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Big Ten PG: Spartans Have A Share

Welcome to Big Ten Point Guard!

Draymond Green leads MSU to Big Ten title

Hopefully, each week I’ll have a quick read on the Big Ten basketball scene as well as what’s happening in the nation at large. Most weeks this will appear on Monday afternoon or Tuesday morning.

Without any further ado, let’s get right to it:

Big Ten Notables

* Spartans Clinch A Share – Going into the final week of the Big Ten regular season, Michigan State (24-5, 13-3) has already clinched a share of the conference title. MSU has a two-game lead over Ohio State (23-6, 11-5) and Michigan (21-8, 11-5).

The Spartans can win the outright championship and secure the top seed for next week’s Big Ten tournament with a win at Indiana tonight or at home over Ohio State on Sunday. Sunday also figures to be an emotional day as it will be Senior Day for expected Big Ten player of the year Draymond Green as well as guard Austin Thornton.

“We earned the spot that we’re in,” said MSU coach Tom Izzo, who has won a seventh Big Ten title in his 17th year at the helm. “Seeing where we’ve come from, I know it will be an emotional day. No matter how anything goes, for Michigan State we’ve seen one of the great resurgence over last year and one of the great leaders with Draymond Green that we’ve seen here in the last 50 years. He’s right up there in the same breath with the (Mateen) Cleaves and Magic (Johnson) for what he’s done for this team, this program and this university.

“He’s had an incredible impact. He just has that same gene that Mateen and Earvin had that we’re always searching for. You almost have to be lucky to find it.”

Michigan State was not even ranked in the preseason polls, but has now risen to fifth in this week’s AP poll. Even a decent finish would probably be enough for MSU to get an NCAA Tournament one seed. It has been quite a turnaround, Izzo said.

“Part of it was the disappointment from last year,” he said. “We had a disappointing year and some because of injuries, but some of it was not doing the things championship teams need to do with our chemistry and camaraderie. I think we worked pretty hard, but I don’t think we accomplished the things we wanted to because of distractions.

“We’ve gone from unranked to ranked and from being a long shot to win it to having a chance to win it outright. The defense has been good and the shot selection has been pretty good. We’ve been the most unselfish team I’ve ever coached.”

Indiana coach Tom Crean, a former MSU assistant, talked about what the Spartans have been able to do recently as they’ve won seven in a row coming into tonight’s game in Bloomington.

“They seem to be clicking on all cylinders,” Crean said. “Right now, when I watch them play they are the infamous war drill come to life in every game. That’s how they play. It all comes down to the rebounding and the running and all of the things they do really well. You have to be able to match that throughout the game.

“They pass the ball extremely well. The biggest difference now is how much that is a bigger part of their offense. Draymond Green is a big part of every possession in numerous ways. When your best player is as good a facilitator as he is and then you’ve got Keith Appling, who’s got the speed and quickness, it’s unique. They don’t take possessions off.

“They always believe they’re going to win it and that’s what I see. They are certainly a worthy champion with the way they have played throughout the conference season.”

* Hoosiers Can Boost Their Stock – Sitting at 22-7 overall and 9-7 in Big Ten play, Indiana is already assured of a .500 season in the conference. But final week home wins over Michigan State and rival Purdue would definitely boost the Hoosiers’ postseason seeding possibilities.

“It’s important to our fans and the program, especially with everything we’ve had to endure the last couple of years,” Crean said of IU’s resurgence. “And I think it’s a big deal nationally. Indiana has always been one of the marquee programs in the country.”

Crean said playing in the Big Ten is a great proving ground for teams headed into postseason play.

“As far as where the league is at, I think it has been really good since I’ve been back,” he said. “I think it’s that way this year more than ever. The closeness of the games shows what this league is all about. There are so many different teams that can win on any given night.

“You have to have your players. Tubby Smith is sitting there without a surefire first-round draft pick and all-conference player in Trevor Mbakwe. We played the last two years without Maurice Creek. You have to have some health in order to go through it.

