Around the Big Ten Basketball: Week 6
Host Jeremy Ganes and analysts Ben Geller and Logan Bourandas detail all the matchups in the Big Ten this week.
Week 6 is officially underway, and, currently Big Ten teams currently own three of the top five spots in the AP Poll. So far this season, the conference has not disappointed. Many teams have been playing some stellar basketball early on. As winter break is approaching, and student-athletes across the country are studying for finals, it’s a relatively slow week for the Big Ten. There are some conference contests, but the majority of teams are only participating in one game this week. Nonetheless, let’s dive in and take a look exactly what’s going on around the Big Ten:
No. 3 Ohio State (9-0, 1-0)
Ohio State is beginning to emerge as one of the most formidable teams in the country. The Buckeyes sit at No. 3 in the AP Poll following convincing wins over North Carolina and Penn State last week, continuing their unblemished start. There’s not much that’s noteworthy for the Buckeyes in this upcoming week, however. The Buckeyes don’t have a game until Sunday, when they square off against conference opponent Minnesota. Barring anything unexpected, the Buckeyes are currently in a good spot. Even with only one game this week, the Buckeyes should be trending upward. No. 1 Louisville was upset by Texas Tech on Tuesday night, so expect the Buckeyes to move up into at least the No. 2 spot. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see them sitting at the very top at No. 1 either.
No. 4 Maryland (10-1, 1-1)
Maryland suffered its first conference loss, and its first loss overall, at the hands of the Penn State Nittany Lions on Tuesday night. The Terrapins, currently ranked at No. 4, will likely drop. They’ll be seeking to get back on track, but their next opponent isn’t any easier. The Terps don’t have another game this week, but the showdown with No. 22 Seton Hall on Dec. 19 is going to be a big one.
No. 5 Michigan (8-2, 1-1)
Michigan has perhaps the most challenging upcoming week for the top half of the Big Ten teams. It all started on Wednesday with a 71-62 loss to an unranked Illinois team that also gave No. 4 Maryland a run for its money. Next, the Wolverines will enter a huge top-10 showdown with the Oregon Ducks at home on Saturday, Dec. 14.
No. 16 Michigan State (6-3, 1-0)
After starting the season ranked No. 1 in the AP Poll, the Spartans have skidded all the way down to No. 16, and it won’t be for a while that the Spartans have another opportunity to prove themselves. All they can do is win the games that are in front of them, and that begins this week with Oakland on Saturday, Dec. 14.
Penn State (8-2, 1-1)
After an embarrassing 32-point loss to Ohio State, Penn State was on the verge of not being taken seriously once again. However, they responded in a huge way on Tuesday night by claiming victory over the No. 4 Maryland Terrapins 76-69. The Nittany Lions forced 20 Maryland turnovers, and four out of five starters scored in double figures. Looking ahead, Penn State has a few games before it resumes conference play. It begins with Alabama at the Bryce Jordan Center on Saturday, Dec. 14. The Nittany Lions will be looking to carry all their momentum into the contest with the Crimson Tide.
Purdue (6-3, 1-0)
After a relatively underwhelming start to the season, Purdue has rebounded nicely as of late by defeating ACC powerhouse Virginia and winning its conference opener versus Northwestern. The Boilermakers received a whopping 130 votes to be ranked in the latest AP Poll. If they keep winning, they could find themselves ranked very soon. It’ll start with a conference showdown with Nebraska on Sunday, Dec. 15.
Indiana (9-1, 0-1)
Indiana opened conference play with a loss to Wisconsin last Saturday. However, sitting at 9-1, the Hoosiers are sticking right with the best of the best in the Big Ten. They’re coming off a nail-biting win, in which they edged UConn 57-54. Next up for the Hoosiers, is a conference showdown at home versus Nebraska on Friday, Dec. 13. Archie Miller’s squad is going to be looking to keep its stellar start to the season going.
Iowa (7-3, 1-1): Won 72-52 vs. Minnesota, next vs. Iowa State (Dec. 12)
Wisconsin (5-5, 1-1): Lost 72-65 vs. Rutgers, next vs. Milwaukee (Dec. 21)
Minnesota (4-5, 0-1): Lost 72-52 vs. Iowa, next vs. Ohio State (Dec. 15)
Illinois (7-3, 1-1): Won 71-62 vs. Michigan, next vs. Old Dominion (Dec. 14)
Rutgers (7-3, 1-1): Won 72-65 vs. Wisconsin, next vs. Seton Hall (Dec. 14)
Northwestern (4-4, 0-1): Lost 58-44 vs, Purdue, next vs. SIU Edwardsville (Dec. 15)
Nebraska (4-5, 0-0): Lost 95-76 vs. Creighton, next vs. Indiana (Dec. 13)
Zach Donaldson is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.