There is only a month left in the regular season. As usual, you can expect some fun in the Big Ten during the stretch run. Will Michigan or Nebraska be able to earn their place in the big show? Will Maryland, Indiana, or Ohio State be able to challenge Wisconsin for the top spot?
On The Bubble
Someone Has To Be Bottom-Dwellers
* Not many saw it coming, but Purdue is jumping up the Power Rankings. They were one of the bottom “bubble teams,” but with a 7-4 Big Ten record and sitting 15-9 overall they are in good shape to make the NCAA tournament, barring a setback. Head coach Matt Painter is doing a good job and rebounding well after disappointing last season.
* What is wrong with the Huskers? That is the questions everyone is asking. The answers have as much variety as a Baptist convention. Some blame Terran Petteway’s leadership, the lack of offensive power, streaky point guard play, lack of production from role players, and overall inconsistency as a squad. One thing is for certain: head coach Tim Miles needs to get his team to pull off an epic run (bigger than last year) in order to get his team into March Madness. It is looking shaky.
The Hoosiers are still a top team in the Big Ten, but they have shown some cracks in the foundation. They have lost three of their last five games by a combined 42 points. Indiana needs to snap back, quick. The good thing for them is their schedule sets up nicely for that to happen.
Michigan State will be playing when the 68 teams collide, but this is not one of Tom Izzo’s stronger teams. They need a couple road wins as their best win away from home is Iowa on January 8th. They will get their opportunities as they play Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan on the road before the season ends.
* You can’t say enough about the season Maryland is having. It isn’t only possible, but likely that they finish the season 25-6. Not many expected them to be this close to the top of the Big Ten, but they sit firmly right behind Wisconsin. They are proving to be a great addition to the conference.
Key Matchups This Week:
Wisconsin at Nebraska Can Nebraska get a statement win against the Badgers for the second season in a row?
Indiana at Maryland
Minnesota at Iowa The Hawkeyes need this win. Can’t slip here.
Michigan at Illinois Another opportunity for Michigan to get a good road win.