Big Ten Bracketology: Michigan Taking Care of Business, Indiana Falters

Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

The Wolverines are finally getting it together while Indiana followed up their best win of the season with their worst loss, losing at home against Northwestern.

Well the Big Ten continues to go in the opposite direction as everyone expects. After starting off with long winning streaks, both Wisconsin and Ohio State have short losing streaks in conference play. People started to write off Michigan and a lot of people were talking down about Michigan State, so naturally both teams have looked very, very good as of late. Even the bubble teams are all over the place, with Indiana following a Wisconsin win with a Northwestern loss and Purdue almost losing to Penn State after adding their most impressive win. Regardless, it looks like the season outlook will likely bounce back and forth from week to week so it's still hard to project what will happen, but hey, we can try.

Note: Ohio State's RPI/SOS numbers don't factor in their loss at Nebraska.

Team Record RPI SOS vs 1-50 vs 51-100 vs 101-200 vs 201+ Projection
Wisconsin 16-2 (3-2) 5 5 5-1 3-1 6-0 2-0 In
Michigan State 17-1 (6-0) 7 21 5-0 2-1 7-0 3-0 In
Ohio State 15-4 (2-4) 11 15 1-3 7-1 5-0 2-0 In
Michigan 13-4 (5-0) 25 35 4-3 1-0 5-1 3-0 In
Iowa 15-3 (4-1) 28 87 3-3 2-0 5-0 5-0 In
Minnesota 13-5 (3-3) 33 13 2-4 2-1 2-0 7-0 Bubble (In)
Illinois 13-6 (2-4) 59 57 0-3 2-1 5-2 6-0 Bubble (Out)
Indiana 12-6 (2-3) 74 73 1-3 1-2 5-1 5-0 Bubble (Out)
Purdue 13-5 (3-2) 86 138 1-3 3-1 5-1 4-0 Bubble (Out)
Nebraska 9-8 (1-4) 94 25 1-6 1-1 2-1 5-0 Out
Penn State 9-10 (0-6) 124 51 0-4 2-5 0-1 7-0 Out
Northwestern 9-10 (2-4) 127 49 0-6 2-3 1-1 6-0 Out

Currently In

Wisconsin

Record 16-2 (3-2)
RPI 5 (1)
SOS 5 (5)
Non-Conf. RPI 3
Non-Conf. SOS 18
Average RPI WIn 107
Average RPI Loss 50
Vs. 1-50 5-1
Vs. 51-100 3-1
Vs. 101-200 6-0
Vs. 201+ 2-0
Key Wins Florida, Saint Louis, Iowa, Illinois
Key Losses at Indiana, Michigan
Upcoming Games at Minnesota, at Purdue

After winning 16 straight games the Badgers fell to Indiana and Michigan. The losses were a bit of a surprise to be honest, but the Badgers will have two opportunities this week to bounce back as they travel away from Madison to face Minnesota and Purdue. The Badgers may have lost their last two games, but they still have a top five RPI and SOS, as well as eight wins versus the top 100. It'll be interesting to see if Wisconsin rights the ship or continues to slide, especially since their two road games this week are both against bubble teams looking for a marquee win to boost up their resumes.

Michigan State

Record
17-1 (6-0)
RPI
7 (8)
SOS
21 (17)
Non-Conf. RPI
9
Non-Conf. SOS
64
Average RPI WIn
120
Average RPI Loss
55
Vs. 1-50
5-0
Vs. 51-100
2-1
Vs. 101-200
7-0
Vs. 201+
3-0
Key Wins
Ohio State, Kentucky, Oklahoma, at Texas
Key Losses
North Carolina
Upcoming Games
Indiana, Michigan

Michigan State looked a bit lethargic at times earlier in the season and have had to deal with a plethora of injuries, but they looked pretty good this past week with two road wins versus both of the Big Ten's Illinois based teams. Now Michigan State has a pretty resume, only nicked up by a disappointing loss to North Carolina. This week gets a bit tougher for Sparty as they host Indiana and rival Michigan, but if they can win both of these games then I think the hype surrounding Michigan State will start to resurface and they'll be a legitimate contender for a one seed. As is, few teams can say they've beaten Ohio State, Kentucky, Oklahoma and Texas all in the same season.

