Men’s Basketball: Around the Big Ten Recap
After another wild week of Big Ten basketball, only one week of the regular season remains. With each team jockeying for a more favorable position in the conference, the standings are looking closely packed with many teams at the 11-win mark. Teams sliding up and down the conference should continue to do so in this final week, before standings are finalized next Sunday.
Here is the week in review as of Feb. 28:
Indiana (13-3 Big Ten, 23-6 Overall)
The Hoosiers remain atop the ladder after a blowout win in Illinois on Thursday. Despite Michigan State winning big on Sunday, Indiana can breathe easy knowing they have a two game lead over the next best teams in the conference. Handling Illinois with a 74-47 victory, the Hoosiers hope to bring some momentum into their final road game at Iowa on Tuesday before wrapping up the regular season against Maryland on Sunday.
Michigan State (11-5, 24-5)
Michigan State jumped up four spots after two victories this week by a combined margin of 50 points. The Spartans needed a win in Columbus on Tuesday to pass Ohio State in the standings, and win is exactly what they did (by 19 points). A 31-point victory over Penn State on Sunday should give Coach Tom Izzo’s squad a full head of confidence heading into Rutgers before finishing the season on their home court against Ohio State again.
Maryland (11-5, 23-6)
Maryland lost their only game this week, falling to Purdue 83-79 in a nail-biter. However, the Terrapins still have the third spot in the conference standings with Iowa losing twice this week. With two games remaining, Maryland will look to finish strong in their final home game against Illinois and in their last game of the season against Indiana in Bloomington.
Iowa (11-5, 20-8)
This week was a tough one for the Hawkeyes as they lost twice and fell from the second spot in the conference down to the fourth. Iowa lost at home to Wisconsin before losing a close one in Ohio State on Sunday. The Hawkeyes will look to rebound from their three-game losing streak at home against the Indiana Hoosiers before ending their regular season in Ann Arbor against the Michigan Wolverines next Saturday.
Wisconsin (11-5, 19-10)
Wisconsin won both of their games this week to bring their winning streak to three games. The Badgers knocked off Iowa on the road and held off Michigan at home to jump up to the fifth spot in the conference standings. Wisconsin will need to keep their winning ways alive if they want to ensure a favorable seed in the Big Ten Tournament. They’ll play Minnesota and Rutgers to finish their regular season.
Ohio State (11-6, 19-11)
The Buckeyes split their two games this week, losing at home to Michigan State and beating Iowa in Columbus. With Wisconsin and Michigan State winning both of its games this week, Ohio State has fallen to the sixth spot in the Big Ten conference standings. The Buckeyes will hope to bring a little momentum into East Lansing when they take on the Spartans in their final game of the season.
Purdue (10-6, 22-7)
The Boilermakers won their only game this week at home against Maryland to remain in the seventh spot of the conference standings. Purdue will want to finish the regular season with a pair of wins against Nebraska and Wisconsin if they want to secure a better spot in the Big Ten Tournament. They’ll play next Tuesday and Sunday to wrap up the regular season.
Michigan (10-7, 20-10)
Michigan also remains in the same spot they were one week ago, half a game behind Purdue and eighth in the conference. Splitting their two games this week, the Wolverines beat Northwestern 72-63 at home before dropping one on the road to Wisconsin on Sunday night. They’ll hope to win their final game of the regular season next Saturday when they host the Iowa Hawkeyes.
Penn State (6-10, 15-14)
The Nittany Lions lead the bottom half of the conference standings, tied with Northwestern and Nebraska at seven games behind Indiana. Penn State edged out Nebraska 56-55 but lost big to Michigan State on Sunday this week. The Lions will host Northwestern and Illinois this week to finish the season, hoping to improve their stock heading into the conference tournament.
Northwestern (6-10, 18-11)
Northwestern lost their first game of the week, but bounced back to wallop Rutgers 98-59. They’ll look to retake the ninth spot in the conference from Penn State this week before they finish the season back home against Nebraska.
Nebraska (6-10, 14-15)
Nebraska comes into their final week of play on a three-game losing skid, having lost to Penn State this week. They’ll have two chances to right the ship this week when they host Purdue and finish the season at Northwestern. They won’t be able to climb very far ahead in the standings, but they’ll look to stay out of the bottom three with a win or two.
Illinois (5-11, 13-16)
Illinois split their two games this week, losing to Indiana and beating Minnesota. If they want to claw out of the bottom three of the conference this week, they’ll need to win a pair of road games against Maryland and Penn State to end the regular season.
Minnesota (2-14, 8-20)
The Golden Gophers won their second in-conference game of the season against Rutgers this week but blew a halftime lead against Illinois, falling 84-71 on Sunday night. Minnesota will likely remain in the 13th spot in the standings, facing Michigan State and Rutgers to end the season.
Rutgers (0-16, 6-23)
Rutgers added another pair of losses to their losing streak this week to bring it to 16 in a row. The Scarlet Knights were defeated by Minnesota and Northwestern by a combined margin of 61 points. They’ll play Michigan State and Minnesota next week before trying their luck in the Big Ten Tournament.
Bobby Brown is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.