It’s taken 14 weeks, but things are starting to take shape in Big Ten basketball. After all, there are only three 4-loss teams and five teams with 5-losses or fewer behind the clear league leading Wisconsin Badgers.
That means the polling is becoming a bit easier, or is it?
Here is the group of weekly voters, so make sure to follow these experts and their respective sites:
Andy Coppens – talking10.com (@AndyOnFootball)
Dave White – On The Banks (@OTB_SBNation)
Joe Dexter – BuckeyeBattleCry (@joedexter)
Michael Henry – BoiledSports (@BoiledSports & @therailroadtie)
Andy York – The Daily Gopher (@yorka1982)
Phillip Rossman-Reich – R.I.P. Lake The Posts (@RiseNU)
Ken Kohl – BuckeyeBattleCry (@The_BBC)
Andrew Emmer – Testudo Times (@TestudoTimes)
Hondo Carpenter – Spartan Nation (@HondoCarpenter)
David Tucker – Testudo Times (@TestudoDave)
On to the poll…
– For the first time this season we’ve got more than one tie in our poll. It goes a long way to showing just how muddled this season as become. The first tie came between Michigan and Iowa, a ridiculous thought just a week ago given the roll the Hawkeyes were on. Instead, Iowa drops a home game to Minnesota and a road game to Northwestern to fall back. However, the more surprising of the two ties comes from the winner of Sunday’s Iowa-Northwestern game — Northwestern. It goes to show that playing close games can matter a lot, as the Wildcats came in to the game with an average loss by just 3.5 points. Winning a close one over an upper-division team may be huge down the stretch for them.
– Wisconsin appears to be running away as the No. 1 team in our rankings, but how long will that last as UW faces four road games in the final six and also will face Maryland, Michigan State and Ohio State down the stretch. Given the three-game lead the Badgers have, time is not on the side of the rest of the Big Ten.
– One team made a noticeable jump in this poll, and that was the Michigan State Spartans. Not hard to see happening, considering they are one of the three teams with just four losses in Big Ten play. However, the three-point win over No. 23 Ohio State on Valentine’s Day (I’ll spare you the awful Denzel Valentine on Valentine’s Day puns) was a huge lift to the hope in Big Ten play and in making the NCAA tournament. A win over a top 25 team cemented them as a true challenger…at least for now.