It’s the midway point in the B1G season and it’s time to reevaluate the B1G and who is on top and who fell to the bottom.
This is the biggest surprise of them all. Ohio State, a team who was depleted at the end of last season, fired their long-time coach (who had had lots of success in that program), and hired a new coach very late, was supposed to be in a rebuilding year and finish (close) to last place in the B1G. Ohio State is now 9-0 in the B1G and has an 18-4 overall record. They are currently ranked #12 in the AP Top 25, and they have already played a good portion of their tough B1G games.
Some quality OSU wins include: Michigan, at Wisconsin (at the beginning of the year), #1 Michigan State, and Maryland.
Michigan was never supposed to be a bad team, but no one had predicted them to be in the top four of the B1G. After losing key players last season, Michigan was projected to take a slight step back and finish around the middle of the B1G. Now, they are 6-3 in the B1G with a 17-5 overall record. They are currently ranked #25 in the AP Top 25 and have really only lost two questionable games. They lost to Nebraska, who is proving to be a decent team, and LSU, where that was a two point game and happened at the beginning of the season. A lot has changed since then.
Michigan still faces a number of quality opponents, but they are proving that they can win big games and that they should never be counted out of any game.
As Indiana fans you might be saying, what? We still had a good team after last season and our new coach was doing really well. Why are they a surprise?
Let’s go back to the evening of December 18, 2017. Indiana just lost to IPFW by 20 points, at home. They beat Notre Dame a few days earlier, but still had the Indiana State loss looming over them. Did Hoosier fans really think that Indiana would have a record of 5-3 in conference play and be sitting 5th overall in the B1G? I certainly tempered expectations after the ISU loss, getting blown out by Michigan, and losing to IPFW by 20. That, coupled with how the B1G is shaping up puts IU in a great spot to finish strong.
What’s even better is that Indiana generally has an easy schedule going forward. Sure, they have OSU twice, MSU once (at home), and Purdue (at home). They will probably lose the majority of those games, but I am still not sold on OSU going undefeated the rest of the way. Maybe the Hoosiers crash a party or two against MSU and Purdue at home. After those games, Indiana has a cushy schedule and can finish strong going into the B1G tournament and possibly an NCAA birth. What once felt like a lost season now has IU playing sound and consistent basketball at the top of the B1G.
This is the biggest negative surprise of them all. Minnesota and Richard Pitino were slated to finish in the top three if not the top two in the B1G. After starting out 13-3 with a 2-1 record in conference play, the Golden Gophers find themselves losing six of their last seven games and in a complete free-fall. They are still above .500 with an overall record of 14-9, but have fallen to 3-7 in B1G games and still have multiple tough opponents moving forward.
Minnesota still has eight games left to play, and six of those games are against teams that have better B1G records than they do. The only two remaining games where a team has a worse conference record than Minnesota is against Iowa, twice. Those other six games include, Michigan, Nebraska, Indiana, Michigan State, Wisconsin, and Purdue.
This has just been a rough season for the Wisconsin Badgers all around, they can’t seem to catch a break. They started out the season playing four ranked teams in their first seven games and lost each one. They put up a couple of duds before going on a win streak against inferior opponents. After their demolition of the Hoosiers, Wisconsin has lost to Rutgers, Nebraska, and Iowa, in addition to other B1G teams. Their overall record is now 10-11, and 3-5 in conference play.
Opponents left: Michigan State (twice), Maryland, Michigan, and Purdue. Not a good way to end a season.
Again, Iowa was another team who was not supposed to do this poorly. They were projected to finish in the middle of the B1G and finish with a decent record. Halfway through conference play, Iowa sits at second-to-last in the B1G with an overall record of 11-11 and 2-7 in conference play. Their best wins are against Wisconsin and Colorado, otherwise, their other nine wins are against sub-200 teams. Iowa even lost to Louisiana and South Dakota State at the beginning of the year. They are getting blown out by opponents, and they currently sit at 280th in the nation for points allowed.
Opponents left: Nebraska, Minnesota, Penn State, Michigan State, Ohio State, Michigan, Indiana, Minnesota, Northwestern. Five of those games are on the road too, and those few home games feature Nebraska, Michigan State, Indiana, and Northwestern. Tough season for the Iowa Hawkeyes.
B1G Record Predictions
|#1 Michigan State||16-2||28-3||6-2||18-3|
|#3 Ohio State||14-4||23-8||9-0||18-4|
|#10 Penn State||7-11||17-14||3-5||13-8|
*Tie-breakers are determined from head-to-head results
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