USA TODAY Sports
Penn State shocked everyone last night, all but eliminating Michigan from the Big Ten regular season title race. So where does Wisconsin stand with just three games left before the Big Ten Tournament?
I don't get the Big Ten Network around about my neck of the woods, so I was keeping tabs on Michigan-Penn State by way of a minimized ESPN Gamecast in my desktop tray. It went long forgotten from midway through the first half to about 10:00 p.m. ET, when I had already half-written some other dumb thing in this space. Nothing compelled me to look except for maybe a flickering bit of muscle memory.
Penn State 84, No. 4 Michigan 78. Cripes.
That's Frazier-less Penn State winning its first Big Ten game in 18 tries. The same Penn State currently held together by bad jumpers and Bazooka Joe. It was basically the same gameplan last night, except the jumpers fell and Ross Travis put up 15 points, 12 rebounds, four assists, four steals and zero turnovers, all with just two fouls. Here's what he had been up to previously.
Michigan is kind of bad right now, yo.
So let's take stock:
- Indiana is up one game overall, but lost a game last night that it was counting on for insurance. The Hoosiers close the season with Ohio State at home and Michigan on the road, not to mention the peskiest Iowa team ever this Saturday.
- You can probably count Michigan out at 11-5 with Michigan State and Indiana still to go (lord knows whether they'll beat Purdue, either).
- Michigan State is tied with Wisconsin in the Big Ten standings at 11-4. They must travel to Michigan on Saturday, before hosting the Badgers on March 7 and closing the year against Northwestern.
- Ohio State is two games out of first place, so even if they win out against Northwestern, Indiana and Illinois, they will have a tough time contending for the regular season title.
Jump free throw-shooting, Kramer-haired Wisconsin takes a share of first place if Indiana trips, and it wins out at home against Purdue, and at Michigan State and Penn State. That's just one game against the top half of the Big Ten standings, whereas everybody else in contention has two. This is a satisfactory place to be right now given the nightmarish start to the season. It is also an absolutely frightening place given what has happened the past two nights.
I have no idea what's going to happen, but I dare not let my attention slip.
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