Seven Stars From the Past Week:
Jon Teske, Michigan
Jordan Bohannon, Iowa
Carsen Edwards, Purdue
Giorgi Bezhanishvili, Illinois
Andre Wesson, Ohio State
Bruno Fernando, Maryland
Matt McQuaid, Michigan State
Five Best Games to Watch This Week:
Purdue at Maryland, Tuesday, 6:30 EST, BTN
Michigan State at Wisconsin, Tuesday, 7:00 EST, ESPN
Michigan at Penn State, Tuesday, 8:30 EST, BTN
Minnesota at Nebraska, Wednesday, 9:00 EST, BTN
Maryland at Michigan, Saturday, Noon EST, FOX
In parenthesis is their current standing in the Bracket Matrix. Obviously, we have a better idea where the Top 4 stand right now.
1. Michigan (BM: 2 seed)
If there were any hope that the strong shooting performance at Rutgers was a sign the tide had turned, that was quickly put to rest with a 4-17 outing against Wisconsin. But the end result of both games were the same because the Michigan defense doesn’t take a game off. The Wolverines won comfortably at a tough place to play and they beat one of the hottest teams in the country at home.
Maybe the most important development of Saturday’s game was Charles Matthews busting out of an extended slump. Matthews has a tendency to go on these slumps and it undoubtedly holds them back as a team. They’ll need the best version of Matthews if they want to win the Big Ten.
This week: at Penn State, home for Maryland
2. Purdue (BM: 3 seed)
If Michigan’s Achilles’ heel is shooting, Purdue’s is stopping shooters, even average or below-average ones. It’s a rare trait for a Matt Painter team to have, but it’s happened enough times now this year that it can no longer be considered a series of flukes.
This has happened several times in games recently, but Purdue has always had a bigger response of their own. It seems like clockwork that there’s a point in the game where they flip the score by 12 points, or even up to 20 points.
I’m not sure I would count on it at Maryland if I were them.
This week: at Maryland, home for Penn State
3. Wisconsin (BM: 4 seed)
The streak of wins is over for the Badgers, but the streak of good play is still alive. The nine-point loss is a misrepresentation of just how close they were to winning at Michigan on Saturday. Obviously it wasn’t a perfect offensive performance. They couldn’t find many openings for shooters and Ethan Happ only having one assist is a telling stat when you consider he hasn’t had less than three in a game since Nov. 21.
It also bears mentioning that they won the game wire-to-wire at Minnesota, completely locking up the Gophers on their home floor.
This week: home for Michigan State
4. Michigan State (BM: 2 seed)
The Spartans looked like the best team in the league again on Saturday, but they were a bit exposed again on Tuesday at Illinois. Twice this year, the Spartans have faced teams that force a lot of turnovers and they’ve really struggled on each occasion. They were able to win at Florida, but not as fortunate against the Illini. It may not matter if MSU doesn’t see a team like that in the postseason, but it’s something to watch for when the brackets come out.
This week: at Wisconsin, home for Ohio State
5. Maryland (BM: 6 seed)
The only game of the week was an easy win at Nebraska and they were able to do it without a good offensive performance from Anthony Cowan. Cowan did hold Glynn Watson scoreless and as a team, the Terps only allowed the Huskers to shoot 21% from the field.
This week: home for Purdue, at Michigan
6. Iowa (BM: 6 seed)
Well, it’s safe to say Jordan Bohannon was the MVP this week. He hit roughly 100 big shots down the stretch in two games. It was also another outstanding week for Joe Wieskamp.
Obviously both wins this week were fun and exciting, but the same issues persist for the Hawkeyes and it’s all on one end of the court. You can’t be giving up 79 to the worst offense in the league on your home floor. Northwestern is also one of the worst offensive rebounding teams in the Big Ten and they were able to grab 10 in Iowa City.
This week: at Rutgers
7. Ohio State (BM: 8 seed)
Every victory is an important one for the Buckeyes as they try to fight off bubble talk, so the ugliness of this week’s wins doesn’t matter much in the long run. The other good news is that Kyle Young is back. And the further good news is that Andre Wesson had double-digit scoring outings for just the third time in his career. If the elder Wesson can start to consistently produce at the level of his apparent confidence, it’ll be a much needed boost to a frequently stagnant offense.
This week: home for Illinois, at Michigan State
8. Minnesota (BM: 10 seed)
The Gophers looked like they were due for some big wins with the way they were playing, but they missed a big opportunity at home against Wisconsin with an ill-timed terrible shooting performance. I’m not sure anyone would’ve won in East Lansing on Saturday. This is a big week for them.
This weekend: at Nebraska, home for Indiana
9. Illinois (BM: N/A)
It’s been a rough year for the Illini, but it was their week in the sun. The Brad Underwood era has had an incredibly rocky start, but you do have to feel optimistic about how well their young Big 3 have played. Whether they can keep all three in Champaign is another story.
This week: at Ohio State
10. Northwestern (BM: N/A)
Wow, what a tough week. Their offense against Iowa was the best its looked for months and it was all for naught after a few brutal minutes
This week: home for Penn State, at Iowa
11. Rutgers (BM: N/A)
They didn’t get a win, but they did score 94 in a road game and their young guys keep getting better.
This week: at Northwestern, home for Iowa
12. Penn State (BM: N/A)
The Nittany Lions are on the board and have actually played three pretty good games in a row.
This week: home for Michigan, at Purdue
13. Indiana (BM: 11 seed)
They’re a tough watch right now. I actually think they defend pretty well most of the time, but the offense is so bogged down. They’re not dead yet from a tournament perspective because of how good their first two months were, but they’re running out of time and their play doesn’t inspire much confidence they can get the wins they need.
This week: at Minnesota
14. Nebraska (BM: First Four Out)
Not a good situation without Copeland. The offense isn’t very good. The defense isn’t very good. We’ve got Tim Miles nearly in tears during a press conference. It’s been a nightmare lately. But they did look on Saturday like a team that wasn’t ready to quit just yet. If they can scratch out a couple of wins at home this week, they might be able to get things going again.
This week: home for Minnesota and Northwestern