The top-ranked Indiana Hoosiers suffered another upset loss Tuesday, which is music to the ears of the Michigan Wolverines. After falling to the Minnesota Golden Gophers on the road, Indiana’s outright lead in the Big Ten Conference is cut to just a single game, and the Maize and Blue can get within a game themselves by taking care of business against the Penn State Nittany Lions Wednesday night.
The Hoosiers are now 24-4 overall and 12-3 in conference play. The Michigan State Spartans (22-6, 11-4) and Wisconsin Badgers (20-8, 11-4) are one game back, and the Wolverines (23-4, 10-4) are one-and-a-half behind. Not long ago, Michigan had dropped two straight and quickly fell out of the hunt for a Big Ten regular season title, but the tide suddenly appears to be turning back into the Wolverines’ favor.
Michigan’s four losses this season have all come on the road and against stout competition. Its two biggest remaining games, March 3 vs. Michigan State and March 10 vs. Indiana, are both at the Crisler Center, where the Wolverines are undefeated in 2013. Their other two remaining contests are road games against Penn State (Wednesday) and Purdue (March 6), but neither squad is expected to provide much of a challenge.
If Michigan can win its final four games, it is guaranteed at least a share of the Big Ten regular season championship for a second straight season. The Badgers still have to play the Spartans in East Lansing, too, so one of those contenders are losing at least one more game the rest of the way.
This may get a little confusing, but if Michigan wins out and Wisconsin and Indiana each lose one more game (Indiana must lose twice including once to Michigan), the Wolverines can win the regular season title outright for the first time since the 1985-86 campaign.
Now, wouldn’t that be something.