It’s a great debate across the Midwest, stretching from Lincoln over to State College and up to Minneapolis and down to Bloomington: Is the Big Ten the best league in the nation? You can make a case for and against the notion, but the topsy-turvy nature of the season has been crazy. Get this: Since Jan. 25, road teams have won 22 of 40 games. And of the six games played last Saturday or Sunday, the visitor won five.
Michigan and Michigan State are in first place; Iowa is a game behind. But, don’t forget about Wisconsin, which is zooming on a four-game winning streak. Winning the league title isn’t out of the question.
The Badgers likely would need to win out to have a chance at the championship. The only team as hot as Bucky as I type this is Nebraska. But, Wisconsin has seen first-hand this season how quickly things can cool off. The most difficult game left on UW’s schedule is at Iowa on Saturday. The Badgers also have games remaining at Penn State and Nebraska along with home games vs. Indiana and Purdue. But, know this: Wisconsin will need some help in the form of Michigan and MSU each losing two more games. Hey, it’s possible. Maybe.
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Michigan State coach Tom Izzo’s detesting of Twitter is well known. But, he shouldn’t hate Twitter. He should hate those behind the tweets. Anyway, Graham Couch of the Lansing State Journal has a fun read on the subject.
In case the CBI is wondering, Illinois would accept a bid if offered. But will the CBI offer a bid?
Hey, Purdue played in the event last year with an 8-10 Big Ten record. Illinois is 3-10 in the Big Ten. And the prospects for many more wins aren’t great. Would the CBI take a Big Ten team with three, four or five conference wins?
The last time Northwestern beat the Buckeyes in Columbus, Jimmy Carter was the president. The Wildcats—who have won at Indiana, at Wisconsin and at Minnesota this season–are in C-bus tonight. You thinking what I’m thinking? Anyway … if NU is going to pull it off, it may have to do so without Alex Olah, who has been in a walking boot. His status for tonight? Uncertain.
Good news for Michigan State: Keith Appling apparently has made a “breakthrough” in the recovery of his right wrist injury. Funny … didn’t Tom Izzo imply just the other day that there was a chance that Appling could sit out the rest of the regular season? Oh, well.
I often am asked: What’s wrong with Michigan? Why has it gone 2-3 in its last five games? The last time out, the Wolverines basically got run out of their own gym by Wisconsin. I think this story sums up a major reason why Michigan is in a funk: It lacks a superstar. Maybe Caris LeVert is the guy.
How important is point man DeAndre Mathieu to Minnesota? Here, let Golden Gophers head coach Richard Pitino explain in this video. Hint: Mathieu is REALLY important.
The best date to make up the Iowa-Indiana game? How about Feb. 27?
TWEETS THAT MATTER
My take: I’d take him in the first round.
My take: Probably was the top offensive lineman in the Big Ten last season.
My take: A nice team.
|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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