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Iowa at Purdue
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The Big Ten will put on bow on the regular season this weekend, capping what has been a wild and wondrous ride during a season that has seen Indiana and Michigan each hold the No. 1 ranking at some point. And Ohio State, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota all have been ranked in the top 10 at various points this season.
If you are a fan of rushing the court, then you should be loving this season. Upsets and unpredictability have been the norm. This week, began with No. 1 Indiana falling at unranked Minnesota on Tuesday. Then, No. 4 Michigan got unceremoniously dumped at unranked and Big Ten-winless Penn State on Wednesday. I can hardly wait to see what type of zaniness awaits this week.
Indiana was a big winner this week, showing why it’s the No. 1 team in the nation and a favorite to win the school’s first national championship since 1987, when Keith Smart hit one of the biggest shots in school history to down Syracuse. The Hoosiers’ win in East Lansing against Michigan State was very impressive. But that’s not all that went on last week.
There were many winners this week in the Big Ten. But none were bigger than Indiana and Michigan State, which notched impressive victories that solidified their place atop the standings. And, it sets up what should be a huge game on Tuesday, when the Hoosiers visit the Spartans in this week’s version of the “Game of the Year.”
No school epitomized the state of college basketball in 2012-13 better than Indiana this week. The Hoosiers won a thrilling game over No. 1 Michigan on Saturday night to move into sole possession of first place in the Big Ten and atop the polls—only to suffer the low of lows last night by losing to an unranked Illinois team that had lost six of its last seven games.
It has been an interesting week in the Big Ten, with the race coming into sharper focus as we hit the halfway point. Here’s what I know: Four schools have separated themselves from the pack, with Michigan, Indiana, Michigan State and Ohio State appearing to be a cuts-above the rest. But don’t count out Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois just yet.
Fortunes continue to rise and fall in the Big Ten race, which drips with intrigue. No game this weekend is more fascinating than Michigan State’s visit to Indiana on Sunday. The Hoosiers already have lost once at home to Wisconsin. And that loss isn’t looking too good in hindsight. Indiana surely can’t afford another slip, right? But here come the Spartans, winners of six in a row and the hottest team in the Big Ten.
What kind of week has it been in the Big Ten? With Northwestern winning at Illinois on Thursday, road teams have won six of the nine games this week. And we still have Saturday to go. Are you listening, Iowa and Michigan State? Wisconsin plays at Iowa while Ohio State plays at Michigan State in two big games on Saturday. If the Badgers and Buckeyes can continue the trend of road teams winning, it will be impressive.
There is a big weekend on tap, with several games that will go a long way in helping shape the Big Ten race. The headliner is Minnesota’s visit to Indiana on Saturday (noon ET on BTN/BTN2Go). And Michigan’s junket to Ohio State on Sunday also will tell us a lot about both teams—especially the Buckeyes, who must defend their home court to remain among the leaders.
Welcome to the first installment of “Three Pointers,” a fun, informative and informal spin around Big Ten men’s basketball every Friday afternoon. There is a lot to explore with the start of Big Ten action this week. Early signs indicate the conference will be as good as advertised, as six Big Ten teams are ranked in the Top 20. And four are in the top 13.
The final weekend of the Big Ten men’s basketball regular season is here. And thanks to some upsets last week, there’s some drama at the top. Yes, Michigan State (13-4 Big Ten) already has sewn up a share of the seventh Big Ten title in the Tom Izzo era, but the Spartans’ loss at Indiana on Tuesday opened the door for Ohio State and Michigan to earn a share of the crown.
With a little more than a week to go, it has come down to Michigan State, Ohio State and Michigan in the race for the Big Ten title. But other story lines exist. Which four teams will secure first-round byes in the Big Ten tourney? The Spartans, Buckeyes and Wolverines look like locks for three of the slots. But who will get the fourth? Wisconsin? Indiana? Purdue? Or, how about white-hot Iowa?
It has been an interesting week, with the league title chase coming into sharper focus with Michigan State’s big win at Ohio State. It will come down to Sparty vs. Brutus for the title, which is what we thought would happen back in October. So, it looks like the other Big Ten teams are relegated to a chase for third place.
The calendar says February, and the sense of urgency builds for teams with NCAA dreams. Ohio State, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana look like locks. But Illinois, Purdue, Minnesota and Northwestern? Work must be done down the home stretch.
It’s time for my weekly Three-Pointers and I’m firing shots as quickly as I can grab a basketball, giving you a quick look back and forward in the Big Ten. From Michigan State’s tough road loss at Illinois to the steady play of the Big Ten’s big men, it’s been another busy seven days of hoops.