“The bottom line is the teams are deep and they have a lot of different ways they can beat you. It is an extremely well coached league. There is no question about that. I think this league has a chance to be the standard league for a long period of time.”

* What’s Wrong With Ohio State? – Ohio State was cruising along in first place of the Big Ten long ago. But the Buckeyes have lost three of their last five games and have shown some vulnerability coming down the stretch. Two of those losses have been at home, where OSU had won 39 games in a row before a Feb. 11 loss to Michigan State.

The latest home loss came Sunday as OSU blew an eight-point lead with eight minutes left and lost to Wisconsin 63-60. All-American candidate Jared Sullinger had his second game in a row where he was held under 10 points, finishing with eight points and six rebounds. He was bothered by a cramp in the second half, according to OSU coach Thad Matta.

On Tuesday, Sullinger told reporters he has been bothered by inconsistent officiating, negative media coverage and speculation about his future plans regarding the NBA. Matta said he told Sullinger simply to “play his game.”

“The physicality of it is a great challenge,” Matta said. “I think ball movement and trying to place him in different places will help him a little bit.”

Over the last eight games, OSU has amassed more turnovers than its opponents and also had more turnovers than assists. Those are indicators that the offense has grown stagnant.

“We didn’t connect the dots with some of the passes we threw (against Wisconsin),” Matta said Monday. “Some of those are charges. We get a lot of charges called against us. Sometimes, it’s a better understanding of the angles we need and what teams are trying to do. We’re trying to thread the needle at times when we don’t need to. Those are things we have to get corrected.”

Matta said there is no special secret to what it takes turn a team around.

“As the season wears on, you are constantly looking for anything you can to help your team play its best basketball,” he said. “I think in terms of what we have to do, we have to come back and go to work and have an understanding of the challenges we have ahead.”

* Hawkeyes Cooled Off A Bit – Iowa still has an outside shot at a .500 record in the Big Ten, something that would have been unthinkable after a 3-6 start in the conference. That possibility took a hit with Sunday’s loss at Illinois (65-54). But the Hawkeyes still have winnable games at Nebraska Wednesday and home with Northwestern on Saturday.

Prior to that loss to Illinois, the Hawkeyes (15-14, 7-9) had won four of their previous six games.

One big reason for the resurgence is senior guard Matt Gatens, who shared the Big Ten player of the week award last week. He averaged 27.5 points in Iowa’s two games last week. One of those was an emotional 67-66 upset of Wisconsin last Thursday, when Iowa students and fans rushed the floor at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

“We had a pretty good week with a great win over Wisconsin followed by a tough loss at Illinois, but that sort of typifies what this league is about,” said Iowa coach Fran McCaffery. “I’m proud of Matt Gatens for being the co-player of the week. He is playing as well as anybody in our league or, really, anybody in the country right now.”

* Illini Stop The Bleeding – Illinois’ home win over Iowa was just the Fighting Illini’s second win in 11 games dating to a Jan. 10 win over Ohio State.

“We had a needed win against Iowa,” Illinois coach Bruce Weber said. “They came in maybe as hot as anybody in the league. We needed a great effort, especially on the defensive end, which we got. It was a renewed energy and a renewed spririt. We made a commitment on the defensive end. That kind of slipped for us in the middle of the season and gave us a tough stretch of losses.

“We have to come in with the same intensity as we prepare to face Michigan.”

Illinois (17-12, 6-10) is a distant 74th in RPI. The Illini had been mentioned in NCAA projections until their unthinkable loss at Nebraska on Feb. 18. With a home game against Michigan Thursday and a game at Wisconsin Sunday, Illinois could still get back into the NCAA discussion with a couple of wins.

“We have talked about it the whole time,” Weber said. “A week ago, we were still on the board with the Bracketologists and then we lost a couple more. It’s something we talk about. But we had to get one before we could make it part of our dreams, hopes and goals. Now you have Michigan and that would be another marquee win to put on our resume.”

