The big news in the Big Ten this week? Penn State wins a game! But, the Nittany Lions are still in last place. The second-to-last week of the regular season was yet another carbon copy of previous Big Ten weeks we have seen all year. Every team in the top four went down and now there is a mob of teams tied for second place. Next week should make for an exciting conclusion to perhaps one of the best seasons in Big Ten history.
|RECORD (Overall, Big Ten)
|LAST WEEK (Change)
|1. INDIANA HOOSIERS
|Indiana went up to the Barn Tuesday night to take on a dangerous Minnesota club and had to file its way off of the court through the hundreds of storming fans after being a 77-73 upset. The Gophers have a good team with a lot of talent, so it is not a terrible loss for the visiting Hoosiers. With every other team in the top four losing, Tom Crean's team is still locked into the top spot with a pretty tight grip on the Big Ten title.
|2. MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS
|What is going on, Tom Izzo? You had all week to prepare for your matchup with in-state rival Michigan Sunday and you were still unable to come away with a win. What's that? Trey Burke happened? Oh yeah, that's right. The Spartans did the best they could to come away with a win in their only game of the week, but the likely Big Ten Player of the Year Burke singlehandedly won the game for his team despite Keith Appling's best efforts. Michigan State still has an outside shot of snagging the Big Ten title with Indiana facing two ranked opponents to finish the season and the Spartans finishing their campaign with games against Wisconsin and Northwestern.
|3. MICHIGAN WOLVERINES
|Oh Michigan, Michigan, Michigan. Penn State? You lost to Penn State? And you are still No. 3 in these rankings? What the hell is going on? Wait, you beat Michigan State? Nice. Just when I thought there was no way for the Wolverines to get their dignity back after losing to the bottom-dwelling Nittany Lions on Wednesday, they come away with a gritty home win over a very good Michigan State team on Sunday. Trey Burke put on show for the home crowd, racking up 17 points, five steals and locking up the Player of the Year Award in the process. Even though Michigan did beat Michigan State, though, I can't put them ahead of the Spartans. If anyone has a gripe with that I have one answer: Penn State. Also, I didn't forget about Michigan State's shellacking of Michigan earlier in the year. The Wolverines are still in the mix for the Big Ten title hunt with Indiana looming in their regular-season finale next Sunday.
|4. WISCONSIN BADGERS
|Oh boy. And parity strikes again! Wisconsin may have been caught looking ahead to its big matchup with Michigan State this coming Thursday and Purdue took advantage spoiling the Badgers' senior day. Or maybe the team was distracted by Mike Bruesewitz' Krameresque haircut. Either way, it was an unforgivable loss on Sunday for the Badgers on their home court. Bo Ryan's squad had a chance to separate itself from the pack last week and take sole possession of second place, only one game back of Indiana. Instead, the Badgers are now in a second-place tie with three other teams. Any dreams Wisconsin had of winning the Big Ten this year are officially eliminated.
|5. OHIO STATE BUCKEYES
|Finally a team who didn't lose a game last week. Sure, Ohio State played Northwestern, but those darn Wildcats can be tough to play on their home court. *snickering* Junior guard Lenzelle Smith Jr. had a nice day against Northwestern on Thursday, dropping 24 on the depleted Wildcats. With every other team in the top five losing last week, Ohio State now finds itself in a tie for second place.
|6.MINNESOTA GOLDEN GOPHERS
|Well done, Minnesota. The Golden Gophers solidified their tournament chances last week with their monumental win over No .1 Indiana on Tuesday. I'm sure Tubby Smith was dancing somewhere in Minneapolis after the win. Trevor Mbakwe had a monster game against the Hoosiers, posting a double-double with 21 points and 12 rebounds. Minnesota was able to keep its senses after the big win and took care of business against Penn State on Saturday with a blowout 73-44 win.
|7. ILLINOIS FIGHTING ILLINI
|It was an easy week for Illinois with just Nebraska on the schedule. The Fighting Illini nearly gave one away to the Cornhuskers on Saturday before managing a 72-65 win. Illinois has been able to put together a nice second half in its Big Ten schedule and now all signs point to the NCAA tournament.
|8. IOWA HAWKEYES
|Roy Devyn Marble did his best to help Iowa slay Indiana with his 20-point effort, but Cody Zeller said, ‘I will take your 20 points and raise you to 22.' Zeller and the Hoosiers outlasted the Hawkeyes in a 73-60 win. Iowa had a good 10-point win over Purdue on Wednesday, but the Hawkeyes just have too many losses to make a case for the Big Dance this year.
|9. PURDUE BOILERMAKERS
|In Sandi Marcius we trust! Marcius gave Purdue eight points in the second half in the Boilermakers' upset win over the Badgers on Sunday. Sure, D.J. Byrd put up 22 points, but he's not the Croatian Cannon. Yes, I just made that nickname up. Purdue's win over Wisconsin will be a nice bright spot in an otherwise disappointing season.
|10. NEBRASKA CORNHUSKERS
|Two games, two losses for Nebraska last week against Wisconsin and Illinois. The Huskers were run out of the Kohl Center on Tuesday in a 31-point loss to the Badgers. Nebraska followed that performance up with a 75-62 loss to Illinois on Saturday. Better luck next season, guys.
|11. NORTHWESTERN WILDCATS
|This is getting too painful to watch. With all of the injuries adding up, Northwestern is free falling. The Wildcats have now lost six straight and probably won't win again this season. Yes, that does mean they will lose to Penn State.
|12. PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS
|Victory! Hallelujah! Everyone can settle down now. Penn State got its first Big Ten win on Wednesday. I know, we were all holding our breath. For whatever reason, the Nittany Lions have Michigan's number after almost beating the Wolverines in the first match-up and finally pulling it off last week. Jermaine Marshall did his part for Penn State, dropping 25 on Michigan. Penn State must like the feeling of losing better, though, because it took a good old-fashioned 73-44 whooping against Minnesota at home Saturday.