THE CURRENT STANDINGS.
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***Updated 2/2/2014 2:20 PM CT
IOWA'S LOSS TO MICHIGAN STATE HURTS. The Hawkeyes could be a half game out of second place and two games behind current leader Michigan. The good news for the Hawks, they still have one game left with each Michigan and Michigan State. The bad news, the rematch with the Spartans is in East Lansing and in March so Sparty should be a lot healthier then. Let's look at the week ahead in the Big Ten and the games that matter most to Iowa's hopes of winning their first outright Big Ten title since 1979.
#24 OHIO STATE at #14 WISCONSIN TODAY 11:00 AM CT ESPN. Just a couple of weeks ago, these two teams were in the Top 10 in the country. Now, both teams have combined for nine losses since January 7th. Wisconsin is coming off a home loss to Northwestern; Ohio State lost at home last week to Penn State in overtime. This is an elimination game for the conference crown. Ohio State certainly needs a lot of magic to happen over the last half of the conference slate. They have the talent to make a run but at this point it's highly unlikely. Wisconsin is still in the hunt with four losses but like OSU, need some magic too. Wisconsin is favored by five points today.
FINAL: Ohio State 59, Wisconsin 58
NORTHWESTERN at MINNESOTA TODAY 1:00 PM BTN. Minnesota had a chance to be a real contender last week following their win over Wisconsin. All Minnesota had to do was beat Nebraska in Lincoln. That's proving to be quite a difficult task this season. They'll face a Northwestern team today that too beat Wisconsin last week. The Wildcats have won three of their last four. Minnesota will have to win without guard Andre Hollins who is still out with an injured ankle. If the Gophers can win today (they are favored by 10.5) they have Purdue and Indiana next. The schedule is back loaded with trips to Ohio State and Michigan. The Gophers get Iowa at home at the end of February.
FINAL: Northwestern 55, Minnesota 54
#10 MICHIGAN at INDIANA TOMORROW NOON CT CBS. Indiana could go from a #1 seed on the NCAA Tournament in 2013 to the NIT. The Hoosiers host a red hot Michigan tomorrow on the national stage. The Hoosiers have lost three of their last four and Michigan is riding a 10 game win streak. The Wolverines are heading into the meat of their schedule. The host Nebraska later in the week.
FINAL: Indiana 63, Michigan 52
#14 WISCONSIN at ILLINOIS TUESDAY 8:00 PM CT BTN. If Wisconsin pulls out the win against Ohio State they'll need this win at Champaign. The Badgers won the first contest between these two at home 95-70. Illinois entered that game ranked for the first time all season and hasn't won a game since. Bucky needs to go 2-0 this week to stay in the hunt. They follow this week up with Michigan State and Minnesota at home followed by two road trips to Michigan and Iowa.
NEBRASKA at #10 MICHIGAN WEDNESDAY 5:30 PM CT BTN. Michigan can afford to lose a game and if that happens at Indiana the Wolverines can get back on the winning track at home versus Nebraska. The Huskers are one of the conference's hottest teams, having won three of their last four. Although, all three wins have come at home and the Huskers lone loss in that four game stretch is at Penn State. Two wins this week puts Michigan at 10-0 in conference play and in great position to win the league. They'll have a make or break stretch following the game with Nebraska with road trips to Iowa and Ohio State followed by games at home versus Wisconsin and Michigan State.
PENN STATE at #7 MICHIGAN STATE THURSDAY 8:00 PM CT ESPN2. Sparty takes a break from conference play this weekend with a contest with Georgetown. They get back to action later in the week with a home contest with Penn State. This should be no-contest, even with a banged up MSU squad. After a trip to Wisconsin next weekend, Sparty has a much easier two week stretch than Michigan. While the Wolverines fight through the schedule listed above, MSU will take on Northwestern, Nebraska and Purdue.
OTHER BIG TEN GAMES THIS WEEK:
- #7 Michigan State at Georgetown today 2:00 PM CT FoxSports1 FINAL: Georgetown 64, MSU 60
- Purdue at Penn State Sunday 10:30 (per ESPN??) AM CT BTN
- Minnesota at Purdue Wednesday 7:30 PM CT BTN