Weber shuffled his starting lineup against Iowa, putting Nnanna and Joseph Bertrand in the starting lineup. Brandon Paul and Meyers Leonard each played 36 minutes off the bench in the win.

“We came back after Ohio State and I said the next three days we were going to do everything competitively,” Weber said. “I said the guys who competed and won in practice would have a chance to start. We started the top five guys with their record. We weren’t mad at anybody. You hoped you were motivating some guys to compete in practice. The guys who brought energy in practice got to start in the game and that’s how it ought to be.”

* Wildcats On The Verge – The NCAA Tournament has been around since 1939. But the only school at a BCS conference that hasn’t been to The Big Dance is Northwestern. That could change in the next two weeks as coach Bill Carmody’s Wildcats seem ready to punch their first dance ticket.

Northwestern (17-11, 7-9) sits 43rd in RPI and has a nice strength of schedule rating of 12th to go with it. A win over Ohio State Wednesday or at Iowa on Saturday ought to be enough to get it done.

“It’s in front of us,” Carmody said. “The opportunity is there. We face a very good Ohio State team and then go to Iowa, which has surprised everyone. They’ve played so well the last four weeks or so. We have two games in front of us and this is our chance.”

The Wildcats came through a tough week, losing at home to Michigan in overtime (67-55) before squeaking out a win at Penn State (67-66).

The Wildcats trailed 66-65 in the closing seconds at Penn State. But PSU’s Jonathan Graham missed a pair of free throws with 14 seconds left. NU star John Shurna rebounded the second miss and was ultimately fouled with three seconds left. Shurna hit his two free throws and NU escaped State College with a critical 17th win.

“It’s funny the difference between winning and losing sometimes,” Carmody said. “Their guy missed two foul shots and our guy made two foul shots. It’s good because we hadn’t won there in a while. You have to be lucky and you have to be good.”

* Wisconsin On The Rise – Wisconsin’s win at Ohio State was historical in a sense. It was the Badgers’ first road win over a top-10 Big Ten team since a 1980 win at, where else, Ohio State. Current Badgers coach Bo Ryan was an assistant on the UW staff at that time. The win helped left UW from 24th in RPI to 18th, giving the Badgers a chance for a protected top-four seed.

After a 1-3 Big Ten start, Wisconsin (21-8, 10-6) has won nine of its last 12 games. Asked what it takes to play your best basketball at the end of the year, Ryan had a good response.

“You have to be healthy,” he said. “Hopefully you have players who are getting better through the course of the season. You don’t measure it by one game. You measure it by 10 or 15. Playing good at the end of the year could also be who you’re playing, when you’re playing and where you’re playing them. I’ve noticed that to be the case a lot of times in the Big Ten.

“You have to catch some breaks, stay healthy and have some younger guys who are getting better throughout the season.”

* The Indianapolis 12 – We are just nine days away from the biggest ever Big Ten tournament.

Once again we will project the seedings for the Big Ten tournament. It is set for March 8-11 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse (formerly Conseco Fieldhouse) in Indianapolis. The seedings can and likely will change as the games are played in the final week.

As of now, those would be:

Projected Opening Round (March 8): Northwestern (8 seed) vs. Illinois (9), 11:30 a.m. (BTN); Indiana (5) vs. Nebraska (12), 1:55 p.m. (BTN); Iowa (7) vs. Minnesota (10), 5:30 p.m. (ESPN2); Purdue (6) vs. Penn State (11), 7:55 p.m. (ESPN2).

Projected Quarterfinals (March 9): Michigan State (1) vs. Northwestern-Illinois winner, noon (ESPN); Wisconsin (4) vs. Indiana-Nebraska winner, 2:25 p.m. (ESPN); Michigan (2) vs. Iowa-Minnesota winner, 6:30 p.m. (BTN); Ohio State (3) vs. Purdue-Penn State winner, 8:55 p.m. (BTN).

