Big Ten Basketball: Big Trouble?
One week into the conference schedule, and the Big Ten may be in trouble come NCAA tournament time.
With the exception of Purdue, Michigan State, and Wisconsin, the Big Ten is suddenly mired with mediocre teams without many eye-catching nonconference wins.
Not a good situation, considering the depth in many of the other conferences this year.
Ohio State, with losses to Wisconsin and Michigan to open conference play, suddenly has the resume of a bubble team. The Buckeyes do have a couple of quality wins over California and Florida St., but would that be enough if they go 9-9 in conference play?
Similarly, Northwestern entered the Top 25 for the first time in 40 years, only to fall in back-to-back games to Illinois and Michigan State during the week.
Wins over Notre Dame and N.C. State look good now, but may not be very helpful in another month once those teams start getting beat up in their respective conferences.
Minnesota is 2-0 after getting past Penn State and Iowa, two of the weaker teams in the Big Ten. However, the only worthy non-conference win the Gophers have under their belt is against Butler.
Illinois picked up a couple of nice wins against Clemson and Vanderbilt in their nonconference slate. But the head-scratching losses to Utah, Bradley, and Georgia could be a cause for concern if the Illini can’t finish above .500 in conference play.
Michigan has been a major disappointment this year. At 6-6 the Wolverines aren’t even worthy of discussion about postseason play, even after upsetting Ohio State on Sunday.
Penn State, Indiana, and Iowa won’t have the resumes to be considered as an NCAA tournament team.
It was only two years ago that the Big Ten put only four teams into the tournament. This year may find the Big Ten in a similar situation. But then again a lot can happen in two months.
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