Around the Big Ten Basketball: Week 14
Host Ben Geller and analysts Jordan Hession and Ethan Cook preview the remaining games in the Big Ten this week.
The “Wild West” label that the Big Ten has grown this season continued to prove itself this week with an unranked Purdue destroying Luka Garza and the Iowa Hawkeyes and Penn State recording a statement win in East Lansing being some of the most notable results from this week. There are still five ranked teams at the top, but even those five could see some major shuffling come next week’s new AP Top 25 Poll.
The top two teams in the Big Ten standings are still Maryland and Illinois, as Michigan State is currently on a two-game losing streak. Maryland has won its last five straight, which is tied for the longest streak in the Big Ten with Penn State. The Terps’ last two wins have come against teams that were both in the top 25, beating both Iowa and Rutgers. Illinois, meanwhile, lost to that very same Iowa team by seven points and hasn’t recorded a win since Jan. 30 when the Fighting Illini beat Minnesota. Maryland and Illinois will go head-to-head on Friday to kick off a big weekend for the Big Ten.
The next four teams in the standings all sit one game behind the leaders, with Michigan State only being a half game behind, as the Spartans boast a conference record of 8-4 following back-to-back losses. Their schedule doesn’t get much easier, as they face a two-game road stretch next, first traveling to Ann Arbor for a bout with in-state rival Michigan, then to Champaign against Illinois.
Penn State managed to return to both the upper echelon of the Big Ten as well as the national rankings, sitting at fourth in the conference standings and 22nd in the latest AP Poll. The Nittany Lions’ chances to extend their winning streak are sitting pretty, as they have two unranked opponents up next, those being Minnesota and Purdue.
Both Iowa and Rutgers have a 7-5 conference record, as Iowa fell back a bit after an embarrassing blowout loss against Purdue, while a once-ranked Rutgers squad has started to fall after losing its last two games. Both teams will have games against the bottom of the conference, as Iowa faces off against Nebraska on Saturday while Rutgers takes on Northwestern on Sunday.
With just a couple weeks before the Big Ten Tournament starts, these next few games are going to mean a lot regarding seeding, as 11 Big Ten teams are separated by three games or fewer.
Logan Bourandas is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him email email@example.com.