USA TODAY Sports
Not only is Bo Ryan still trying to keep his streak of finishing fourth place or better in the Big Ten alive, but the Badgers still need to secure a first-round bye for the Big Ten Tournament. Indiana's loss to Ohio State makes the road to these goals that much more difficult.
Tuesday night gave us a shocker when Ohio State knocked off Indiana, 67-58. Don't get me wrong, Ohio State is a very good team with a recent win over then No. 4-ranked Michigan State, but it seemed like the night would belong to Indiana. It's extremely difficult to win on the road against top competition in the Big Ten (before last night, Indiana's only home loss was against Wisconsin) and it was Senior Night in Bloomington, as well. But this epitomizes the constant parity of this season in the Big Ten.
As Jeff Potrykus of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel points out, Indiana's loss opens the door for other Big Ten teams to still snatch a piece of the conference crown.
If the Badgers win their final two games and Indiana drops its season finale to Michigan, UW would be tied atop the conference standings with Indiana -- if not other Big Ten foes, as well.
However, not only is the previous scenario improbable, but the Buckeyes now own a half-game lead over the Badgers. After Wisconsin trounced Ohio State at the Kohl Center a couple weeks ago, many felt good about the Badgers' chances of finishing ahead of the Buckeyes, because Wisconsin's remaining schedule was much more manageable.
The Badgers find themselves in an almost must-win scenario for Thursday night's game against Michigan State. Wisconsin cannot afford to lose pace with the likes of Ohio State, Michigan State and Michigan if it wishes to still finish in the top four of the conference. Had the Buckeyes lost last night, the Badgers would've had a little more breathing room while wrapping up the regular season.
Nevertheless, the Ohio State win adds another wrinkle to this final week of the regular season. All eyes will now be on East Lansing Thursday night, in a contest featuring two rivals with major conference implications on the line.
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