Semifinals (March 10): Quarterfinal winners, 1:40 p.m. and 4:05 p.m. (CBS).

Championship Game (March 11): Semifinal winners, 3:30 p.m. (CBS).

Check in next week for our Big Ten tournament preview.

* Bracketology – We are 12 days from the release of the 2012 NCAA men’s basketball tournament bracket. The Big Ten seems pretty solid to get seven teams into this year’s Big Dance.

ESPN.com’s Joe Lunardi releases his updated bracket here. He has Michigan State moving up to a one seed in the West, joining Syracuse, Kentucky and Kansas as one seeds. His seven Big Ten teams include MSU, Ohio State (two seed in the Midwest), Michigan (three seed), Wisconsin (four seed), Indiana (four seed), Purdue (eight seed) and Northwestern (13 seed).

CBSSports.com’s Jerry Palm releases his bracket here. Palm’s bracket, last updated earlier today, has seven Big Ten teams in the field. They include Michigan State (one seed in the West), Ohio State (two), Michigan (three), Wisconsin (four), Indiana (five), Purdue (eight) and Northwestern (11).

RushTheCourt.com also has a mock bracket here. That site has Michigan State (two seed), Ohio State (two), Michigan (three), Wisconsin (four), Indiana (four), Purdue (eight) and Northwestern (13).

Big Ten Notable Games This Week

* Michigan State at Indiana, Tuesday, 7 p.m. (ESPN) – An MSU win in Bloomington would give the Spartans the outright Big Ten title. MSU won the first meeting on Dec. 28 (80-65).

* Ohio State at Northwestern, Wednesday, 8:30 p.m. (BTN) – A win would likely cinch an NCAA bid for Northwestern. The Buckeyes just want to get their house back in order in time for the postseason. OSU rolled 87-54 in the first meeting in Columbus back on Dec. 28.

* Michigan at Illinois, Thursday, 7 p.m. (ESPN) – Michigan won the first match-up 70-61 in Ann Arbor. Illinois desperately needs a win to increase its fleeting NCAA hopes.

* Northwestern at Iowa, Saturday, 2:30 p.m. (BTN) – Iowa could be in a place to get to .500 in the Big Ten with a win. NU won the first meeting in Evanston on Feb. 9 (83-64).

* Ohio State at Michigan State, Sunday, 4 p.m. (CBS) – This is the big senior send-off for Draymond Green. OSU would like to avenge its earlier loss at home to MSU on Feb. 11 (58-48). If Indiana beats MSU and OSU defeats Northwestern earlier in the week, OSU would be playing for a piece of the Big Ten title.

* Purdue at Indiana, Sunday, 6 p.m. (BTN) – The Hoosiers will be looking for a regular season sweep of the hated Boilers. IU won big at Purdue on Feb. 4 (78-61).

National Games To Watch This Week

Some of the smaller conferences are already starting their tournaments this week. Here are some of the notable games this week:

* Florida at Vanderbilt, Tuesday, 9 p.m. (ESPN) – Second place in the SEC could be on the line in Nashville. Florida won the first meeting 73-65 in Gainesville.

* Marquette at Cincinnati, Wednesday, 7 p.m. (ESPN2) – UC is looking good for an NCAA berth with 20 wins. Marquette has won 12 of its last 13 games and is on a rampage. That includes a previous 95-78 win over UC.

* Georgetown at Marquette, Saturday, 2 p.m. (Big Ten Network) – This is a match-up of top-12 teams and you’ll only find it on local TV or the web. Georgetown won the first meeting 73-70 in D.C.

* Louisville at Syracuse, Saturday, 4 p.m. (CBS) – Syracuse hopes to wrap a 30-1 regular season with a win over UL, which has won eight of its last 10. One of those losses was a 52-51 heartbreaker at home to the Orange on Feb. 13.

