What a week in the Big Ten? There were enough major storylines and drama for a whole season of basketball, it just so happened it was all compressed in to one seven day period.
Michigan came in to the week on a down point, having fell from the no. 1 spot in the country after their loss at Indiana on Saturday. But the Wolverines had little time to pout, as Ohio State came to Ann Arbor on Tuesday. Michigan dispatched the Buckeyes in overtime, thanks to the play of Tim Hardaway Jr.
Then there was Indiana. They came in to the week ranked no.1 following their big win over Michigan and proceeded to blow a lead at Illinois, before losing to another buzzer-beater, this one by Tyler Griffey. Despite the bitter loss, Indiana recovered to beat Ohio State on the road 81-68, behind dominant Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo performances. The Hoosiers will likely be ranked no. 2 in the country Monday morning.
While Indiana and Michigan had up and down weeks, Ohio State just had a terrible week. They lost in overtime on the road to Michigan, before getting manhandled at home by an angry Indiana team. It rarely ends well when a team has to play the no. 1 and no. 3 teams in the country consecutively, especially when both team was coming off of a loss before they played the Buckeyes. The good news is that Deshaun Thomas continues to score at a tremendous rate, leading the conference with 20 ppg.
So, Michigan and Indiana both had mixed weeks and Ohio State had a bad week. You must be asking, did anyone have a successful week?
Yes, Illinois did. The Illini revived their drowning season with two giant wins. They shocked no. 1 Indiana with Griffey’s previously mentioned buzzer-beating layup, after having lost six of their last seven. They followed up the Indiana win with a nearly equally impressive win on the road at no. 18 Minnesota. The key has been the three-point shooting, as Illinois made 20-47 of their threes in the last two games.
The fact of the matter is, this week was Illinois’ last chance to salvage their season. If they did not win at least one of these games, Illinois would have dug too deep of a hole to get out of. Instead, Illinois is back on track to make the NCAA Tournament, thanks to two massive wins in one week.
The Big Ten this season is like an overly-dramatic soap opera. This past week was the massive mid-season double-episode that brought all of the big story-lines to the forefront. The season (literal and figurative season) is officially in full swing, and this Big Ten rollercoaster is about to hit its peak, with just five weeks left. There are not enough clichés to describe the drama in the Big Ten, it is just too good right now. If you like fun, buzzer-beaters and drama, the Big Ten is for you this season.