I’m stepping in for Boilerman this week since he’s busy this weekend/early week. It’s probably for the best although his sarcasm/anger on Purdue’s two losses this week as they gave up the chance at a solid lead in the Big Ten standings would have been fun to see!
Penn State Nittany Lions - Penn State got a solid win at home against Maryland this week and then followed it up with a road win over Illinois on Sunday. While the Illinois win doesn’t go too far, the Maryland win gives Penn State a solid Top 75 RPI win to add to its record. They’re still on the outside looking in but Penn State has the guard play to make a run in the Big Ten Tournament if Tony Carr catches fire.
Michigan State Spartans - Michigan State survived against Iowa because for some reason they decided a shootout was a good idea and Miles Bridges knocked down a last second 3 to take down #3 Purdue this week. MSU gave Purdue all the chances to win with Nick Ward and Jaren Jackson seeing limited minutes in foul trouble but Purdue’s guards couldn’t get going and Dakota Mathias had an uncharacteristic bad night from the field.The win over Purdue ties MSU with Purdue for 2nd in the Big Ten but they now own the tiebreaker over them.
Ohio State Buckeyes - I continue to be amazed at the transformation that this team has showed this year with largely the same roster as last year. OSU is rolling under new head coach Chris Holtmann and now controls their destiny with a huge win over Purdue this week that was followed up by an 18 point win over Iowa this weekend. OSU is now chasing seeding in the NCAA Tournament and a 2 or even 1 seed isn’t out of question if they finish the season out the way they’re currently playing.
Nebraska Cornhuskers - Count this as team number two that the entire OTE staff incorrectly predicted. Nebraska is currently sitting in the tournament with an impressive (19-8, 10-4) record, bolstered by two wins over bottom of the conference teams this week and solid play by James Palmer Jr throwing down a 3:1 A/T ratio and Isaiah Roby’s all around solid play inside. I don’t think Nebraska can go that far in the tournament with the way the roster is constructed but barring a collapse, they’re in.
Maryland Terrapins - Maryland bounced back from an ugly loss at Penn State where, like Iowa, defense was non-existent along with effort on the boards to a win against Northwestern where Maryland ran its offense from its strong defensive play. Mark Turgeon also has had the team moving around a lot more on offense and opening up its wings for wide open shots, which any Maryland fan will tell you is a feat to behold. Maryland could still finish the season strong, welcoming the return of center Michael Cekovsky to a depleted interior, and play for home court in the NIT but the NCAA Tournament is out of reach barring an undefeated run to end the season and most likely a tournament championship game appearance.
Northwestern Wildcats - Northwestern started the week off with a solid Top 25 win over Michigan, locking down Michigan on the outside by holding them to sub 25% 3 point shooting. They then followed that up against Maryland by doing the opposite of the Michigan game, allowing Maryland many open looks in the matchup zone as MNW correctly predicted in his previews. Kevin Huerter torched Northwestern with a quick 12 points in the first 4 minutes of the game and while Northwestern hung around, they could never climb all the way back from Maryland’s hot shooting and defensive intensity (something, if I were Northwestern, I would not have expected).
Michigan Wolverines - I debated on this one as stock down because Michigan dropped what would have been its only challenge this week in Northwestern but Michigan doubling up Wisconsin in the first half last night changed my mind. After watching Northwestern let Maryland’s guards drain 3s all day Saturday and then Michigan get back to its normal self against Wisconsin, the more I was convinced that the loss to Northwestern was a bad shooting night and not a real dent in the armor.
Indiana Hoosiers - Yes, two wins, but it’s two wins over two teams tied for 13th in the league. Indiana is still on the first round bye line in the conference tournament even with the poor 3 point shooting this year as the rebuild rolls on.
Purdue Boilermakers - It’s a little weird putting a Top 5-10 team contending for a 1 seed here but Purdue dropped both matchups this week that would have put a stranglehold on the top spot in the conference. Instead, Purdue is now going to need to battle it out to get back to the top of the conference while hoping OSU and MSU can sustain another loss or two.
Wisconsin Badgers - Beat Illinois (everyone should) but Ethan Happ can only do so much against better competition. This roster is terribly constructed and if Ethan Happ had left to play in the pro’s after his freshman season you guys would have removed the need for a tiebreaker for who is worst in the conference this season.
rutgers Scarlet Knights - Well, you broke 50 once this week, hooray? Seriously, I don’t understand this team as they’ll challenge a top team in the league down to the wire and then come up with multiple sub 50 point performances after.
Minnesota Golden Gophers - At least you guys have hockey to turn to. Oh, wait, Notre Dame of all teams just won the Big Ten Conference title there. It’s been a long winter in Minnesota.
Iowa Hawkeyes - New week, same story with Iowa. Offense isn’t the issue this year other than the turnovers but the complete lack of defense has done them in for every loss this season.
hello rutgers my old friend— The Champaign Room (@Champaign_Room) February 12, 2018
i'm tied with you in last again
because we made this game real boring
and went 8 minutes without scoring
and our lineup...that was really rather small