* North Carolina at Duke, Saturday, 7 p.m. (ESPN) – These old rivals start the week tied for the ACC lead at 12-2 and 25-4 overall. Duke visits Wake Forest and UNC hosts Maryland prior to their showdown at Cameron. Austin Rivers’ three-pointer at the buzzer gave Duke an amazing 85-84 win over UNC on Feb. 8 at the Dean Dome. A number one seed in the ACC tourney and possibly the NCAA could be at stake.

* Kentucky at Florida, Sunday, noon (CBS) – Top-ranked Kentucky hosts Georgia Thursday before going to Gainesville to wrap the season. UK is also hoping for a 30-1 finish. The Wildcats blasted Florida 78-58 in the first meeting on Feb. 7.

* Missouri Valley Championship (at St. Louis), Sunday, 2 p.m. (CBS) – This looks like a two-bid league with Wichita State and Creighton. But if somebody else can score an upset and get to the tournament title game, maybe that becomes three. Wichita and Creighton split their two games during the regular season.

My National Top 16

Here’s what I have: Kentucky, Syracuse, Kansas, Duke, Michigan State, North Carolina, Missouri, Marquette, Baylor, Ohio State, Georgetown, Michigan, Wisconsin, Murray State, Florida, Wichita State.

Big Ten Standings, Schedule

TEAM CONF OVERALL
Michigan State 13-3 24-5
Ohio State 11-5 23-6
Michigan 11-5 21-8
Wisconsin 10-6 21-8
Indiana 9-7 22-7
Purdue 9-7 19-10
Northwestern 7-9 17-11
Iowa 7-9 15-14
Illinois 6-10 17-12
Minnesota 5-11 17-12
Nebraska 4-12 12-15
Penn State 4-12 12-17

Tuesday’s Game

Michigan State at Indiana, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
Minnesota at Wisconsin, 8 p.m. (BTN)

Wednesday’s Games

Penn State at Purdue, 6:30 p.m. (BTN)
Ohio State at Northwestern, 8:30 p.m. (BTN)
Iowa at Nebraska, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)

Thursday’s Games

Michigan at Illinois, 7 p.m. (ESPN)

Saturday’s Games

Nebraska at Minnesota, 12:30 p.m. (BTN)
Northwestern at Iowa, 2:30 p.m. (BTN)

Sunday’s Games

Michigan at Penn State, 1 p.m. (ESPN)
Illinois at Wisconsin, 1 p.m. (BTN)
Ohio State at Michigan State, 4 p.m. (CBS)
Purdue at Indiana, 6 p.m. (BTN)

  • "On Tuesday, Sullinger told reporters he has been bothered by inconsistent officiating, negative media coverage and speculation about his future plans regarding the NBA. Matta said he told Sullinger simply to “play his game.”"

    Wow, what a baby, still crying about officiating? If I was an OSU fan I'd be livid with Sully's attitude.

  • Bucknuts

    SteveHelwagen

    Indiana has knocked off Michigan State 70-55. I will update the standings after the Wisconsin-Minnesota game. But IU is assured of no less than a 10-8 finish.

    The door is open now for Ohio State to get a share of a third straight title with road wins at NW and MSU to end the season. If OSU can knock off MSU, Michigan can also get a share of its first title since 1986 (yes, it's been that long) with wins at Illinois and Penn State. Gonna be a fun final week!!

    I won't even bother with seeding possibilities until all the midweek games are complete.

  • Bucknuts

    SteveHelwagen

    For OSU fans, Lee Caryer has his weekly column with observations after the loss to Wisconsin (some great stuff here):

    http://ohiostate.247sports.com/Article/Caryer-Issues-Aplenty-For-Buckeyes-63438

  • Bucknuts

    SteveHelwagen

    Updated standings after Tuesday's games:

    Indiana 70, Michigan State 55 -- IU beats 3 top-5 teams in same season first time since 1976 NCAA title team; Crean's first win against mentor Izzo in 6 tries

    Wisconsin 52, Minnesota 45 -- Badgers rally from down 23-16 at halftime; hold an opponent to 50 or under for 12th time; UW clinches at least fourth seed and first-round bye for conference tournament (even if they lose and Indiana wins, UW won the only head-to-head match-up with Indiana)

    No changes to the seeds above for Big Ten tournament yet. Will try and update as we go through the rest of the week.

