Men’s Basketball Around the Big Ten: Week Nine

Audio/Story posted January 13, 2017 in CommRadio, Sports by Sports Staff


Zach Kaplan, Brian McLaughlin, Dylan Huber and Will Desautelle break down this week's basketball matchups around the Big Ten.


While students might have been away for winter break, the athletes certainly weren’t. With the conference schedule in full swing, the contenders and pretenders are beginning to emerge in the Big Ten, with as many as 10 teams competing for the potential to make the NCAA Tournament. In alphabetical order, here’s a look at how each team shapes up.

Illinois (12-5, 2-2 B1G): The Fighting Illini were able rebound from a blowout 16-point loss at Indiana last weekend to take down Michigan at home. The going only gets tougher for John Groce and his team, as they host Maryland on Saturday and travel to Purdue next week.

Indiana (11-6, 1-3 B1G): This team can’t find a way to win right now, as they have slumped through the conference schedule so far, to say the least. Losing four of their last five, they should have an easier week hosting Rutgers, then traveling to Penn State. They’ll need to rebound quickly to get back into the Big Ten race.

Iowa (10-7, 2-2 B1G): The Hawkeyes got a much-needed win, beating Rutgers earlier this week. Fran McCaffery needs his team to show up in spades if they want any shot at beating Purdue. Iowa will travel to Northwestern on Sunday and host Maryland next week. This will be a critical stretch if they want to compete in the Big Ten race.

Maryland (15-2, 3-1 B1G): After a sloppy loss to Nebraska, the Terps were able to beat Michigan and Indiana, and establish themselves as a contender in the Big Ten race. Melo Trimble and company should have a manageable road trip this week, traveling to Illinois and Iowa. Barring no setbacks, Mark Turgeon should have his team back in the top 25 shortly.

Michigan (11-6, 1-3 B1G): The Wolverines were able to pull off a comeback against Penn State, but got blown out on the road by Illinois last week. A win over Nebraska would be a good step in the right direction, but traveling to Wisconsin could provide trouble for John Beilein and his team.

Michigan State (12-6, 4-1 B1G): Any questions about the Spartans after their loss to Penn State at the Palestra were answered with a demolition of Minnesota at home. Tom Izzo publicly apologized for his team’s poor performance in their lack of effort against the Nittany Lions, and showed they can still compete in the Big Ten. They will play in Columbus on Sunday and should not have too much trouble with the Buckeyes.

No. 24 Minnesota (15-3, 3-2 B1G): What had been a tremendous start to the season may have come crashing down in a blowout loss to Michigan State. The Golden Gophers should be able to rally against Penn State on the road this weekend, but an upset loss would raise major questions about the legitimacy of this Minnesota team. 

Nebraska (9-7, 3-1 B1G): Even with the paltry overall record Nebraska has, they have shown how important winning your conference games can be. A four-game winning streak was snapped by Northwestern last week, and the Cornhuskers will look to reestablish their winning ways in the Big Ten against Michigan and Ohio State this week. 

Northwestern (13-4, 2-2 B1G): The Wildcats snapped a two-game losing streak of their own by beating Nebraska. They should be able to build on their .500 conference with games against Rutgers and Iowa this week. Both are winnable games, and Chris Collins can’t afford for his team to slip up against either. 

Ohio State (10-6, 0-3 B1G): It seems the Buckeyes can’t get out of their own way, still looking for their first win in 2017. Three straight losses have made them the doormat of the conference, and things look bleak this week, with a road trip to Wisconsin and a home date with Michigan State on the slate for Thad Matta and his team. 

Penn State (10-7, 2-2 B1G): A big win over the Spartans at the Palestra might be the kick start that a young Nittany Lions team needed. Pat Chambers will have to refocus his team however, if they want to beat a ranked Minnesota team at home. Their next three games are critical, hosting Minnesota and Indiana, then traveling to Purdue next weekend.

No. 17 Purdue (14-3, 3-1 B1G): After a tough loss to Minnesota, the Boilermakers have two straight wins as they head into Iowa City this weekend. Provided they get the win over the Hawkeyes, they could further climb the rankings with winnable games at home against Illinois and Penn State next week. 

Rutgers (11-6, 0-4 B1G): The Scarlet Knights represent the doormat of the conference at the moment, with five straight losses as they continue to look for their first Big Ten win this season. That first conference win might not come for a little bit as they face Northwestern, Indiana and Nebraska in their next three games.

No. 18 Wisconsin (13-3, 2-1 B1G): The Badgers will need to move on from a bad loss at Purdue earlier this week, as they host Ohio State and Michigan this week. Bo Ryan and his team shouldn’t have too much trouble against either, but a slip-up could prove costly in a packed Big Ten field.


Zach Kaplan is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To reach him, send him an email at


About the Contributors

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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)

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Dylan Huberman

Senior / Broadcast Journalism

Dylan Huberman is a Centre County Report student, a contributor for CommRadio, where he formerly served as the co-host of several talk shows, including the NFL talk show “The Point After” with Tyler King, and “Empire State College” with Charles Hart, and also makes regular appearances for PSNtv’s “Penn State Sports Night.” Nicknamed “Hot-take Huberman” by CommRadio alum George Stockburger, Dylan is known for his fiery, outside-the-box style of sports analysis. Outside of Penn State, Dylan has worked as a desk assistant for ABC News out of their Los Angeles Bureau, as well as an intern in the sports department with KABC-TV Los Angeles, and is an editorial writer for Clutchpoints, covering the NBA and NFL. One day, Dylan hopes to make it onto television as a sports analyst or play-by-play announcer, but is very interested in sports radio and editorial writing as well. Follow him on Twitter @dylanhuberman or email him at .(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.