Home » Conference Notes » Currently Reading:

Big Ten Notebook

March 4, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments



Big Ten Notebook

by Chris Burke

Wednesday night quickly has become the most important night of the Big Ten’s regular season.

That’s because, thanks to Illinois and Wisconsin each pulling off huge road victories, the Fighting Illini and Badgers will duel for first place in the conference. A Wisconsin win would clinch the Big Ten title outright; an Illinois win would leave the Illini needing only a win at home over Minnesota to take the title home alone.

Either way, Wednesday’s game is by far the biggest of the season.

Illinois started the road warrior trend on Saturday afternoon, holding off Michigan, 82-79 in what Bill Self and Tommy Amaker both referred as possibly the best Big Ten game of the year. The game was back and forth, featuring 22 lead changes, the last of which put the Illini ahead late in the second half after the Wolverines had led by as much as seven.

Michigan had a chance to tie and take command of the Big Ten lead, but freshman Lester Abram missed a wide-open look at a 3-pointer to knot the game at 72 and it’s looking like the Wolverines’ Big Ten title drought will extend to 17 years.

Brian Cook was phenomenal again for the Illini, posting 26 points, including several key buckets down the stretch. Guard Sean Harrington nailed the game-tying 3-pointer with seven minutes left, one of four 3-pointers he hit on the day. And point guard Dee Brown struggled offensively, but stifled Michigan’s Daniel Horton, holding him to 4-of-17 shooting and 12 points.

Wisconsin then matched the Illini, pulling off a surprising victory at Minnesota, 69-61.

As always, it was the Wisconsin defense that led the charge. The Badgers held the lead for the entire game, even managing to fight off several Golden Gopher comeback attempts that dwindled that margin down to two or four points on many an occasion in the second half.

Kirk Penney was solid as always, draining four second-half 3-pointers in helping to aid the cause, handing the Gophers their second home loss of the conference season.

NCAA Tournament Outlook

Speaking of Minnesota, its NCAA Tournament stock is plummeting dramatically.

The matchup with Wisconsin was a spectacular opportunity to clinch no worse than a 9-7 mark in the Big Ten and solidify a top-50 RPI rating.

Instead, the Gophers missed that chance, and will travel to Indiana and Illinois in the season’s final week, making an 8-8 mark and 16-11 overall heading into the Big Ten Tournament not only possible, but likely.

Reaping the benefits of the sudden Minnesota collapse are Michigan State and Indiana. The two teams both have high RPI thanks to difficult schedules, but the Minnesota loss and Purdue’s sudden downturn have the Spartans and Hoosiers in position to get a bye in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament and to be locks for the big dance.

Michigan State’s victory over Purdue on Saturday was huge as the Spartans will host Iowa and close at Ohio State. With that schedule, one win is likely and two is possible, meaning the Spartans should, at the very least, get to that magical nine-win conference mark.

Indiana also snuck out a victory over the weekend. After blowing a huge second-half lead to Iowa, freshman Bracey Wright nailed a 3-pointer with under 20 seconds left to give the Hoosiers a much-needed victory. The Hoosiers close by hosting Minnesota and traveling to Penn State – another potential two-win week.

Purdue already has nine conference wins and a decent RPI rating. At 17-9 and 9-6 in the conference, the Boilermakers are on the bubble, but even a loss to Michigan on Saturday would only put them at 9-7.

The Locks: Wisconsin and Illinois are the only two definite locks right now. Both could be dangerous in the tournament, and with over 20 wins, both should be looking at high seeds.

The Bubble: If everything goes the way it is expected to this week, and there are no major upsets at the Big Ten Tournament, expect the Big Ten to send five teams. Michigan obviously cannot go, so unless Minnesota pulls out a win at Indiana or Illinois or upsets someone at the postseason tournament, look for the Spartans, Boilermakers and Hoosiers to all be dancing in two weeks.

     

Comment on this Article:







Subscribe to Hoopville

Enter your email address to subscribe to Hoopville

Advertisement


Hoopville Archives

College Basketball Tonight

We hope you enjoyed COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT during the 2016 NCAA Tournament. COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT is a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, along with co-hosts Mike Jarvis and Terry O'Connor, both former Division I coaches. It also included many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

The show aired on AM 710 WOR in New York City on Sunday evenings starting with Selection Sunday and running through the NCAA Tournament.

Here are links to the shows:

March 13, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 20, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 27, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

April 3, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

Everybody Needs a Head Coach

Former college basketball coach Mike Jarvis has a new book out, Everybody Needs a Head Coach.

"As you read this book, I hope that Coach Jarvis' experiences inspire you to find your purpose in life."
-Patrick Ewing, NBA Hall of Fame center

"Mike Jarvis' is one of my special friends. I am so pleased that he has taken the time to write this fabulous book."
-Mike Krzyzewski, Five-time NCAA championship head coach, Duke Blue Devils

"In reading this book, I can see that Mike hasn't lost his edge or his purpose. Readers should take a look at what he has to say."
-Jim Calhoun, Three-time NCAA champion, UConn Men's basketball

Review on Hoopville coming soon!

Coaching Changes and NBA Draft Early Entrants

The coaching carousel is moving. Keep track of the latest coaching changes right here on Hoopville.

Also, keep track of players who have declared early for the NBA Draft.

Hoopville Podcasts

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – October 2, 2017

October 2, 2017 by

The FBI has zeroed in on college basketball in a big way, and what has happened may be the beginning of a massive hit to the sport. We discuss what we know thus far in our latest podcast.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – August 17, 2017

August 18, 2017 by

In our latest podcast, we check in with some good news from a few teams overseas after a big scare, plus a big addition for a championship contender, a conference on the rise, and a great coach thinking about a return to the bench.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – June 21, 2017

June 21, 2017 by

In our latest podcast, we talk about the NBA Draft, of course, but spend much more time on the happenings at Ohio State and Louisville and the implications starting next season.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – May 17, 2017

May 18, 2017 by

In our latest podcast, we start with the NBA Draft Lottery, then talk about a big pickup for Duke, important transfers, the coaching carousel winding down and much more.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 27, 2017

April 27, 2017 by

In our latest podcast, the business of college sports, as well as that of sports media, takes center stage. We talk about the layoffs at ESPN, college basketball’s opening night, and Wichita State’s departure from the Missouri Valley Conference. We close with thoughts on a departed friend of the media business as well.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

Lincoln captures Hamilton Park title

August 15, 2017 by

For the first time, a public school won the Hamilton Park Summer League, and they were led by a big effort from a junior point guard in the title game.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Boston Shootout

June 12, 2017 by

Some news and notes coming from the second and final day of action at the 2017 Boston Shootout, where the host program provided plenty of talent, but so did a program that produced a team that beat them.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Northeast Hoops Festival

April 11, 2017 by

The Northeast Hoops Festival helped bring in the new spring travel season in New England, and we have notes from some of Saturday’s action.

2016 Boston Back to School Showcase notes

September 12, 2016 by

We look back at the 2016 Boston Back to School Showcase, where a couple of Boston City League teams were among the most impressive on the day.

2016 Hoopville Spring Finale championship recap

June 28, 2016 by

We look back at the championship games of the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, which had a big local flavor as one might have expected.