Ohio State

Record
15-4 (2-4)
RPI
11 (11)
SOS
15 (36)
Non-Conf. RPI
8
Non-Conf. SOS
62
Average RPI WIn
134
Average RPI Loss
23
Vs. 1-50
1-3
Vs. 51-100
7-1
Vs. 101-200
5-0
Vs. 201+
2-0
Key Wins
Maryland, Notre Dame
Key Losses
at Minnesota, at Nebraska
Upcoming Games
Illinois

Ohio State lost their only game this week when they played at Minnesota, now losing three in a row. A lot of people are writing off the Buckeyes, though I think that notion is a bit premature. As a Purdue fan I remember watching the Baby Boilers start off their 2009-10 season with 14 wins, followed by three straight losses. The Boilermakers rebounded with another winning streak until the end of the season when Hummel got hurt and ended up tying for the conference title (likely would have won straight up if not for the joys of ACL injuries). My point? Ohio State may be down, but not out. There's more than enough talent, they just need to improve their ability to score. As for their NCAA odds, the Buckeyes still have a top 15 RPI and SOS, 8 wins versus the RPI top 100 and all three of their losses have came against teams in the top 50. Regardless of how Ohio State plays down the stretch, their a NCAA team and the only thing in question is how high (or low) their seeding will be.

Ohio State lost on the road on Monday against Nebraska, struggling again offensively and inexplicably losing another game. There's far too much talent here for Matta's team to completely collapse, but Ohio State is starting to look more and more like a mid-seed team instead of a serious contender. Ohio State will host Illinois this weekend.

Michigan

Record
13-4 (5-0)
RPI
25 (44)
SOS
35 (71)
Non-Conf. RPI
49
Non-Conf. SOS
71
Average RPI WIn
144
Average RPI Loss
35
Vs. 1-50
4-3
Vs. 51-100
1-0
Vs. 101-200
5-1
Vs. 201+
3-0
Key Wins
at Wisconsin, Florida State, at Minnesota, Stanford
Key Losses
Charlotte
Upcoming Games
Iowa, at Michigan State

The Wolverines were looking like they were in trouble but have made quite a bit of progress as of late. They have benefited from a soft opening to their conference schedule but they took care of business on the road in an impressive win at Wisconsin. Now the schedule isn't so easy, with Michigan set to take on Iowa and Michigan State this week. I think when all is said and done we'll get a better idea of this Wolverine squad by the end of the week, but their Wisconsin win should help them out quite a bit regardless of how they play this week. If Michigan can win a game this week (or even better, both), it'll be safe to say any talk of the bubble and Michigan will be completely irrelevant and pointless.

Iowa

Record
15-3 (4-1)
RPI
28 (41)
SOS
87 (111)
Non-Conf. RPI
26
Non-Conf. SOS
221
Average RPI WIn
159
Average RPI Loss
6
Vs. 1-50
3-3
Vs. 51-100
2-0
Vs. 101-200
5-0
Vs. 201+
5-0
Key Wins
at Ohio State, Minnesota, Xavier
Key Losses
None
Upcoming Games
at Michigan, at Northwestern

In Iowa's only game this week they knocked off Minnesota in a shootout, adding what is essentially their second best win of the season. Iowa won't benefit from their SOS, but their RPI is solid and they keep winning, which is all that really matters. Iowa will have a huge test in Ann Arbor this week and will look to add another impressive road win onto their resume. Barring a collapse, Iowa should be set for the tournament as there's been too much talent here to suggest they'll miss the tournament. The Hawkeyes three losses have also came against teams with an average RPI of 6, enough said.

Bubble

Minnesota

Record
13-5 (3-3)
RPI
33 (42)
SOS
13 (41)
Non-Conf. RPI
51
Non-Conf. SOS
116
Average RPI WIn
164
Average RPI Loss
27
Vs. 1-50
2-4
Vs. 51-100
2-1
Vs. 101-200
2-0
Vs. 201+
7-0
Key Wins
Ohio State, Florida State, at Richmond, Purdue
Key Losses
Michigan, Arkansas
Upcoming Games
Wisconsin, at Nebraska

If the season ended today the Gophers likely would be a NCAA Tournament team thanks to their win against the Buckeyes. Unfortunately they regressed this weekend versus Iowa, once again showing signs of being able to beat another quality opponent before fading down the stretch. After leading at the break, Minnesota got outscored by 23 points in the second half. Nonetheless, losing to Iowa isn't bad so it's not a crushing defeat. Now Minnesota has a solid 13-5 record, good RPI at 33 and a very strong SOS inside the top 15. The Gophers, who have won 4 games versus RPI top 100 teams, will get a major home test versus Wisconsin, but it's another chance to pick up a strong win. If Minnesota wins that game they should be looking very, very good. If they lose they'll have a chance to rebound if they can knock off Nebraska on the road. Minnesota's tournament odds will play themselves out down the stretch and they've left quite a bit on the table, but so far so good for Pitino in his first season here as Minnesota currently has their foot in the door.

