Iowa (10-1, 19-4) – Only conference loss for the Hawkeyes is at Maryland. They have beaten 4 top 25 teams in BIG play and Control their own destiny to rack up the one seed in the BIG tournament. They have Indiana twice still to go and end the regular season at Michigan, but they should ease through their other 4 games.
Maryland (10-2, 22-3) – The Terps just set their school record with their 27th consecutive home win. They haven’t lost a home game since they’ve been in the Big Ten. The win over Purdue last week gave them just their second big resume win of the season. But they still have a tough road ahead with Michigan, Purdue, and Indiana making up 3 of their final 4 games. Rasheed Sulaimon has been the key for them of late and Robert Carter Jr. is probably the toughest defensive matchup in the conference. Maryland hosts Wisconsin on Saturday in a must-win game if they want to keep pace with Iowa.
Purdue (8-4, 20-5) – The Boilermakers have won 6 of their last 8 with the only losses being at both Iowa and Maryland. AJ Hammons has picked up his scoring a bit and he single-handedly kept them in the Maryland game. He dominated the Michigan State game Tuesday night, which was a big-time win after the Maryland loss. He has posted 3 straight double-doubles and 7 overall on the season. If he can just get some help from the guards on a every game basis, Purdue would be very dangerous.
Michigan State (7-5, 20-5) – Sparty’s loss to Purdue doesn’t hurt them too much as they took care of Maryland in their biggest game so far in conference play a few weeks earlier. The Purdue loss snapped a 4 game win streak, in which they had outscored opponents by an average of 22.5 points. Matt Costello has been impressive of late and who could forget Bryn Forbes and his 29 point game against Michigan where he knocked down 8 of 10 from deep.
Indiana (9-2, 19-5) – What just happened? That’s what Indiana fans were saying after the Hoosiers lost to Penn State and Wisconsin. Wisconsin is playing much better basketball right now, see 2 spots down, but Penn State…that one hurts. Finally not having James Blackmon is catching up with Indiana. They fell from a top 3 team in the BIG to #5 and are in serious danger of falling further with Iowa and Michigan State as their next 2 opponents. Thomas Bryant has been a little too inconsistent the last few weeks and needs to put it together for these next 2 huge games.
Michigan (8-4, 18-7) – Despite losing 2 tough games in a row to Michigan State and Indiana, the Wolverines are still primed for a run in the tournament once they finally get Caris LeVert back, maybe as soon as Saturday. They need him desperately as teams are figuring out how to slow down Walton and Irvin like Minnesota did last night. They host Purdue on Saturday, would be an extremely fun game to watch if LeVert is back.
Wisconsin (7-4, 15-9) – Back from the dead are the Badgers. Six straight wins after starting 1-4 in conference play including wins over Michigan State and Indiana. Greg Gard is looking like he’ll have a permanent job somewhere, quite possibly in Madison. I’ve said all season that Ethan Happ is one of my favorite players in the conference and he has continued to surprise and improve. Nigel Hayes is going to Nigel Hayes, and this team is going to be dangerous down the stretch. But 3 of the their next 4 four games are AT top 8 teams in the country (Maryland, Iowa, and Michigan State). Can they play spoiler some more?
Ohio State (7-5, 15-10) – The Buckeyes have feasted on the weak, winning all 7 of their games against teams below them on this list. But they have been pummeled by the powerful with all 5 losses against teams above them. They most likely are out of the NCAA Tournament already unless they miraculously win the conference tournament. Even winning their last 3 games of the regular season, Michigan State-Iowa-Michigan State, might not be enough, they would need a good BIG Tournament run.
Northwestern (4-8, 16-9) – Biggest disappointment for me this season. I thought this was going to be their first ever year dancing with the Big 3 of Demps, Olah, and McIntosh returning. But Olah got hurt and Demps hasn’t taken the steps forward Wildcats fans would have hoped. While their chances of dancing are practically done, they can still spoil the party for some teams on the bubble come the Big Ten tournament.
Nebraska (5-7, 13-12) – Some schools just get a tough schedule and that’s what the Huskers have had the last 3 weeks. But still a better season than some fans would have expected and Tim Miles should be very proud of his guys.
Penn State (3-8, 12-12) – Penn State just beat Indiana so I am not going to say too much negative about them. It was a season defining win for them and something that Pat Chambers can use to motivate his guys going forward.
Illinois (3-8, 11-13) – Another HUGE disappointment, just not a good year for the schools in the state of Illinois. The Orange Crush just need to hope Malcolm Hill comes back for his senior season.
Minnesota (0-12, 6-18) – If you watched the Gophers game last night against Michigan, you were probably shocked they kept pace. Minnesota’s worst season in the last several decades is almost over and they have Rutgers twice still on the schedule. Can they get a win?
Rutgers (0-11, 6-18) – See above for can they get a win. The triple-OT game against Illinois was painful to watch, especially for Maryland and Nebraska fans who got stuck watching the entirety of it. Lets just hope they split the 2 games with Minnesota so everyone gets a win.