The Cream and The Pack
I’ve harped on it all season long, the fact that this was going to be, has been and will be a two horse race for the Big Ten title and a number one seed in the NCAA Tournament. As each week goes by, that just keeps getting beyond crystal clear. Wisconsin and Ohio State will play for the Big Ten title in Columbus on Sunday, February 25.
In the meantime, where and how the pack is settling is quite entertaining. The Big Ten stands to get five teams in the dance, though maybe four or as many as six. Indiana is more or less a lock, so that means Michigan State, Illinois, Purdue, Michigan and Iowa are fighting for those 1-3 berths. Michigan State and Michigan square off twice in the last three weeks. One of them will likely be eliminated due to their head-to-head match-ups. Iowa has ground to make up for a very lackluster OOC run. Illinois and Purdue stand to gain some ground with their schedules. No matter what, hang on; it’ll be a wild ride.
By the way, home teams went 7-3 last week and now stand 40-18 (.690) in conference play…
The contenders… as I touched on above and almost every week here, the Big Ten race will come down to Ohio State and Wisconsin. Each sits at 10-1 but Ohio State is firmly planted in the driver’s seat. Wisconsin still has Michigan State twice and a trip to Columbus in its last five. Ohio State entertains the Badgers at home and gets Penn State - twice.
The pack… Indiana, Iowa, Illinois, Michigan State, Michigan and Purdue are all duking it out to avoid the dreaded first day match-up in the Big Ten tourney. Indiana is likely a lock as the third best team in the conference. That means Illinois and Michigan (currently in the 4 & 5 slots) will be fighting to hold serve while Purdue and Michigan State try to move up the ranks. The good news is, whoever falls to 6 might have to play on day one, but will get Indiana and not Wisconsin or Ohio State on day two.
The cellar dwellers… Penn State is just a flat out disappointment to me. They have two of the top rebounders in the conference and some real scoring punch but they don’t play a lick of defense. I dare say that if the Nits defended anyone half as well as they rebound, they’d be in the mix above and fighting for an NCAA bid.
Team of the week… Purdue. The Boilermakers flat out annihilated Michigan State in the midweek game and then gave Ohio State all they could handle in Columbus.On the rise… Purdue. The win over MSU was a statement victory and the near upset of the Buckeyes was also big for confidence as we hit the back stretch.
In need of some “Ws”… Iowa, Michigan State, Illinois, Purdue and Michigan. This is the core group fighting for as few as one and as many as three (very unlikely) bids to the NCAA Tournament. The time to make hay is NOW!
Player of the Week…Ohio State freshman point guard Mike Conley Jr. was the catalyst in two solid home wins for the scarlet and gray. The point guard went off for a career best 23 points and also tallied 6 assists against Michigan and followed that up with a 14 point, 4 assist night against Purdue. Speaking of Purdue, David Teague was a close runner up with an unconscious second half against Michigan State and a solid 17 points at OSU.
This Week’s Schedule:
Feb. 13 – Michigan at Michigan State
Feb. 14 – Indiana at Purdue (Tiebreaker)
Feb. 14 – Ohio State at Penn State
Feb. 14 – Wisconsin at Minnesota
Feb. 14 – Northwestern at Iowa
Feb. 17 – Penn State at Wisconsin
Feb. 17 – Iowa at Michigan State
Feb. 17 – Indiana at Michigan
Feb. 18 – Ohio State at Minnesota
Feb. 18 – Northwestern at Illinois
Get Gamm Basketball Standings
Three players went 9-1, but Buckeye Nation surged back in front with a perfect 10-0 slate.
1 - Buckeye Nation: 57-15 (.792) – 3 GG Wins
2 - Gamm: 56-16 (.778) – 2 GG Wins
3 - Dan Meyer: 54-18 (.750) - 1 GG Win
4 - phatsdawg: 50-22 (.694)
5 – PUFan*: 40-12 (.769) – 1 GG Win
*PUFan DNP in week five or six and moves to the bottom slot.