Around the Big Ten: Week 14 (Basketball)

Story posted February 25, 2021 in Sports, CommRadio by Adam Sheetz

The Big Ten has consistently been amazing throughout the 2021 season, and the conference is playing its best ball with March right around the corner. The Big Ten has three teams in the top-5 and five teams ranked in the AP polls.

The Big Ten has been great this season, and still has some huge games left on its slate.

No. 3 Michigan battled No. 4 Ohio State in a marquee matchup on Sunday, and the Wolverines left Columbus with a huge 92-87 win. Michigan had five players score in double figures in the win, including guard Chaundee Brown, who came off the bench and scored 15 points.

The Wolverines have been impressive all year, and might be peaking at just the right time.

The Wolverines now will host No. 9 Iowa in a huge matchup Thursday night. This game is headlined by two of the best bigs in the Big Ten, with Iowa’s Luka Garza going up against Michigan freshman Hunter Dickinson.

Iowa was supposed to be at the top of the conference and in these huge games, but Michigan has surprised many to become the favorite to win the Big Ten title in the regular season. This should be a great matchup, and could be a preview for what these teams will be able to do in March.

Speaking of March, the Michigan State Spartans have been a consistent program that is usually a lock for the NCAA Tournament. This year, however, the Spartans have struggled, but they picked up a huge win to play their way back onto the bubble.

The Spartans knocked off No. 5 Illinois 81-72 to give them the key win they desperately needed. Forward Aaron Henry was huge in the win, scoring 20 points and dishing out five assists.

The Spartans looked like a long shot to play in the NCAA Tournament a week ago, but with this win, they have given themselves a chance to hear their name called on selection Sunday.

The Big Ten regular season crown is still up for grabs, but the most competitive race could be the one to see who will come home with Big Ten Player of the Year. Iowa center Luka Garza appeared to be a lock for the award in the first half of the season, but he has slowed a little in the second half of the year. While he slowed, Illinois guard Ayo Dosunmu elevated his play to a different level, playing the best basketball of his career.

Dosunmu has two triple-doubles in the month of February, and has been an amazing leader for the Illini. He has also been the most clutch player in basketball, hitting big shots in the big moments every time the Illini need it. This race appeared to be a run-away, but Dosunmu’s late push has made this the closest award race the conference has seen in a very long time.

The Big Ten has a lot of storylines heading into the final week of the season, and should get the answers very soon. In these final games, the Big Ten still will give the fans a lot of exciting basketball to watch, something they have done every game this year.

Adam Sheetz is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email ads360@psu.edu.