How Spartans' win impacts race for Big Ten title
Michigan State’s 58-43 win over Wisconsin clears up the Big Ten title chase—a little bit. The Spartans’ victory eliminates the Badgers from being able to win a share of the Big Ten championship. Michigan State’s triumph also clinches the No. 1 seed in the Big Ten tournament for Indiana. The event starts next Thursday in Chicago.
Now, all eyes will be on Ann Arbor, Mich., where Indiana plays Michigan at 4 p.m. ET. Win or lose, the Hoosiers already have a share of their first conference championship since 2001-02. A victory by the Hoosiers will clinch Indiana’s first outright Big Ten title since 1992-93.
A loss by Indiana would give the Wolverines a share of the league championship for a second season in a row. The last time Michigan won two Big Ten titles in a row was the 1984-85 and 1985-86 seasons.
A loss by the Hoosiers also would allow Ohio State and Michigan State to earn shares of the Big Ten title if they close with wins on Sunday. The Buckeyes play host to Illinois 12:30 p.m. ET while the Spartans welcome Northwestern at 6 p.m. ET.
It would be the fourth season in succession that the Buckeyes won a share of the crown and the sixth time in the last eight seasons. Michigan State was the last team to win four in a row, from 1998-2001. It would be the fourth time in five seasons that the Spartans grabbed part of the Big Ten championship.
The last time there was a four-way tie in the Big Ten? The 2001-02 season, when Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Ohio State each garnered a piece of the hardware, though the Buckeyes later had to vacate their share due to NCAA sanctions. The four-way tie before that was in the 1925-26 season, when Indiana, Iowa, Michigan and Purdue shared the crown.
|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.|