The Big Ten Conference couldn’t possibly be any more crowded at the top than it is right now. Depending on how things unfold, as many as four schools could be grabbing a share of the regular season championship.
Luckily for the Michigan Wolverines, they now control their destiny in grabbing a piece of the title for a second straight year. They needed a late run to do so, but the Maize and Blue advanced to 12-5 in the Big Ten and 25-5 overall with an 80-75 victory over the Purdue Boilermakers Wednesday night. Trey Burke was amazing as usual and freshman Nick Stauskas provided some clutch scoring down the stretch as the Wolverines used 50 second-half points to upend the Boilermakers on the road.
The Wolverines are enjoying their most successful season in a long, long time, so it’s surprising to see that they’ve struggled on the road as much as they have this season. Prior to the win at Purdue, Michigan was 4-5 away from home and its last road loss, an 84-78 defeat to the Penn State Nittany Lions, was to a team with no previous conference wins under its belt.
Nevertheless, a win over the Indiana Hoosiers Sunday afternoon would give UM a share of the Big Ten regular season title and provide some serious momentum heading into the Big Ten tourney and beyond. The Wolverines already have a handful of impressive victories in 2013 and getting even with the Hoosiers at home would be a major resume booster as well. Michigan fell to Indiana on the road back on Feb. 3, the first of a treacherous four-game stretch that drained John Beilein‘s group of youngsters quite a bit.
Having lost two of their last three games, the Hoosiers will be hungry to get themselves back on track. Michigan’s undefeated home record of 17-0 and a share of the Big Ten title will be on the line, so saying this is the biggest Big Ten battle of the year might be an understatement.