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This is a nice week that is anchored by a Titanic prime-time clash on Saturday: No. 1 Michigan at No. 3 Indiana, which began the season No. 1. This should be a battle of first-place teams, with the winner in the driver’s seat to win the Big Ten.
Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports
Another week, another slate of big games in the Big Ten, which has five Top 25 teams this week: No. 2 Michigan; No. 7 Indiana; No. 12 Minnesota; No. 13 Michigan State; No. 14 Ohio State. Illinois dropped out, while Wisconsin looked poised to join the ranks of the ranked after winning at Indiana on Tuesday but then lost at Iowa on Saturday.
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How can you top last week in the Big Ten, which saw Minnesota play at Indiana and Michigan travel to Ohio State? You can’t. Still, this week has some nice matchups. The top tilt is Michigan’s trip to Minnesota. But there also is Wisconsin at Indiana on Tuesday and Ohio State at Michigan State on Saturday, making this another key week in the Big Ten schedule.
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Buckle up, this is gonna be a big week, a week that goes a long way toward determining the early pecking order of a Big Ten race that should be spectacular. And, know this: The team that can win road games is going to win the Big Ten. So, here’s the formula: go unbeaten at home; and go 6-3 or 5-4 on the road. That should get you at least a share of the Big Ten championship.
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The Big Ten takes the lid off of conference action this week. Now, we really will discover what these teams are made of. The Chicago States, Slippery Rocks, North Floridas, Bryants and Nebraska-Omahas are being replaced with trips to places like Bloomington, Ann Arbor, East Lansing, Champaign and Minneapolis.
The last week of the regular season is here. Where’s the drama? Michigan State already has sewn up at least a share of Tom Izzo’s seventh Big Ten title thanks to the Spartans pushing their winning streak to seven and Ohio State and Michigan both losing—at home, no less—over the weekend (standings). Michigan State can claim the outright title with a win at Indiana on Tuesday, potentially taking any remaining pizzazz out of that season-ending visit to East Lansing by Ohio State.
With each passing week, Michigan State is looking more and more dominant. In fact, this past week may have been the Spartans’ best yet, dominating Wisconsin, 69-55, in East Lansing and whipping Purdue, 76-62, in West Lafayette. Michigan State is looking to maintain its one-game lead this week, playing at Minnesota and playing host to Nebraska. Neither game looks threatening to the Spartans, but they must remain vigilant against a letdown.
With Michigan State’s huge—and surprisingly convincing–win at Ohio State on Saturday, the Big Ten title chase has become a jumbled four-team race (standings). The Spartans and Buckeyes are tied at the top with 9-3 league marks, while the Wolverines are one half-game behind, at 9-4, and the Badgers are one game behind, at 8-4.
With the Super Bowl behind us, college basketball now becomes the center of the sports universe. And the Big Ten will get a lot of that attention this week with a collection of nice games headlined by Michigan State’s titanic visit to Ohio State on Saturday in a showdown between the top two teams in the Big Ten. In this week’s Big Ten Whiteboard, I draw up my game of the week, a sleeper matchup, the head-to-head battle between players you need to see, plus a few more items.
This shapes up as one of the best weeks of the season with several marquee matchups. The teams most on the spot? It’s Michigan State and Indiana, which each has two big games. The Spartans play host to Michigan and travel to Illinois; the Hoosiers have two on the road: Michigan and archrival Purdue. But don’t forget about surging Wisconsin, either. The Badgers, winners of five straight and one game out of the Big Ten lead, travel to Penn State and host first-place Ohio State. Get ready for the week ahead in this post.
Can you see it? I can. It’s stratification in this crazy Big Ten title chase. Ohio State, Michigan State and Michigan sit atop the standings with 5-2 league marks. Right behind that trio are Wisconsin, Illinois and Purdue with three conference defeats.
Up is down. In is out. Black is white. Welcome to Big Ten basketball 2012, a season filled with twists and turns that have jumbled the race (standings). And the conference season isn’t even half over. This past week was filled with tumult that scrambled the league standings and made one thing perfectly clear: This is going to be a wild race for the Big Ten championship.
The Big Ten men’s basketball season is really heating up as we enter a third week of league action, so it’s time to roll out the first installment of my Monday basketball column. We’re calling this my Big Ten Whiteboard, because I’ll be drawing up all the good stuff you’ll need to keep track of in the week ahead.