Read Thursday's 10 Big Ten headlines

The amazing story of Nebrasketball continues, as the Cornhuskers rolled into Indiana last night and won. Ho-hum, right? We’ve come to expect this, right? That gave Nebraska a sweep of the season series with the Hoosiers. (More proof that if you live long enough, you WILL see everything.) This is just bizarro. But it’s also fun as heck. Someone call Hollywood.

Wisconsin remained on fire last night, pushing its winning streak to eight games with a victory over visiting Purdue. There is no team hotter than the Badgers. And there may be no player hotter than Frank Kaminsky. I just hope Wisconsin isn’t peaking too soon. I wrote a few days ago that this Badgers team still is in contention for a No. 1 NCAA seed. And Tom Oates of Madison.com agrees.

Big Ten Standings (through 3/5)
Conference Overall
W-L W-L
Michigan 14-3 22-7
Wisconsin 12-5 25-5
Michigan State 11-5 22-7
Nebraska 10-7 18-11
Iowa 9-7 20-9
Ohio State 9-8 22-8
Minnesota 7-10 18-12
Indiana 7-10 17-13
Illinois 6-11 17-13
Penn State 5-11 14-15
Northwestern 5-11 12-17
Purdue 5-12 15-15
View Full Standings

***

Michigan State and Iowa meet tonight in a matchup of desperate teams. Each squad is a lock to make the NCAA tourney. But each also is still searching for answers. It’s too late in the season to be doing that. (Sigh.) Iowa finished February with four losses in seven games. Michigan State has lost five of its last eight games. Still, both of these teams are somehow ranked.

A big key for the Spartans will be the play of Keith Appling and his cranky wrist. He looked good in practice this week. But how will he do when the lights are flipped on tonight? If Appling doesn’t regain his form, MSU’s season won’t end where it wants it to end.

***

Yes, Ohio State is mired in a two-game losing skid. But stay calm, Bucky. OSU is still a lock for the NCAA tourney.

Yep, Bob Baptist of the Columbus Dispatch says that even a worst-case scenario — the unranked Buckeyes losing their regular-season finale at home to Michigan State on Sunday, and losing again to a lower-seeded team in their first Big Ten tournament game next week — won’t be enough to keep them from a sixth straight date in the NCAA tournament. So, relax.

***

Impressive that Michigan has won the outright Big Ten title without Trey Burke or Tim Hardaway, Jr., and with Mitch McGary playing just eight games. A watershed moment for this team’s development came in the Big Ten opener, a 63-60 win at Minnesota on Jan. 2 in which freshmen Zak Irvin and Derrick Walton, Jr., grew up.

And the fact Michigan is developing a defensive identity to go along with its rich offensive game has made the Wolverines especially formidable. I’m dying to see Michigan and Wisconsin meet again.

***

Iowa A.D. Gary Barta says there have been no serious discussions about playing football games on Friday nights. But November night games are more of a possibility.

***

Who is the top cornerback in the 2014 NFL draft? It may be ex-Spartan Darqueze Dennard. No doubt, Dennard will be a first-round pick. And he could end up going to the Detroit Lions with the No. 10 pick.

***

This story building around Mike McQueary—a key figure in the Jerry Sandusky scandal at Penn State–continues to get weirder. Now there are allegations that he bet on Nittany Lions games while in school. You can’t make this stuff up, people.

***

TWEETS THAT MATTER

Amazing.

Huskers get a shot at Badgers this weekend.

Loss probably killed Indiana’s already-faint NCAA hopes.

Agree. He’s a key cog and merits recognition.

I like it.

Having a good QB no doubt will help those receivers.

Incredible.

More proof of this team’s offensive prowess.

This isn’t good.

Ugh. Can you say “downhill fast”? Sure you can. Try it.

***

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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