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March Madness Bracket Watch: 5th Edition

We learned a lot about the Big Ten this week.

NCAA Basketball: Purdue at Minnesota Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the fifth edition of March Madness Bracket Watch.

This week, we saw quite a lot of madness across the Big Ten. Michigan State continued to struggle, Northwestern almost had a momentum shift, and Michigan made a case to be seeded higher in the Big Ten.

Let’s take a look at our rankings.

Dancing In March

Purdue

The Boilermakers continued their dominance this week. They slid past Michigan in Ann Arbor and walked Minnesota out of the gym at home. Purdue’s dominance is consistent. They’ve won every Big Ten game they’ve played this year. The team doesn’t fall apart in the final minutes of a game, they defend well, and they use their athleticism to boost them on both ends of the floor. Matt Painter has a special team in West Lafayette. These Boilermakers have a shot at a top-four seed and could be dancing all the way in to April.

Ohio State

Chris Holtmann and the Buckeyes continued their dominance this week, handing Maryland and Rutgers losses. The Buckeyes have a case to be ranked in the AP Top 25 this week. What Holtmann has managed to do with a depleted roster is incredible and this team has no bad losses on their schedule.

Michigan

Let’s have a round of applause for the Wolverines. This team continues to dominate and surpass preseason expectations. The Wolverines went to East Lansing on Saturday, one of the toughest places to play, and beat Michigan State by 10, after falling by one to Purdue at home. Michigan continues to grow and dominate, and not let tough losses affect their next game.

Michigan State

Things are getting scary in East Lansing. The Spartans started off the week with a loss to Ohio State, almost lost to Rutgers in overtime on Wednesday, and lost to their in-state rival at home on Saturday. Rutgers presents tough match-up problems for the Spartans, as we saw this happen in December as well. Michigan State is still en route to make the tournament, but the top-four seed they were hoping for, looks like it will be a four-seed or five-seed now. Tom Izzo and his squad have work to do before March.

On the Bubble

Indiana

Okay, I know you may be surprised by this, but hear me out. Indiana beat Minnesota and Northwestern this week. Yes, its a down year in the Big Ten, and yes Indiana has two bad losses in non-conference play. But, right now, there aren’t any better teams in the Big Ten. Indiana needs to make major noise to dance, but the defense Archie Miller is running may help them get there.

Maryland

The Terrapins are still not where they need to be, but they are beating the teams they are supposed to beat. Maryland beat Iowa and lost to Ohio State this week. The match up against Maryland will be a telling one.

Better Luck Next Year

Northwestern

The Wildcats really looked like they had turned things around on Wednesday. Northwestern dominated Minnesota on both ends of the floor. They followed up an excellent win with a loss at Indiana. This team as been so tough to figure out all season. Against Indiana, the Wildcats looked like they did against Penn State at home in 2016 after they beat Wisconsin at home. When they couldn’t get the ball inside, they settled for bad jump shots instead of trying to attack and getting fouled.

Penn State

Penn State continues to be all over the map. The Nittany Lions lost a close one to Indiana and then beat Nebraska in overtime. Pat Chambers should have a more consistent team by this point in the season.

Minnesota

It’s amazing how things have changed in the last few weeks for Minnesota. Without Reggie Lynch and an injury to Amir Coffey, the team looks lost. Unfortunately, it seems like what is happening off the court is affecting what is on the court here.

Wisconsin

Ethan Hap has been excellent. The youth and injuries on this team put the Badgers at risk for missing the tournament for the first time in a long time.

Nebraska

There is news that Jordy Tshimanga may no longer want to be a part of this Nebraska team. Which means an already tough year for Nebraska could get tougher.

Rutgers

Steve Pikiell had his contract extended this week. Rutgers is getting closer to consistency, almost beating Michigan State this week.

Iowa

Iowa has a conference win! They took down Illinois 104-97 in a battle of win-less Big Ten teams this week.

Illinois

Illinois lost to Iowa at home. Brad Underwood will have this Illinois team right, it just may take a while.