    Big Ten Standings, Schedule

    TEAM CONF OVERALL
    Michigan State 13-4 24-6
    Ohio State 11-5 23-6
    Michigan 11-5 21-8
    Wisconsin 11-6 22-8
    Indiana 10-7 23-7
    Purdue 9-7 19-10
    Northwestern 7-9 17-11
    Iowa 7-9 15-14
    Illinois 6-10 17-12
    Minnesota 5-12 17-13
    Nebraska 4-12 12-15
    Penn State 4-12 12-17

    Wednesday’s Games

    Penn State at Purdue, 6:30 p.m. (BTN)
    Ohio State at Northwestern, 8:30 p.m. (BTN)
    Iowa at Nebraska, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)

    Thursday’s Games

    Michigan at Illinois, 7 p.m. (ESPN)

    Saturday’s Games

    Nebraska at Minnesota, 12:30 p.m. (BTN)
    Northwestern at Iowa, 2:30 p.m. (BTN)

    Sunday’s Games

    Michigan at Penn State, 1 p.m. (ESPN)
    Illinois at Wisconsin, 1 p.m. (BTN)
    Ohio State at Michigan State, 4 p.m. (CBS)
    Purdue at Indiana, 6 p.m. (BTN)

    This post was edited by SteveHelwagen 2 years ago

  • Frankly, I just hope Sullinger is " stays engaged" versus the Wildcats and Northwestern. You never know. If OSU plays like they did a month ago then OSU has a great chance to beat Northwestern and MSU and they can get a share of the Big Ten title. I hope Matta straightens these kids out the last couple of games. Please emerge as the leader Aaron Craft or someone else with some leadership and take this team over down the stretch. It's never too late for OSU to slavage their season.

  • Bucknuts

    tembuck2

    If he is in fact healthy, it is time for Sully to put this team on his back and shout Keyshawn Johnson's mantra.

    If he is not, then OSU needs to find a different system (with Sully at the 4) so he can still utilize his offensive strengths.

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  • Bucknuts

    SteveHelwagen

    Updated standings:

    Michigan State 13-4 24-6
    Ohio State 12-5 24-6
    Michigan 11-5 21-8
    Wisconsin 11-6 22-8
    Indiana 10-7 23-7
    Purdue 10-7 20-10
    Iowa 8-9 16-14
    Northwestern 7-10 17-12
    Illinois 6-10 17-12
    Minnesota 5-12 17-13
    Nebraska 4-13 12-16
    Penn State 4-13 12-18

    Wednesday results:

    Purdue 80, Penn State 56 ... Purdue coming together at right time
    Ohio State 75, Northwestern 73 ... Buckeyes led whole way but needed shot at end to win, at least it was a win
    Iowa 62, Nebraska 53 ... Man, this makes that Iowa-NW game huge, Iowa can get to 9-9 and likely clinch NIT bid, NW needs a win to get into the NCAA

    Thursday’s Game

    Michigan at Illinois, 7 p.m. (ESPN)

    Saturday’s Games

    Nebraska at Minnesota, 12:30 p.m. (BTN)
    Northwestern at Iowa, 2:30 p.m. (BTN)

    Sunday’s Games

    Michigan at Penn State, 1 p.m. (ESPN)
    Illinois at Wisconsin, 1 p.m. (BTN)
    Ohio State at Michigan State, 4 p.m. (CBS)
    Purdue at Indiana, 6 p.m. (BTN)

    Seeding update (and this can still change a great deal over next 4 days).

