I had an intro all written out, I promise you, I did. I was going to talk about how important every game is in the Big Ten, how teams on the bubble could ill-afford to take bad losses. I was going to provide examples, and then tell you who should be proud and ashamed this week. It was great, probably one of the best intros I’ve ever written. Then something happened. RUTGERS ALMOST WON A BASKETBALL GAME. The Scarlet Knights played their hearts out, only succumbing in the third overtime. For a moment, it seemed like the 0-18 would be no more, that Rutgers would assure themselves of something, anything in the win column. But alas, it was not to be. Now, Rutgers must wait until they play Minnesota to do away with the paltry 0 in the win column. But last night, we were all Rutgers, and each night, we are all Rutgers. So a tip of the cap to the boys from the big city, that win will come.
Big Ten Power Rankings, One-Ish Sentence Style:
1. Maryland: The Terps remain number one after hard-fought wins against Ohio State and Nebraska. Next up? Purdue at home, followed by a visit from the mighty Bowie State Bulldogs from Division II.
2. Iowa: Iowa remains a close second this week, and are surely a final four threat.
3. Indiana: When they’re on, the Hoosiers are among the best teams in the conference. When they’re off, they can struggle to beat teams like Minnesota.
4. Michigan State: Sparty had the mid-week off, and will head to Ann Arbor for a big in-state showdown with Michigan Saturday.
5. Purdue: Big showdown for Purdue with Maryland this Saturday, chance for the Boilermakers to jump up the rankings.
6. Michigan: Yes Michigan lost to Indiana mid-week, but Ohio State picked up a loss as well, and Wisconsin has no business being ahead of the Wolverines.
7. Wisconsin: Wisconsin’s RPI is up to 64, and the Badgers have won 5 in a row. Maryland awaits them on Valentine’s Eve, a chance to creep closer to the right side of the bubble.
8. Ohio State: The Buckeyes remain firmly on the bubble, making their next to games (Northwestern and Rutgers), total landmines.
9. Nebraska: The Huskers played Maryland close (somehow Nebraska and Maryland are in the same conference, but that’s another story) and get a visit from New York City’s Big Ten team this weekend.
10. Northwestern: Chris Collins’ squad remains above the bottom of the Big Ten thanks to a pretty impressive showing against Minnesota last night.
11. Penn State: Penn State wasn’t great this week, but the Lions didn’t almost lose to Rutgers, which puts them above Illinois.
12. Illinois: Needing three overtimes to beat Rutgers is one way to get yourself moved down the rankings.
13. Rutgers: Almost winning a Big Ten game moves the boys from the big city ahead of Joey King’s bunch of Gophers.
14. Minnesota: They bad.