Men’s Basketball: Around the Big Ten Week 12

Audio/Story posted February 3, 2017 in CommRadio, Sports by Sports Staff


Zach Kaplan, Will Desautelle, Brian McLaughlin and Ellie French break down this week's basketball games across the Big Ten. 


As conference play has hit the halfway point, teams across the country clamor for better position in the conference and a better resume for the tournament. This is true in the Big Ten as many hopeful teams try to improve their resume.

Michigan State is one of those marquee names as they have struggled throughout the season. The Spartans are currently fifth in the Big Ten, but their nine losses and RPI hovering around 50 put them in danger of missing the tournament.

Miles Bridges has been the team’s best player, but has struggled with consistency in his freshman season. He needs to bring his best performances as the Spartans need to beat both Nebraska and Michigan on the road to stay in play for the NCAA tournament.

The Indiana Hoosiers have struggled all season as their RPI is in the 70s and they needed triple overtime to beat an up and down Penn State at home. Though they boast a .500 record in conference play, their lack of marquee wins could actually hurt Indiana in the end.

Their wins over Kansas and North Carolina are some of the best in the country, but Illinois and Michigan State being their best conference wins leaves something to be desired. A road win against Wisconsin would definitely change the Hoosiers resume and put them on the right side of the bubble.

Speaking of the Badgers, they are one of the top teams in the Big Ten as they boast the second-best RPI at 21 and are the only Big Ten team in the top 10. Their tenth ranking is a display of their consistent play all season long as Wisconsin does not truly possess any bad losses.

Their one conference loss was to Purdue on the road, while also losing to Creighton and North Carolina in the nonconference. Wisconsin is in a two-way tie for first in the conference and will look to continue their winning ways against the Hoosiers this weekend.

The Maryland Terrapins entered the season as a team with a lot of questions and so far they have seemed to answer all of them. Their 20 wins are the most in the Big Ten and have only lost one game in conference thus far.

While a top 20 RPI is very impressive, the Terrapins have only one win against teams in the RPI top 25 and that was Minnesota. A win against Purdue would change all of that as Purdue is one of the nation’s top teams.

The Boilermakers have been an up and down team this year. They have the ability to play with the best teams in the country like Villanova, yet struggle against a middling Iowa.

Caleb Swanigan powers Purdue and is the Big Ten Player of the Year, barring something crazy happening to him. He powered his way to another double-double with 24 points and 16 rebounds in a rout of Northwestern and will look to do the same against Maryland.

The Big Ten season has been full of surprises, as Northwestern has the same record as Purdue and Minnesota boasting the third-best RPI in the conference. With multiple Big Ten teams on the bubble, the last half of the season is going to be an all-out fight for positioning and better resumes.


Joe Esquivel-Murphy is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism and Spanish. To contact him, email

About the Contributors

Ellie French's photo

Ellie French

Senior / Broadcast Journalism

Ellie French is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. She spent the past two summers as a sports intern for NBC Washington and NBC Sports Bay Area/California. She currently serves as a member of the ComRadio Sports department and was elected as Vice President for the Association for Women in Sports Media (AWSM). Ellie also serves as an anchor and producer for PSNTv’s longest-running sports show Penn State Sports Night. Ellie aspires to one day work as a sideline reporter for a major network or serve on the College GameDay panel. You can contact her at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Joe Esquivel-Murphy's photo

Joe Esquivel-Murphy

Senior / Broadcast Journalism

Joe Esquivel-Murphy is a senior from Bay Head, NJ, majoring in broadcast journalism and Spanish. He has done play-by-play and beat writes for almost all the sports from CommRadio.  His two talk shows, Murph’s Lounge and Road to Russia, covered various different topics as the later previewed the qualification process to the World Cup with the former discussing relevant sports events. Joe also had an internship for Shore Sports Network (an affiliate of Town Square Media) before his junior year. To contact Joe, email him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Will Desautelle's photo

Will Desautelle

Senior / Broadcast Journalism and Spanish

Will Desautelle is a senior from Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania, majoring in broadcast journalism with a minor in Spanish and a certificate in sports journalism. Will is a contributor for Centre County Report and is a staff writer for, covering Penn State men’s hockey and women’s and men’s volleyball. He also covered Super Bowl LIV in Miami for CommRadio and is one of the station’s editors. This past summer, Will interned at ABC-7/WJLA-TV in Washington, D.C. and covered the Little League World Series as a beat writer for Little League International. Will has also completed internships with State College Magazine, the State College Spikes and Additionally, he is a member of the Penn State Men’s Club Volleyball team, which finished first place at nationals in 2019, and is a member of the THON Communications Committee. You can contact him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or follow him on Twitter @wdesautelle.

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Brian McLaughlin

Senior / Broadcast Journalism

Brian McLaughlin is a Senior in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications and one of two student General Managers for CommRadio. He is a Play-by-Play voice for many Penn State sports for CommRadio. Recently he has worked as a Play by Play broadcaster for the Y-D Red Sox in the Cape Cod Baseball League. Previously, he has also worked as a Play by Play Broadcaster for the Kalamazoo Growlers of the Northwoods League. He has also interned with the Altoona Curve, the Double-A Affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates. To contact him please email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Zach Kaplan's photo

Zach Kaplan

Senior / Broadcast Journalism

Zach Kaplan is a senior broadcast journalism major with a double minor in history and sociology. Beyond his work with the Centre County Report, Zach is involved with CommRadio as a sports director and on-air personality, as well as a broadcaster for BTN Student U productions on-campus. He also works with 46Live both on-air and as a producer to provide live coverage of Penn State’s annual Dance Marathon.

Outside of his on-air work, Zach writes for Penn State Athletics covering men’s hockey and lacrosse and has held summer internships with Israel Sports Radio, the Cape Cod Baseball League, and the Coastal Plain League.