    Looks like MSU, UM, OSU and Wisconsin all have first-round byes. Looks like Wisconsin and Michigan have tiebreaker edges on Indiana.

    I think and don't hold me to this, but if MSU, UM and OSU tie for first, I think that's the order their seeds will be.

    As of now the seeds are:

    1-MSU
    2-OSU
    3-Michigan
    4-Wisconsin
    5-Indiana
    6-Purdue
    7-Iowa
    8-Northwestern
    9-Illinois
    10-Minnesota
    11-Penn State
    12-Nebraska

  • Bucknuts

    SteveHelwagen

    Updated standings:

    Michigan State 13-4 24-6
    Ohio State 12-5 24-6
    Michigan 12-5 22-8
    Wisconsin 11-6 22-8
    Indiana 10-7 23-7
    Purdue 10-7 20-10
    Iowa 8-9 16-14
    Northwestern 7-10 17-12
    Illinois 6-11 17-13
    Minnesota 5-12 17-13
    Nebraska 4-13 12-16
    Penn State 4-13 12-18

    Thursday’s Game

    Michigan 72, Illinois 61 ... big road win for UM, Meyers Leonard is a keeper for Illinois, UM's first win at Illinois since 1995 (wow)

    Saturday’s Games

    Nebraska at Minnesota, 12:30 p.m. (BTN)
    Northwestern at Iowa, 2:30 p.m. (BTN)

    Sunday’s Games

    Michigan at Penn State, 1 p.m. (ESPN)
    Illinois at Wisconsin, 1 p.m. (BTN)
    Ohio State at Michigan State, 4 p.m. (CBS)
    Purdue at Indiana, 6 p.m. (BTN)

    Seeding update (and this can still change a great deal over next 3 days).

    As of now the seeds are:

    1-MSU
    2-Michigan (because UM is 1-1 vs MSU and OSU is 0-1)
    3-OSU
    4-Wisconsin
    5-Indiana
    6-Purdue
    7-Iowa
    8-Northwestern
    9-Illinois
    10-Minnesota
    11-Penn State
    12-Nebraska

    This is very complicated in terms of what could still happen. A lot of variables depending on who ends up tied with who.

    Let's assume that Wisconsin beats Illinois at home and finishes in sole possession of at least fourth (i.e. the Purdue-Indiana winner does not end up catching Wisconsin) ... that seems like a good assumption.

    If OSU beats MSU and Michigan loses at PSU, that means that OSU-MSU would be tied and would split their games and Wisconsin-Michigan would be tied for third.

    MSU would win the tiebreaker for the top seed with a combined 3-1 record vs Michigan-Wisconsin to 2-2 for OSU.

    If OSU beats MSU and Michigan beats PSU, there would be a 3-way tie for first. They were alll 1-1 against each other in that scenario. It would go to record vs. Wisconsin. MSU was 2-0, Michigan was 1-0 and OSU was 1-1. That means MSU is the one, Michigan is the two and OSU would be the three.

    If MSU beats OSU and PSU beats Michigan (and Wisconsin beats Illinois as expected), MSU would be alone in first as the one. there would then be a 3-way tie for second. It would go to record against the group. UM would be 2-1, OSU would be 2-2 and Wisconsin would be 1-2, so that would be the order from the 2 seed to 3 seed and 4 seed.

    If MSU beats OSU, Michigan beats PSU (and Wisconsin wins as expected), MSU would be alone as the one. Michigan would be alone in second and OSU and Wisconsin would be tied. Since OSU and Wisconsin split their series 1-1, you look at the record against MSU. They would both be 0-2. Then it goes to record vs. Michigan. OSU would get the three seed with a 1-1 record and Wisconsin would get the four with a 0-1 record vs. UM.

    I think this solves most of the scenarios. If Wisconsin loses to Illinois and falls into a tie with the Indiana-Purdue winner, that gives me a headache and we'll crooss that bridge when and if we come to it.

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