Men’s Basketball: Around the Big Ten Week 12
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 email@example.com.