Big Ten Standings Update: 2/4/2011

Big Ten Conference Standings

(updated 2.4.2011 at 1:38 AM CST)

(Analysis after the jump)

 

  • Ohio State is the front runner in the Big Ten and is looking to run away with it. Every one else is three games back in the loss column. They still have to play at Minnesota, at Wisconsin, at Purdue and at Penn State. They also have home games against Wisconsin and Illinois. If someone else can snag them and they fall at Wisconsin and at Purdue, we have ourselves a race. Remember, Ohio State has had some close calls earlier this year and as of late, so it isn't impossible. I would say if Ohio State wins at Wisconsin on February 12th.. they probably have the Big Ten title locked up. 
  • Purdue and Wisconsin are battling right now for the conference's second best team. Wisconsin outlasted Purdue in the final 1:10 on February 1st to tie the two teams for second place. They face each other again on February 16th at Purdue. Both of these teams still have a chance to win the Big Ten title. Wisconsin still plays Ohio State twice, and Purdue still plays Ohio State once at home. It could get very interesting down the stretch if Wisconsin and Purdue are able to take down Ohio State. Wisconsin plays Michigan State next, in what should be an easy breezy game at home. Purdue plays rival Indiana on February 8th. 
  • The Fighting Illini of Illinois are alone at 5-4. They essentially separate the teams that have a chance at the title, how big or little that chance may be, and the teams that don't have a chance. They are in between. Illinois has struggled before handling Penn State at home on February 1st. Illinois is one of the teams in the Big Ten that now have the opportunity to fall down to a middle tier team or remain an upper tier team. We saw MSU fall to a middle, if not lower tier team in the last few games. Illinois faces rival Northwestern tomorrow on the road. 
  • Who ever saw this coming? Penn State, Michigan State and Minnesota all at 5-5 in the Big Ten. Michigan State is projected to finish with a losing record in the Big Ten, with their tough schedule, likely knocking them out of the NCAA Tournament and putting them is the lowest tier of the Big Ten. No one saw that coming. Minnesota will make the NCAA Tournament. They have enough quality wins to get in. They won't win the Big Ten, but will look to finish strong and look for that 5th seed for the Big Ten Tournament. The Golden Gophers face Ohio State at home on Sunday. Penn State is moving up on the bubble, and have moved into the tournament as one of the First Four, that is to be played in Dayton, OH. They will face Michigan at home on Sunday.
  • Northwestern, Michigan and Indiana have each had their own interesting story lines this year. Northwestern had a great non-conference season, and then fell apart in conference play. This was supposed to be the year the Wildcats made the NCAA Tournament for the first time. Now, they look NIT bound. Michigan has had some close calls of upsetting some top teams such as Ohio State and Kansas. Overall, they are headed to the NIT and are in their rebuilding years, but will be much better next year, or at least they should be. Indiana has now upset two straight ranked opponents. Something that didn't seem possible with the losses that Indiana has endured this season. Is it too late for the Hoosiers to make the NIT, only time can tell. If they can get playing on the road, like they do at home, then anything is possible. They face Iowa tomorrow. 
  • Iowa is the lone team at the very bottom, but shouldn't feel too bad, they did get a win over MSU, which is a good step for a rebuilding program. You can't give this Iowa team too hard of a time, they are essentially rebuilding from ruins. It will take some time for their coach to get everything to come together, with recruiting and the other important steps Fran needs to take to rebuild this program and restore it to former glory. They face Indiana next. Last time they played, Iowa won big at home.. this time it won't be easy, Indiana is playing very well at home right now. 
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