An updated look at the crazy Big Ten standings …
As if things weren't interesting enough, Iowa lost at Northwestern last night and now there are five teams tied with three losses apiece and two sitting one game back. Home teams have hit more bumps of late, although they are off to a 3-1 start this week (now 37-16 overall). Holding serve at home is still the key. If you can go 8-0 at home and 4-4 on the road, you'll win the conference. Teams that still have that shot are Iowa, Michigan State, Michigan, and Indiana (though they'd need to win their last 4 road games)
For a reminder of what I predicted, take a look at one of the previous week's reviews. Here is how the teams stand today (in order, with actual OOC record, current B10 record – including home & away, and total record):
Iowa – 11-3 / 7-3 (1st) / 5-0 at home, 2-3 away / 18-6 overall
Illinois – 14-0 / 6-3 (T-2nd) / 4-1 at home, 2-2 away / 20-3 overall
Michigan State – 12-2 / 6-3 (T-2nd) / 4-0 at home, 2-3 away / 18-5 overall
Michigan – 10-1 / 6-3 (T-2nd) / 4-0 at home, 2-3 away / 16-4 overall
Ohio State – 11-0 / 5-3 (5th) / 3-1 at home, 2-2 away / 16-3 overall
Wisconsin – 10-3 / 6-4 (6th) / 5-1 at home, 1-3 away / 16-7 overall
Indiana – 8-3 / 5-4 (7th) / 5-0 at home, 0-4 away / 13-7 overall
Northwestern – 7-4 / 4-6 (8th) / 2-3 at home, 2-3 away / 11-10 overall
Penn State – 8-3 / 3-7 (9th) / 1-4 at home, 2-3 away / 11-10 overall
Minnesota – 9-2 / 2-7 (10th) / 1-3 at home, 1-4 away / 11-9 overall
Purdue – 6-5 / 2-9 (11th) / 2-3 at home, 0-6 away / 8-14 overall
Just when I think I have my finger on the pulse of this league, Illinois loses at home to Penn State, Iowa loses at Northwestern (okay, so they have done that the past three trips to Evanston so not a HUGE surprise), Wisconsin loses at Purdue then hammers Indiana. Given the mess, or like I prefer, excitement of the race, here is what I expect the rest of the way (in order of finish, predicted B10 record - including losses (wins for the bottom teams), total record and postseason action):
Michigan State – 12-4 (1st) / 24-6 / NCAA berth – 2 seed / Loss at Iowa. The only change here is who the remaining road loss comes to. Indiana is fading fast, and Iowa will have payback in mind. The V-Day clash between Iowa and MSU will go a long way in determining this race.
Illinois – 11-5 (T-2nd) / 25-5 / NCAA berth – 3 seed / Losses at Ohio State and Michigan State. Illinois suffered a tough loss at home to Penn State, meaning they need to go 5-3 on the road to get back that home loss. That will be tough with trips to Michigan, Ohio State and Michigan State remaining.
Iowa – 11-5 (T-2nd) / 22-8 / NCAA berth – 4 seed / Losses at Indiana and Illinois. It all depends on whether or not Iowa does its usual late season collapse after a somewhat predictable loss at Northwestern. The MSU game is HUGE for the Hawkeyes.
Wisconsin – 10-6 (T-4th) / 20-9 / NCAA berth – 6 seed / Losses at Michigan State and Iowa. Wisconsin is trudging forward. Despite a somewhat shocking loss to Purdue, the Badgers crushed Indiana to get back on track. They will factor into the race for sure.
Michigan – 10-6 (T-4th) / 20-7 / NCAA berth – 7 seed / Losses at Michigan State, to Illinois and at Ohio State. Michigan is in good shape with the home wins, but still has some tough trips to make and if the Iowa game in any indication of how it will go on the road, watch out.
Ohio State – 10-6 (T-4th) / 21-6 / NCAA berth – 6 seed / Losses at Michigan, Wisconsin and Michigan State. OSU falls in the "won't do worse but could do better" category. Already has had some road success albeit against the lower tier teams in the league.
Indiana – 9-7 (7th) / 17-10 / NCAA berth – 9 seed / Losses at Illinois, to Michigan State and at Michigan. IU is fading fast, with two straight losses and three of the last four.
Northwestern – 6-10 (8th) / 14-14 / No Postseason / Wins over Minnesota and at Purdue. "A team fully capable of being a spolier." I said that last week and low and behold, it came true!
Penn State – 4-12 (9th) / 12-15 / No Postseason / Win at Purdue. See also Northwestern.
Minnesota – 3-13 (10th) / 12-15 / No Postseason / Win over Purdue. Minnesota has already sprung a home upset, and might bite again.
Purdue – 2-14 (11th) / 8-19 / No Postseason. Already got one surprising win, could catch Michigan, who they played tough in the first matchup of the season. It all depends on fatigue with a squad that carries only seven scholarship players.
And if you think the race is fun, wait until eveyone converges on Indy for the tourney. I think any of 6-8 teams could legitimately get hot enough to win it this year.