Around the Big Ten: Week 10 (Basketball)

Story posted January 29, 2021 in Sports, CommRadio by Trevor Grady

The Big Ten is the best conference in college basketball. It’s as simple as that.

The conference has six teams ranked in the top 25 of the AP Poll and 11 teams with an overall record over .500. In Joe Lunardi’s most recent version of Bracketology, he predicted that 10 Big Ten teams would make the NCAA Tournament.

Sitting atop the conference standings is Michigan. It’s only Juwan Howard’s second season as the Wolverines head coach, and he has them ranked No. 4 in the country with a 13-1 record.
Freshman center Hunter Dickinson has been a force inside all season long. He is averaging 15.1 points per game on 68.8% shooting from the field.

Unfortunately, we won’t be able to see Dickinson and the Wolverines play for a while because of so many postponements due to COVID-19 concerns. Michigan’s next game is scheduled for February 11th when it is set to take on No. 19 Illinois.

Illinois was ranked as high as No. 5 in the AP Poll earlier this season, but has lost two of its last three games. Illinois is set to take on No. 7 Iowa on Friday night.

This game will be a matchup between the two best big men in the Big Ten: Iowa’s Luka Garza and Illinois’ Kofi Cockburn. Garza is the frontrunner for the Wooden Award and is averaging 26.9 points and 8.9 rebounds per game. Cockburn is averaging 17.4 points and 10.3 rebounds per game.

That isn’t the end of the stars that will appear in this game either. Illinois’ junior guard Ayo Dosunmo is averaging 21.7 points and 6.3 rebounds per game.

Iowa is ranked No. 2 in the Big Ten standings, but is coming off of its first loss of the new year to Indiana.

A team that has flown under the radar all season long is the Wisconsin Badgers. The Badgers are 13-4 on the season and are ranked No. 14 in the AP Poll. Their next matchup is on Saturday against Penn State.

Penn State has been one of the most frustrating teams in all of college basketball this season. Five of the Nittany Lions’ seven losses have been by single digits, and their record sits at 5-7, 2-6 in the Big Ten.

Penn State’s last loss came at the hands of the No. 13 Ohio State Buckeyes. The Buckeyes sit at 13-4 overall and 7-4 in Big Ten play.

Sophomore forward E.J. Liddell has been a huge bright spot all season long for the Buckeyes, averaging 15 points and 6.8 rebounds per game.

No. 21 Minnesota travels to West Lafayette on Saturday to take on Purdue in Mackey Arena. Minnesota has won three of its last four games, but that is almost expected at this point of the season in the conference. Purdue is 11-6 on the season, and this would be a huge win for the Boilermakers heading into February.

Trevor Grady is a junior majoring in management information systems and minoring in journalism. To contact him, email tmg5685@psu.edu.