Illinois

Record
13-6 (2-4)
RPI
59 (23)
SOS
57 (51)
Non-Conf. RPI
44
Non-Conf. SOS
148
Average RPI WIn
195
Average RPI Loss
67
Vs. 1-50
0-3
Vs. 51-100
2-1
Vs. 101-200
5-2
Vs. 201+
6-0
Key Wins
Indiana
Key Losses
Purdue, at Georgia Tech, at Northwestern
Upcoming Games
at Ohio State, at Indiana

The slump is in full effect here for Illinois. The Illini were looking very, very good at 13-4 and heading into a winnable game versus Northwestern. However, Illinois no-showed and lost to their rival, following that with home losses to Purdue and Michigan State. After three straight losses Illinois now has to prepare for road games against Ohio State and Indiana, followed by home matchups versus Iowa and Wisconsin. Basically, the Illini's three game losing streak very well could balloon into a seven game losing streak before facing two not so easy road trips against Penn State and Nebraska. An RPI that was just outside the top 20 has now fallen to barely in the top 60, Illinois has only two wins versus the top 100 and they've now racked up three pretty rough losses (Purdue, GT, NW). Even if Illinois can win one of their next four games, a 14-7 mark would leave a lot of work down the stretch. It doesn't get any easier for the orange, either, as five of their last six games are against Ohio State, at Minnesota, at Michigan State, Michigan and at Iowa.

Indiana

Record
12-6 (2-3)
RPI
74 (70)
SOS
73 (80)
Non-Conf. RPI
55
Non-Conf. SOS
176
Average RPI WIn
192
Average RPI Loss
53
Vs. 1-50
1-3
Vs. 51-100
1-2
Vs. 101-200
5-1
Vs. 201+
5-0
Key Wins
Wisconsin, Washington
Key Losses
Northwestern, at Illinois, UCONN, Notre Dame
Upcoming Games
at Michigan State, Illinois

Um, okay. Indiana started off the week with a big win against Wisconsin, adding a marquee win and making it look like they were ready to fully get the ball rolling. Then they came out and scored eight points in the first 17 minutes against Northwestern in a game that was in Bloomington...With Washington starting to fade a little, Indiana's only stable win is the Wisconsin game and they still only have two wins against top 100 teams. Their RPI and SOS are both only so-so so they'll need to win some games down the stretch, especially with losses versus Northwestern and Illinois. Their next game is a chance to set things right, but it's a road game in East Lansing versus arguably the best Big Ten team (Michigan State). If the Hoosiers can't win there will be quite a bit of pressure coming into the Illinois game. Indiana has more than enough talent and will likely benefit from their recent success if they end up on the bubble, but if they can't start picking up some wins it's going to be hard to justify them being in the tourney. Their non-conference SOS won't help them at all, either.

Purdue

Record
13-5 (3-2)
RPI
86 (113)
SOS
138 (143)
Non-Conf. RPI
40
Non-Conf. SOS
282
Average RPI WIn
182
Average RPI Loss
53
Vs. 1-50
1-3
Vs. 51-100
3-1
Vs. 101-200
5-1
Vs. 201+
4-0
Key Wins
at Illinois, West Virginia
Key Losses
at Minnesota, Butler, Washington State
Upcoming Games
at Northwestern, Wisconsin

The Boilermakers finally got a nice win this past week when they knocked off Illinois on the road. However, the quality of that win is likely to decline a bit, especially with Illinois likely to be underdogs in their next four games. Regardless, it was a better win than beating West Virginia and makes their two best wins both on the road. Purdue managed to avoid a crippling letdown against Penn State and will look to up their win streak to four games versus lowly Northwestern. The Wildcats have been on a bit of a roar as of late, but their offense has still been entirely lifeless. If Purdue can avoid an offensive no show, unlike Illinois and Indiana, they should be fine. If they struggle to score it could be a knockout punch. The Boilermakers should get to 14-5 this week and are taking care of business as of late. It'll be interesting to see if they can knock off Wisconsin, a team that is recently struggling and a team Painter has usually been pretty good against. If Purdue can win both of their games this week they'll add a marquee win and put themselves into the "in" section of the bubble.

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