Taking a close look at Big Ten title scenarios
The Hoosiers could have put a bow on their first outright Big Ten title since 1992-93 with a victory over the Buckeyes. It didn’t happen, as Indiana now has lost two of its last three games. Some wonder if the Hoosiers still will merit being the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament. They may have to do some work in the Big Ten tourney, which starts next Thursday in Chicago.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We still have a Big Ten regular season to wrap up, including two games tonight on the BTN/BTN2Go. What has the Hoosiers’ loss done to the race?
Indiana already has a share of its first Big Ten crown since 2001-02 and still can claim the crown for itself with a win at Michigan on Sunday. But a loss by the Hoosiers would create the chance for others to stake a share of the championship.
Winning in Ann Arbor is difficult, as Michigan is the lone Big Ten team that is unbeaten at home (17-0) this season. Ironically, the last time the Wolverines lost at home was on Senior Day last season, when Purdue dumped Michigan.
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Here’s what to watch for each school in the hunt for the 2012-13 Big Ten championship:
Indiana (25-5 overall; 13-4 Big Ten): It already has a share of its first title since 2001-02, when Mike Davis coached Indiana to the national championship game vs. Maryland. A win at Michigan on Sunday would give the Hoosiers the outright crown for the first time since 1992-93, when they went on to be a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tourney before losing to Kansas in the regional finals.
Michigan (24-5; 11-5): The Wolverines need to win at Purdue—which is coming off a huge upset win at Wisconsin–tonight and then beat Indiana in Ann Arbor on Sunday to forge a share of their second Big Ten championship in succession. Michigan lost at Indiana earlier this season, 81-73. Michigan last won consecutive Big Ten titles in 1984-85 and 1985-86 under Bill Frieder.
Michigan State (22-7; 11-5): The Spartans need to win at home vs. Wisconsin on Thursday (MSU won 49-47 at Madison earlier this season), then beat Northwestern at home on Sunday. They also need Indiana to lose at Michigan on Sunday. Michigan State has won a share of the three of the last four Big Ten crowns.
Ohio State (22-7; 12-5): The Buckeyes need to beat Illinois at home on Sunday and have Indiana lose at Michigan on the same day. (Ohio State was hammered 74-55 at Illinois earlier this season.) That would give Ohio State a share of the Big Ten championship for a fourth season in a row. Michigan State was the last Big Ten team to turn that trick, winning at least a share of four titles in a row from 1998-2001.
Wisconsin (20-9; 11-5). The Badgers must win at Michigan State on Thursday, then win at Penn State on Sunday, then have Indiana lose at Michigan on Sunday. Wisconsin hasn’t won the Big Ten since taking the title for itself in 2007-08.
|About Tom Dienhart||BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men’s basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.|
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