Around The Big Ten
For the second week in a row, the Big Ten will hold the number 1 ranking in the country, just not the same team. In the most hyped game of the season so far, Indiana captured an 81-73 victory over Michigan. Dominant performances from Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller helped pace the Hoosiers.
No major upsets occurred this week, but Illinois was the closest after holding a 10-point halftime lead at Michigan State, only to see the Spartans go on a 14-0 run to open the second half and never look back. Wisconsin was unsuccessful in getting to the free throw line against Ohio State in a 58-49 losing effort in Columbus on Tuesday night. ComRadio previews the upcoming week’s action.
Purdue @ Penn State-February 5, 7:00 PM, BTN
In a matchup that features two of the bottom tier teams in the Big Ten, Penn State is still looking for its first conference win. Purdue has lost three of its last four including last week’s defeats to the Hoosiers and Northwestern. AJ Hammons did not start those games due to violations of team rules. Penn State is coming off a road loss to Iowa on Thursday, which extended the Nittany Lions losing streak to nine. The rematch will feature two of the worst perimeter shooting teams in the Big Ten and should a resemble a low scoring game like their first meeting back on January 13.
Stay tuned for a full Penn State/Purdue preview.
Ohio State @ Michigan-February 5, 9:00 PM, ESPN
One of the greatest rivalries in sports is Ohio State vs. Michigan on the gridiron, and the matchup on the hardwood is gaining ground. The last meeting saw the last undefeated team in the country in Michigan fall to Ohio State in a 56-53 game, which was the tale of two halves. The first half was all Ohio State, extending its lead to as big as 19 points. The second half was led by a Trey Burke attack for Michigan. The Wolverines had a chance to tie the game late in regulation, but was unsuccessful after his 3-point shot rolled out.
Michigan State @ Minnesota-February 6, 7:00 PM, BTN
Back when these two teams met on New Year’s Eve, all the talk was around Minnesota and this being the year for the Gophers to make a run to the Big Ten. It’s been a different story since then. Minnesota is 4-5 since the win and had to hold on to take down a pesky Iowa Hawkeye squad. Michigan State is undefeated at home and the guard combo of Keith Appling, Gary Harris, and Branden Dawson are starting to emerge as a legitimate threat in the country.
Iowa @ Wisconsin-February 6th 9:00 PM, BTN
Iowa took down Wisconsin in the first matchup in Iowa City this year, 70-66, behind an impressive 17-point performance by Aaron White. The Hawkeyes have struggled with the top tier talents in the Big Ten, but they are still looking for a bubble bid with a month left in the season. After an unordinary start from Wisconsin, a road win at Indiana and winning nine out of their last 12 games puts them in prime position to have a chance for the regular season title. The emergence of Traevon Jackson will be a key the rest of the season for postseason success.
Indiana @ Illinois-February 7th 7:00 PM, ESPN
There are not many teams that have been as inconsistent as Illinois has been all year. After another baffling home loss to Wisconsin on Sunday, Illinois will look to add another high quality win to its list that includes wins over Butler, Ohio State, and Gonzaga. No team is flying higher than Indiana, however, after knocking off #1 Michigan on Saturday. A number of different threats on the offensive end for the Hoosiers look to provide problems for a suspect Illini defense.
Michigan @ Wisconsin-February 9th Noon, ESPN
The weekend edition of Big Ten basketball will tip off in Madison. Two teams that offer very different styles will clash in the Kohl Center, where Bo Ryan has won 90% of his games as the Badgers head coach. Michigan will look to score in the 70’s or 80’s with Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. leading the charge. Wisconsin will hope to make it a defensive game and keep it in the 50’s or 60’s.
Northwestern @ Iowa-February 9th 4:30 PM, BTN
Just when everyone was ready to write off Northwestern’s hopes of making the NCAA tournament, the Wildcats are looking to make a late statement in hopes of changing voter’s minds. Former walk-on Reggie Hearn’s team-leading 14.2 points per game and the complementary efforts of Dave Sobolewski are constants for coach Bill Carmody. The first matchup resulted in a 70-50 win by Iowa in Evanston.
Michigan State @ Purdue-February 9th 7:00 PM, BTN
Shooting has been a constant struggle for the Boilermakers all year. AJ Hammons not starting last Saturday against Northwestern added to the problems for coach Matt Painter. The Johnson brothers’ (Ronnie & Terone) combo for Purdue will provide occasional sparks, and the outside shooting from DJ Byrd will probably be the only threat from three-point range. Michigan State won the first matchup back on January 5 in East Lansing by a count of 84-61.
Penn State @ Nebraska-February 9th 9:00 PM, ESPNU
This will without a doubt be the “Game of the Weak” in the Big Ten. Both teams will more than likely enter the game with a total of two conference wins, all by the Cornhuskers. The two teams met back on January 19, where Penn State seemingly handed the game to Nebraska. Two teams that have struggled all year to find an identity will be on display in Lincoln on Saturday night under the guidance of two coaches trying to bring programs back from the dead.
Stay tuned for a full Penn State/Nebraska preview.
Indiana @ Ohio State-February 10th 1:00 PM, CBS
The first of two meetings between two of the best teams in the Big Ten could be the must-see matchup this week. This will cap maybe the roughest week of the year for Ohio State in Columbus. Deshaun Thomas will look for some sort of help on the scoring end to keep up with the high-flying efforts of Indiana. The point guard matchup between Jordan Hulls and Aaron Craft will be one to keep an eye on for sure.
Illinois @ Minnesota-February 10th 6:00 PM, BTN
In a matchup that will feature the two most inconsistent teams in the Big Ten, this could be a great matchup. The guard combo of Minnesota featuring Austin Hollins, Andre Hollins, and Joe Coleman will match up well with Tracy Abrams, Brandon Paul, and DJ Richardson. Illinois will look to bounce back from an 84-67 embarrassment at home in January by getting revenge in The Barn. Minnesota’s Trevor Mbakwe will have a sizable advantage over Tyler Griffey, Nnanna Egwu, and Sam McLaurin.
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.