Around the Big Ten: 2/10-2/16
The Big Ten has been nothing short of confusing this season. Michigan currently sits atop the Big Ten after Tuesday’s road win against archrival Ohio State, while Michigan State is currently in second and coming off a loss at Wisconsin and win against Northwestern.
This conference season has been a little different from past seasons however, due to the bottom of the Big Ten being stronger.
While the Big Ten has always been a gauntlet for most, there are still some teams who have yet to figure out their identity, and can either play their way into the field of 68, or out of the field of 68. Here’s a look at some upcoming Big Ten games that may shape the landscape of college basketball in the weeks to come.
No. 16 Iowa (18-6, 7-4 Big Ten) at Penn State (13-12, 4-8 Big Ten) Saturday: 1:00 ET
Iowa is shaping up to be a Final Four-caliber team at this point in the season, and their game at Penn State will be the first time they’ve played since February 8th, when they defeated Michigan. Defeating Iowa will certainly be not a simple task for the Nittany Lions, even at home. Slowing down Iowa’s Roy Devyn Marble will be an even more challenging task.
No. 22 Ohio State (19-6, 6-6 Big Ten) at Illinois (14-11, 3-9 Big Ten) Saturday: 8:00 ET
Ohio State is coming off a 10-point home loss to Michigan and will look to rebound against an Illinois team who has lost nine of their last 10. Illinois started the season 13-2, but since then they haven’t exactly been able to get the train rolling.
No. 21 Wisconsin (20-5, 7-5 Big Ten) at No. 10 Michigan (18-6, 10-2 Big Ten): 1:00 ET
This will be Michigan’s first game since their emotional victory against Ohio State. Michigan is led by sophomore Nik Stauskas, who is arguably the nation’s most improved player from last season. Back on January 18th,VMichigan knocked off the then number three ranked Wisconsin Badgers, in Madison. The Badgers and Wolverines have a similar style of play, and they both are capable of shooting the three ball effectively.
The X-factor for Michigan is going to be the play of sophomore combo forward Glenn Robinson III. Also look for freshman Nigel Hayes to step in and knock down some big shots for the Badgers. Hayes has become a key player for this Wisconsin team and while he only averages seven points a game, the forward from Toledo, Ohio, has scored over 14 points in each of the last three games.
Chad Carey is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.