This upcoming week will give us hopefully a better understanding of where these teams fit in the Big Ten pecking order. To me its the big three and then everybody else.
Michigan was dealt a double blow this past week, losing both against Purdue away in blowout fashion and hosting Iowa on Saturday and losing again – taking their overall record to 7-13 and 2-7 in Big Ten play respectively.
Penn State fell to Minnesota in its only game last week at home on Saturday and now stands at 9-11 overall and 3-6 in Big Ten play. Penn State will attempt to get back on track against Rutgers at Rutgers on Wednesday before facing Indiana at Indiana on Saturday.
Ohio State continues to slide, having lost both games this week – against Nebraska away and Northwestern at home – dropping their overall and conference records to 13-7 and 3-6, respectively. This season is looking eerily similar to last season for the Buckeyes, and that’s not a good sign.
The Rutgers Scarlet Knights were defeated at home against Purdue last Sunday, falling to 10-9 overall and 2-6 in Big Ten play with this loss. Rutgers performed relatively well but couldn’t overcome an early slow start, which limited their efforts against an impressive Purdue squad.
Last week was a mixed bag for Minnesota as they faced their archrival Wisconsin at home and then Penn State away on Saturday; they split those two games – both results leaving them at 13-7 overall and 4-5 in Big Ten play. The Gophers are much-improved from last year and came close to upsetting Wisconsin at home.
The Indiana Hoosiers suffered their only defeat of the week against Illinois on Saturday, in a tightly-contested contest that dropped them to 12-8 overall and 4-5 in Big Ten play – their third straight setback and their fifth loss over their last seven contests. The fact that Indiana ranks ninth will tell you how bad the Big ten is this year. The Hoosiers are not a good team and they must beat Iowa and Penn State this week to have any chance at dancing in March.
Iowa went 1-1 against a difficult slate this week. They opened with a loss against Maryland at home before rebounding on the road against Michigan on Saturday for an impressive victory that leaves them at 12-8 overall and 4-5 in Big Ten play. Not that Michigan is a difficult team to play, but any win on the road in the Big Ten gets magnified because of road teams’ issues in the Big Ten. If the Hawkeyes want to get into the NCAA tournament, they need a win at Indiana this week.
Michigan State suffered their only defeat of this week against Wisconsin on Friday, falling to 12-8 overall and 4-5 in Big Ten play. Since January 1st, their record is 3-3 over six games played.
As Michigan State has demonstrated in their first 20 games this season, they should be a safe bet to make the NCAA Tournament. But that remains to be determined; their toughest matches have proven to be mostly losses.
Nebraska had mixed results this week, defeating Ohio State at home on Tuesday while falling at Maryland by 22 points on Saturday – their worst performance against any Big Ten team this season! Their record now sits at 15-6 overall and 5-5 in Big Ten action. The Huskers looked to be rolling towards March, but they may be rolling towards the bubble if they don’t get some consistency back.
Maryland had an outstanding week, taking down Iowa on Wednesday and Nebraska at home on Saturday by a 22-point margin – both wins pushing Maryland up to 13-8 overall and 5-5 in Big Ten play. The Terps are hot and cold, and since they were hot this week and these are power rankings, they made a dramatic move up. Can the hot play continue? If it does, the Terps could play their way into March Madness.
Illinois lost to Northwestern last week and followed that up with an unimpressive win over an Indiana squad that made zero three-pointers for the game. The game was tied at 62 until Malik Reneau fouled out, and the Illini took control to win 70-62. Terrance Shannon is back, but he is either rusty, or the legal issues are taking a toll on him, maybe both. If the Illini are to be a factor, he needs to get his game going again.
Northwestern had an outstanding week, defeating arch-rival Illinois on Wednesday at home and Ohio State at Ohio on Saturday to move their overall record up to 15-5 and 6-3 in Big Ten play, respectively. Northwestern has quietly won three out of their last four and five of their seven since an unfortunate outing against Illinois at the beginning of 2024.
Wisconsin had an outstanding week of action, taking down archrival Minnesota on Tuesday before beating Michigan State by double digits on Friday for 16-4 overall and 8-1 Big Ten play. The Badgers can take control of the Big ten conference at the halfway point with a win over Purdue on Saturday.
Purdue had another outstanding week, winning both Michigan at home on Tuesday and Rutgers away on Sunday to improve to 19-2 overall and 8-2 in Big Ten play. These victories propelled Purdue closer to first place overall!
The Boilers did struggle a bit at Rutgers but came through with an eight-point win. The Boilers try to get revenge against Northwestern at home and then travel to Wisconsin for an epic Big Ten showdown.
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