Tournament week is in the books for the Big Ten, and several teams came home with a good showing. Others, though, are still picking up the pieces. Looking at you, Purdue and Iowa.
1) Michigan State Spartans (Last Week: 2)
Previously: W vs DePaul 73-51*, W vs UConn 77-57*, W vs No. 9 North Carolina 63-45*
The Spartans put the Duke loss behind them and had a great showing in the PK80. They cruised past all three opponents, including No. 9 North Carolina to win the championship. This is the Spartan team we were all expecting to see.
Up Next: vs No. 13 Notre Dame (Thur), vs Nebraska (Sun)
2) Minnesota Golden Gophers (LW: 3)
Previously: W vs Alabama A&M 100-57, W vs UMass 69-51*, W vs Alabama 89-85*
Like Michigan State, Minnesota made quick work of its opponents in their tournament. They also got the honor of playing five-on-three against the Crimson Tide, due to a number of ejections, injuries, and foul-outs. Somehow, Alabama still made it a game playing 10 minutes of undermanned basketball. I know Richard Pitino may have instructed his players to slow down a bit, but nearly giving up the lead? That’ll be enough to keep them behind Michigan State this week.
Up Next: vs No. 11 Miami (Wed), vs Rutgers (Sun)
3) Maryland Terrapins (LW: 4)
Previously: W vs Jackson State 76-45, L vs St. Bonaventure 63-61*, W vs New Mexico 80-65*
The same problems that showed up against Bucknell reared their ugly head against the Bonnies, and this time it cost Maryland the game. The difference, of course, that it was St. Bonaventure making the furious comeback this time around. The other two games were business as usual.
Up Next: at Syracuse (Mon), vs No. 18** Purdue (Fri), at Illinois (Sun)
4) Purdue Boilermakers (LW: 1)
Previously: L vs Tennessee 78-75*, L vs Western Kentucky 77-73*, W vs Arizona 89-64*
This is not the kind of trip Purdue had planned when it signed up for the Battle 4 Atlantis. The Boilermakers were manhandled by Tennessee, followed up by not being able to stop Western Kentucky, and, finally, salvaged their trip by beating Arizona. Most expected Arizona and Purdue to play, but not for 7th place...
Up Next: vs No. 19 Louisville (Tue), at Maryland (Fri)
5) Michigan Wolverines (LW: 7)
Previously: W vs LSU 77-75*, W vs Chaminade 102-64*, W vs VCU 68-60*, W vs UC Riverside 87-42
Playing with fire finally burned Michigan against LSU. The Tigers led for most of the game, but Michigan did grab a six-point lead late in the second half, one they would relinquish by the end of the game. They salvaged their tournament outing by beating VCU.
Up Next: at No. 9 North Carolina (Wed), vs Indiana (Sat)
6) Wisconsin Badgers (LW: 6)
Previously: L vs No. 22 Baylor 70-65*, L vs UCLA 72-70, W vs Wisconsin-Milwaukee 71-49
Two ranked teams, two losses. If you count Xavier last week, that’s three for three. I don’t know how these Badgers are going to finish, but right now they’re a clear step below where they were last year.
Up Next: at Virginia (Mon)
7) Penn State Nittany Lions (LW: 8)
Previously: W vs Pitt 85-54*, L vs No. 16 Texas A&M 98-87*, W vs Oral Roberts 86-48
A flurry of threes late made the Pitt score closer than it actually was. Penn State led by over 40 for stretches of the second half. The Nittany Lions hung with A&M for most of the night, but a stretch where the Aggies opened up a 17-point lead spelled doom down in the end.
Up Next: at NC State (Wed), at Iowa (Sat)
8) Iowa Hawkeyes (LW: 5)
Previously: L vs Louisiana 80-71*, L vs South Dakota State 80-72*, W vs UAB 95-85*
Iowa, what happened?! The ULL game was uglier than the score indicated. Louisiana led by as many as 20 in the second half, and kept that distance for most of it until Iowa’s late run to cut it to single digits. Meanwhile, the Jackrabbits pretty much had their way with the Hawkeyes all game. Iowa actually shot the ball well in that game, they just couldn’t stop South Dakota State. Even in their win against UAB, the defense was not able to stop the Blazers. Looks like Iowa is going to be in a lot of shootouts this season.
Up Next: at Virginia Tech (Tue), vs Penn State (Sat)
9) Northwestern Wildcats (LW: 9)
Previously: W vs Sacred Heart 81-50
In their only game of the week, Northwestern did what it was supposed against a lower-level team.
Up Next: at Georgia Tech (Tue), vs Illinois (Fri), at No. 18** Purdue (Sun)
10) Illinois Fighting Illini (LW: 11)
Previously: W vs Augusta (IL) 96-62, W vs North Carolina Central 86-73
Illinois went the Rutgers route this week, playing a division 3 opponent and a completely overmatched foe to complement the first one. As expected, both were blowout wins.
Up Next: at Wake Forest (Wed), at Northwestern (Fri), vs Maryland (Sun)
11) Ohio State Buckeyes (LW: 10)
Previously: L vs No. 17 Gonzaga 86-59*, W vs Stanford 79-71*, L vs Butler 67-66*
Everything went as expected for the Buckeyes, who lost to Gonzaga and Butler, but beat Stanford.
Up Next: vs Clemson (Wed), at Wisconsin (Sat)
12) Rutgers Scarlet Knights (LW: 12)
Previously: W vs Bryant 83-54, W vs East Carolina 61-47
Rutgers took care of another group of overmatched opponents.
Up Next: vs Florida State (Tue), at No. 14 Minnesota (Sun)
13) Indiana Hoosiers (LW: 13)
Previously: W vs Arkansas State 87-70, W vs Eastern Michigan 87-67
Indiana didn’t lose to another group of overmatched opponents.
Up Next: vs No. 1 Duke (Wed), at Michigan (Sat)
14) Nebraska Cornhuskers (LW: 14)
Previously: L vs UCF 68-59*, W vs Marist 84-59*, W vs Long Beach State 85-80*
We’re seeing a pattern emerge for Nebraska. Beat all the teams substantially worse than you by a comfortable margin, lose to all the teams as good as you (or better) by a comfortable margin (except the 49ers, that is). With Creighton and Kansas still on the out of conference schedule, expect at least two more comfortable losses.
Up Next: vs Boston College (Wed), at No. 4 Michigan State (Sun)
*Neutral Site Game
**Not for long.
- Recent performance
- Overall body of work
- Season expectations