There’s a different name atop my Big Ten Player of the Year Tracker for the third time in as many weeks. Entering the final week of the regular season, it’s Michigan’s Nik Stauskas coming in at No. 1, a spot held by Nebraska’s Terran Petteway and Iowa’s Devyn Marble the previous two weeks. Agree? Feel free to tweet your nominee my way, @BTNBrentYarina.
There are five teams that look to be locks for NCAA bids: Michigan, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Ohio State and Iowa. But four other schools enter the final week of action making pushes for the Big Dance: Minnesota, Illinois, Nebraska and Indiana. Of course, each team could earn a NCAA bid by winning the Big Ten tourney in Indianapolis, which begins March 13. But short of that, what does each team need to do to make it as an at-large squad?
With Ohio State’s losses at Penn State and Indiana, the Big Ten is down to four teams ranked in the AP Poll, released Monday. Wisconsin, winners of seven straight, is back in the top 10, at No. 9, while Michigan, which has clinched at least a share of the Big Ten title, is No. 12. The other two teams: Michigan State (No. 22) and Iowa (No. 24).
This is it, the last week of Big Ten action. And, that means one thing: Expect the unexpected. As for the title chase, there isn’t much drama left, as Michigan already has wrapped up at least a share of the championship. Other schools are looking to enhance their NCAA resumes.
Who is the hottest team in the league? It’s Wisconsin, and it’s not even close. After Sunday’s win at Penn State, the Badgers have ripped off seven wins in a row.
The Big Ten office announced its Big Ten Men’s Basketball Player of the Week on Monday, and there’s a first-time honoree. Indiana senior Will Sheehey won Player of the Week for the first time in his career, this after averaging 18.7 points and 4.3 rebounds in Indiana’s 2-1 week. Illinois’ Kendrick Nunn claimed Freshman of the Week for the second time in a row.