For the first time all season, the Big Ten dropped below four ranked teams in the AP Poll. It took 14 weeks, but the struggles of the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Wisconsin Badgers caught up to the conference. Both teams received votes; they were first and second respectively among the teams that received votes but didn't crack the top-twenty-five. Here's how the Big Ten faired this week:
USA Today Coaches' Poll:
No others receiving votes
|Conference||Number of teams|
Pick a team in the bottom-half of the conference and they can probably qualify as "hot" this week. Wipe that smile off of your face Purdue and Illinois, you're not included. If you could only pick one team, I'd say it's the Northwestern Wildcats, who resuscitated their season -- and their tournament hopes for that matter -- with two straight wins over Wisconsin and the Minnesota Golden Gophers. The Most impressive thing about Northwestern's current streak? Both of those games were away from Evanston. A honorable mention goes to the Penn State Nittany Lions, who won in overtime against the free-falling Ohio State Buckeyes in Columbus followed by protecting their home floor against Purdue which extends their current win streak to three. The Nebraska Cornhuskers are also worthy of a mention. After falling to Penn State, the 'Huskers upped their game in week 14, rattling off wins against Minnesota and Indiana after sitting at .500 on the year.
Can we pick everyone else in the conference? This week was not a great week for the conference, as we've already touched on. The Michigan Wolverines dropped a game to the Indiana Hoosiers on the road that it shouldn't have lost, the Michigan State Spartans lost to a short-handed Georgetown Hoyas team, and the Iowa Hawkeyes missed an opportunity for a huge win in East Lansing followed by an underwhelming performance against the Illinois Fighting Illini. Speaking of the Illini, they've now dropped seven in a row. Get better, Big Ten.
The Pac-12 was dethroned, and rightfully so, as the California Golden Bears beat the Arizona Wildcats on a last-second dagger. The Big Twelve remained steady with at least five teams ranked for three weeks straight, but theKansas Jayhawks were exposed this week, falling 81-69 to the Texas Longhorns. Yes, you read that correctly. In other Big Twelve -- Nine? -- news, the Baylor Bears also upset the Oklahoma State Cowboys. It has to be the shoes in Waco, though. Nine different conferences make up the top-ten in the nation, with the Big Ten being the only conference with two teams making the cut. The Missouri Valley is represented by Wichita State in the fourth spot; The Shockers now sit alone with the Syracuse Orangemen as the only undefeated teams in the nation. Gonzaga cracked the AP Poll this week, coming in at 23 being the only West Coast Conference team on the list. After 'Zona's loss, Syracuse racked up all 65 first place AP votes.