Around The Big Ten- Week of 2/17-2/24
There is no such thing as a day off come February in the Big Ten. A tough one in State College almost saw Penn State prevail over Iowa on Thursday for their first Big Ten win. Overtime was needed on Thursday night in “The Barn” as Minnesota earned a much-needed victory over the 20th ranked Wisconsin Badger, while Ohio State and Northwestern were tied at 57 with just under four minutes to play (the Buckeyes went on a 12-0 run to hold off the upset-minded Wildcats in Columbus).
The Big Ten was headlined at the beginning of the week by the matchup for bragging rights in the state of Michigan as Michigan traveled to take on Michigan State where the Spartans dominated every facet of the game, as they were victorious 75-52. Four Michigan State starters scored in double digits as freshman Gary Harris led the charge with 17 points. Here is this upcoming week’s action.
Indiana @ Michigan State-February 19, 7:00 PM, ESPN
This will be the one circled on every college basketball fan’s schedule. Indiana remained at #1 after winning at home versus Nebraska and Purdue. Michigan State came off a dominating effort over Michigan and is the hottest team in the Big Ten coming down the final weeks of the regular season. The two matched up in Bloomington on January 27th and Indiana was the victor by a score of 75-70. Victor Oladipo led all scorers as four Hoosiers scored in double digits as well. Oladipo is probable with an ankle injury.
Minnesota @ Ohio State-February 20, 7:00 PM, BTN
Minnesota has gradually shifted to the bubble watch after dropping three of their last four in Big Ten play, including a crushing 21-point road loss to Iowa on Sunday. The Gophers are coming down the stretch of their gauntlet of tough Big Ten games and will only play one more ranked team the rest of the regular season. Ohio State has dropped three of their last four coming off a blow out loss at Wisconsin on Sunday. In the only meeting between the two this year, the question for Tubby Smith will be who will guard DeShaun Thomas as he has accounted for most of the Buckeyes offensive production this season.
Wisconsin @ Northwestern-February 20, 9:00 PM, BTN
When talking about the hottest teams in the Big Ten, Wisconsin is in the running for that too. Don’t look now, but the Badgers have put themselves in the running for the regular season Big Ten title as well. The increased production of Traevon Jackson at the point guard position has propelled the Badger offense to another level. Northwestern will be coming in losers in five of their last 6 games.
Penn State @ Illinois-February 21, 8:15 PM, BTN
If Illinois had any thoughts of this being a game to take it easy, they should probably call the Michigan Wolverines. The Nittany Lions took the Wolverines to the wire Sunday, nearly pulling off what would have been a shocking upset. Illinois has maybe the 4 best resume-building wins this season (Butler, Gonzaga, Ohio State, and Indiana), but can’t afford a loss to discredit those. The guard combos of Paul-Richardson and Newbill-Marshall will seemingly be the difference in a game where post play has been a question for both teams this season.
Stay tuned for a full Penn State/Illinois preview.
Iowa @ Nebraska-February 21, 9:00 PM, ESPN2
As the main bubble team in the Big Ten, Iowa cannot afford a loss on Thursday with only one more game against a ranked team. A win over Minnesota on Sunday along with wins over Wisconsin, Northern Iowa, and Iowa State give the Hawkeyes a seemingly reasonable chance at a tournament bid. The emergence of Roy Devyn Marble alongside Aaron White has given Iowa a terrific two-guard combo. This will be the first meeting before the two will square off to end the regular season on March 9th in Iowa City.
Illinois @ Michigan-February 24, 1:00 PM, ESPN
Michigan will have had an entire week to think about their disappointing eight point win over Penn State on Sunday. Trey Burke led all scorers in that game with 29 points and five assists alongside 21 from Glenn Robinson III. Illinois will need a much better performance from Joseph Bertrand off the bench as he only contributed four points in the first meeting. Michigan won the first meeting 74-60 in Champaign on January 27th as four Wolverine starters scored in double figures.
Michigan State @ Ohio State-February 24, 4:00 PM, CBS
Michigan State could potentially come into Columbus as the new leader of the Big Ten if they can beat Indiana on Tuesday. Whether Ohio State wins or loses against Minnesota, their tournament placement should be solidified by now. A second guard, whether Sam Thompson, Aaron Craft, or Lenzelle Smith, will have to show up to be able to keep up with the spectacular combination of Appling-Harris-Dawson. The improved play as of late by Derrick Nix will also be a cause for concern as the final starting spot has been in flux this year for Ohio State.
Northwestern @ Purdue-February 24, 6:00 PM, BTN
In a game where both teams are out of the national bubble talk for a tournament bid, both teams are coming off embarrassing losses to in-state rivals. Purdue lost by 28 to Indiana this past weekend and Northwestern lost to Illinois by 21 at home. Northwestern will have had a chance to erase that loss, while Purdue will not have played for eight days and will look to finish strong heading into Big Ten tournament play. The two met on February 2nd in Evanston that ended in a 75-60 Wildcat victory. Reggie Hearn led all scorers that game with 26 points.
About the Contributors
Senior / Broadcast Journalism
Ryan is a senior from Bloomington, Illinois majoring in broadcast journalism with a minor in english. He has been involved with numerous radio shows, play-by-plays, beat writes and producing various Penn State athletics events since his first days of being on campus in the fall of 2012 with ComRadio. Since the fall of 2013, Ryan has been involved with State College’s ESPN Radio 1450 as an assistant producer intern and high school football reporter.
During the summer of 2014, Ryan co-hosted Sports Central with Cory Giger streaming over Altoona, Pa. and State College Pa. markets. Ryan also assisted USA Basketball media coverage in New York for World Cup of Basketball exhibition games.
Ryan was the marketing & communications intern for USA Track & Field at the national office in Indianapolis, Indiana. He was the media contact for the 2015 USATF Hershey Youth Outdoor Championships as well as the 2015 National Junior Olympics.