Around the Big Ten Basketball: Week 17
Host Ethan Cook and analysts Danny Murray and Logan Bourandas discuss the latest in Big Ten Basketball.
With just a few games left until postseason play begins in the Big Ten, the conference has had some questions answered, but many others remain up in the air. Although the race for first might be all but settled, there is still a lot that could change throughout the standings and in teams’ résumés as the big dance gets ever closer. With that being said, let’s take a look around the Big Ten.
To start, the Maryland Terrapins have just about clinched the top spot in the conference as the regular season champions. With the recent struggles of Penn State, Maryland now has a two-game lead over a lengthy list of teams that includes Penn State, Michigan State, Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin. With just four games remaining, Maryland will be the top seed in the Big Ten tournament barring a total collapse.
Meanwhile, there is a huge cluster of teams competing for spots two through four in the Big Ten tournament, as the top four teams all earn a double-bye and begin play in the conference tournament quarterfinals. Things will get sorted out within the next week or so, as all of these teams play each other. It should be a lot of fun watching these teams battle it out. As this college basketball season has taught everyone, anything can happen.
Out of this huge clump of teams, one to keep an eye on is Wisconsin. The Badgers have won five games in a row and are playing great basketball. The Badgers also have a friendly schedule, playing their next two games at home, one of which is against the worst team in the conference, Northwestern. On top of that, they don’t play any ranked teams the rest of the way, which should greatly benefit their odds of earning a top-four seed in the conference tournament.
Another team that has been playing very well recently is Michigan, which has been a winner in four of their past five games. This has been extremely impressive considering one of the Wolverines’ best players, Isaiah Livers, has been in and out of play with an injury during this run. Clearly this has impressed the nation’s top writers, as Michigan is currently ranked No. 19 in the AP Poll.
One team that is playing some of its worse basketball at the wrong time is Purdue. Although the Boilermakers lost to some good teams during its four-game losing streak, they’re a bubble team, and they needed to capitalize on big opportunities to build their tournament résumé. Purdue has not done this. To make matters worse, the Boilermakers still have to play a ranked Iowa team on the road. With the trend they’re on, the Boilermakers could find themselves on the outside looking in when March Madness reaches the horizon.
Overall, the Big Ten has been the most competitive conference all season and could see as many as 12 teams in the NCAA Tournament. Every game in this conference is a dog fight with teams consistently bringing their best basketball to the table. It will be interesting to see how everything plays out with just a few games remaining in the regular season.
Mitch Broder is a sophomore majoring in digital/print journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.