It's on: MSU win opens up Big Ten title race

Not only was No. 12 Michigan State’s upset victory at No. 3 Ohio State huge for the Spartans (AP recap), but it did wonders to the Big Ten title race. Entering Saturday night’s contest at Value City Arena, where the Buckeyes hadn’t lost during the Jared Sullinger era, Ohio State had a chance to move two games ahead of the Spartans and the other legit Big Ten title contenders (Michigan and Wisconsin). That didn’t happen, of course, and now four teams are within one game of the top spot in the Big Ten.

All four of the teams have six games remaining. Who has the easiest remaining schedule? And the hardest? Brent Yarina breaks it all down in this post.

MICHIGAN STATE (9-3)
vs. Wisconsin (8-4)
at Purdue (5-6)
at Minnesota (5-7)
vs. Nebraska (3-10)
at Indiana (7-6)
vs. Ohio State (9-3)
Home: 3
Road: 3
Opponents’ record: 37-36; .507 winning percentage

OHIO STATE (9-3)
at Minnesota (5-7)
at Michigan (8-4)
vs. Illinois (5-6)
vs. Wisconsin (8-4)
at Northwestern (5-6)
at Michigan State (9-3)
Home: 2
Road: 4
Opponents’ record: 40-30; .571 winning percentage

MICHIGAN (8-4)
vs. Illinois (5-6)
vs. Ohio State (9-3)
at Northwestern (5-6)
vs. Purdue (5-6)
at Illinois (5-6)
at Penn State (3-10)
Home: 3
Road: 3
Opponents’ record: 32-37; .464 winning percentage

WISCONSIN (8-4)
at Michigan State (9-3)
vs. Penn State (3-10)
at Iowa (5-7)
at Ohio State (9-3)
vs. Minnesota (5-7)
vs. Illinois (5-6)
Home: 3
Road: 3
Opponents’ record: 36-36; .500 winning percentage

Hardest road: Ohio State – The Buckeyes, clearly, have the toughest schedule to navigate. They play all three of the other contenders, including two on the road, and they are the only one to have just two home games and four road dates.

Easiest road: Michigan – The Wolverines have one plus-.500 team remaining on their schedule, but it’s Ohio State at Crisler Center. The other five teams have a combined .404 winning percentage. All of the sudden, John Beilein and crew have to really like where they stand.

Another thought: Wisconsin’s schedule isn’t all that easy, either. While the Badgers only play two plus-.500 teams, as of right now, they are very difficult dates at Michigan State and Ohio State — teams that already beat Wisconsin at the Kohl Center this season.

Something to remember: Tiebreakers don’t mean anything toward the regular-season crown — just to seeding in the Big Ten tournament. In other words, we could be looking at a shared crown.

Brent Yarina is a web editor and blogger for BTN.com. Find all of his work here and follow him on twitter at @BTNBrentYarina.

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