Big Ten Basketball: The Standings And This Week's Schedule 2/15/2014

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Hawkeyes sit in third place in the league and are in contention for their first regular season Big Ten title since 1979. Let's look at the standings and the important games this upcoming week.

THE STANDINGS.

TEAM CONF WINS CONF LOSS GAMES BACK % OVERALL WINS OVERALL LOSS
MICHIGAN ST 10 3 - .769 21 5
MICHIGAN 10 3 - .769 18 7
IOWA 8 4 1.5 .667 19 6
WISCONSIN 8 5 2 .615 21 5
OHIO STATE 7 6 3 .538 20 6
NEBRASKA 6 6 3.5 .500 14 10
MINNESOTA 6 7 4 .462 17 9
PURDUE 5 7 4.5 .417 15 10
NORTHWESTERN 5 8 5 .385 12 14
INDIANA 4 8 5.5 .364 14 11
PENN STATE 4 9 6 .308 13 13
ILLINOIS 3 10 7 .231 14 12

UPDATED 2/16/14 7:15 PM CT

LET'S FOCUS ON THE GAMES THAT IMPACT THE TITLE RACE. We'll skip Iowa's games with Penn State and Indiana because we'll have more on those here in a bit. Obviously, those are the most important. Iowa probably needs to win out but one more loss and a tie for the title is still possible.

The list is getting shorter as it's become a four team race. Ohio State was in the hunt and had a real chance to shake up the top of the standings but they lost at home against Michigan. Meanwhile, Wisconsin moved back up there and have to be considered as a contender. While it's been a wild and wacky Big Ten season, the cream of the conference is rising to the top.

#21 WISCONSIN at #15 MICHIGAN SUNDAY NOON CT CBS

This is the biggest game of the week for the Big Ten. The Wolverines got the best of the Badgers at the Kohl Center in January, 77-70. A win for Michigan would end Wisconsin's title hopes giving them their six conference loss on the season. This is Wisconsin's last shot at the top of the conference. They have to knock off Michigan and Iowa on the road to stay alive. If Bucky can win their next two, they'll close their season with: Indiana, at Penn State, Purdue and at Nebraska.

Michigan is coming off a nice rebound win on the road at Columbus. This Wisconsin game is part of a tough stretch that began with a road trip to Iowa last Saturday and ends with Michigan State on February 23rd. The Wolverines get the week off after this game before their showdown with Sparty. After MSU, Michigan has four games: at Purdue, Minnesota, at Illinois and Indiana.

Wisconsin 75, Michigan 62 Final

NEBRASKA at #9 MICHIGAN STATE SUNDAY 2:00 PM CT BTN

Hey, don't sleep on the Cornhuskers. Oh wait, this game's at Michigan State. The 'skers have been strong at home but not so much on the road. They are coming off a win at Northwestern and perhaps have gained some confidence. Tim Miles has his group playing their way into an NIT bid and they could be dangerous in the Big Ten Tournament. Iowa fans need Michigan State to trip up but it's not likely here.

The Spartans have played .500 basketball over their last six games. They have losses to Michigan, Georgetown and Wisconsin while defeating Iowa, Penn State and Northwestern. Injuries to Brandon Dawson and Keith Appling have slowed the Spartans but they do have Adreian Payne back in the lineup. He only dropped, oh, 20 points to go with 14 rebounds in MSU's win over Northwestern. Even if Michigan State doesn't win the league they'll be a force in March if they get their lineup back to 100% healthy.

Nebraska 60, Michigan State 51 Final

#9 MICHIGAN STATE at PURDUE THURSDAY 6:00 PM CT ESPN

If the Huskers can't beat MSU, maybe Purdue can. This is the last warm-up before MSU-Michigan next Sunday. This is the ultimate trap game. Purdue certainly doesn't scare anyone at (14-10) but they will have the ESPN crew in town. Expect an energized crowd and an energized Boilermakers.

Purdue faces Indiana Saturday. If they can beat the struggling Hoosiers, they'll have won two of their last three. Still, they had four game losing streak before their win over Minnesota. The Boilers are playing for seeding in the Big Ten tournament. They close out their season (after MSU) with: at Nebraska, Michigan, at Iowa, at Wisconsin and Northwestern. It can get really ugly in a hurry for the Boilers with a last place finish in the league a real possibility.

OTHER GAMES:

  • Indiana at Purdue Saturday, ESPN 3:00 PM CT
  • Ohio State at Illinois Saturday, BTN 7:00 PM CT
  • Minnesota at Northwestern Sunday, BTN 5:00 PM CT
  • Northwestern at Ohio State Wednesday, BTN 6:00 PM CT
  • Illinois at Minnesota Wednesday, BTN 8:00 PM CT
  • Penn State at Nebraska Thursday, ESPNU 6:00 PM CT
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