Big Ten Basketball Midseason Report

Jason FunkContributor IMarch 14, 2017

The mid-way point of the Big Ten season has been reached and things are heating up.

Here is a  breakdown of each team's season so far, in order of the current standings.

Michigan State (17-4, 7-2)

The Spartans came charging out of the gates with a 5-0 conference start, the first time they have done that in 28 years.

They are the No. 2 rebounding team in the country and have clearly shown that in terms of rebounding, they are the Big Ten's daddy.

Michigan State has had two recent hiccups at home versus Northwestern and Penn State, but if they play top notch from here on out, they should not lose another game.

Purdue (17-4, 6-2)

After starting the Big Ten season 0-2, it looked as if the Boilermakers title hopes would be washed down the drain early.

But a recent surge has led Purdue to a six-game win streak that leaves them only a half game behind the Big Ten-leading Spartans.

If Hummel can stay healthy, this team will challenge for a Big Ten title and play deep into March.

Minnesota (18-3, 6-3)

Minnesota has been one of the most pleasant surprises in the conference.

If this team keeps playing as well as they have, they should easily make the NCAA tournament and contend with Purdue and Michigan State for the crown.

With Tubby Smith running this ship, get used to the Gophers winning a lot of games this year and for many years to come.

Illinois (18-4, 6-3)

Illinois is back to the top of the Big Ten standings after a disappointing season last year.

They have only a few quality wins so far, but once their young players acquire that winning mentality, they will win the big games like the one they let get away in East Lansing earlier this season.

I don't see this team contending with Michigan State and Purdue, but they could definitely cause some problems for them.

Penn State (17-5, 6-3)

Penn State has one of the best players in the Big Ten in Talor Battle, who heads the Nittany Lions' high-scoring trio along with Stanley Pringle and Jamelle Cornley.

If those three guys play well, they can beat anyone, as they showed Michigan State on Sunday as well as Purdue earlier in the season.

Ohio State (15-5, 5-4)

Ohio State has improved this year, but the Buckeyes are still very young.

They have shown they can win some tough games, but they aren't quite ready to jump to the top of the food chain.

If Thad Matta can keep this freshman class together for three or four years, they will be heard from in the future, but they aren't there this season.

Northwestern (12-7, 4-5)

Northwestern already has wins against the conference's elite.

They have some gamers and have been very competitive. Kevin Coble can play with anyone in the Big Ten.

They will be a scary match-up for the conference's top teams and won't be an easy out all season.

Michigan (14-8, 4-6)

Michigan looked very strong at the beginning of this season, with wins versus Duke and UCLA, but the wheels have fallen off since.

Michigan cannot seem to escape their pattern of starting strong, only to fade into the NIT. They have some pieces to the puzzle, but they are too dumb to put them together.

Wisconsin (12-9, 3-6)

The Badgers have been one of the most disappointing teams in the country. After opening 3-0 in conference, they have since lost six straight.

Wisconsin has competed in each of the past six games, but can't get a break and pull one out at the end. It will be a long season for the Badgers.

Iowa (12-10, 2-7)

The Hawkeyes have been clawless thus far.

They are a young team that is improving with every game, and they will be dangerous in the future. But they stink right now.

Indiana (5-15, 0-8)

I truly underestimated how bad this team was.

Watching these Hoosiers try to win a game is like watching a baby try to walk. While their effort is cute, you can tell there is no way it's going to happen.

I feel bad for Tom Crean, because he is a great coach in a bad situation. There is light at the end of the tunnel, but that light is a train coming at them right now.