall)
Michigan lost both of their games this week, forcing them into this big battle in the middle of the standings. Their next game against Northwestern is the easiest they will have for the rest of the season, and hopefully for them, could be a confidence boost for the harder teams later on.
Nebraska (6-9 Big Ten, 14-14 Overall)
Nebraska hasn’t played too well over the season, as is made evident by the standings. They continued this streak by losing both of their games this week, against two pretty good teams in Indiana and Ohio State admittedly. Nebraska was very close in the Ohio State game only losing by three. They don’t have much of a shot to go up in the rankings, but could easily fall if they aren’t careful.
Northwestern (5-9 Big Ten, 17-10 Overall)
Northwestern lost their only game this week against Purdue 61-71, just another mediocre game in a mediocre season. They have a chance to move up one spot by the end of the season but they could also lose two if they play poorly in the Big Ten as they have of late.
Penn State (5-9 Big Ten, 14-13 Overall)
Over this past week, The Nittany Lions had easily the biggest win in the Big Ten when they defeated the Big Ten’s top-ranked (and the fourth-ranked nationwide) team in Iowa with a score of 79-75. Donovan Jack scored 19 points in the game, leading the team. Penn State also beat Rutgers away with a score of 70-58. Though the season isn’t very likely to be salvaged, Penn State should work to keep up their current form and look forward to the tournament.
Illinois (4-10 Big Ten, 12-14 Overall)
It looked for a while that Illinois could win both of their games this week, which would have put them in better running for a higher spot with Penn State and Northwestern, but it wasn’t meant to be. They ended up splitting their two games, winning their first against Rutgers and losing to Wisconsin after leading for most of the game. They do have a chance to get into a higher spot, but they have to stay consistent, which they have struggled with all year.
Minnesota (1-13 Big Ten, 7-19 Overall)
Winning their first Big Ten game of the year Minnesota can finally claim sole ownership of 13th place, which isn’t an achievement for any team but Rutgers and Minnesota, who have been equally as bad as the other up until now. Their win came against Maryland when they edged them out 68-63.
Rutgers (0-14 Big Ten, 6-21 Overall)
Not surprisingly, Rutgers lost both of their games this week, increasing their losing streak to 14, which also happens to be what place they are in in the Big Ten. They haven’t won a game yet in 2016. Neither game this week were very close, with a 66-82 loss at Illinois and a 58-70 loss at home to Penn State. It seems as if their season is over, though because the Big Ten Tournament includes all 14 teams there is a chance they could win one or two then.
Tommy Butler is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.