Nebraska 53 Minnesota 51
Michigan 80 Purdue 75
I think those scores say enough, so instead of talking about the games themselves, I'm going to talk about the state of Big Ten basketball in general right now. I don't think there's any question that it's the best basketball conference in the country from top to bottom, but the fact is the Big Ten's been good at basketball for a while now but no Big Ten team has won the national title since Michigan State in 2000.
Given how this season started, with so many Big Ten teams ranked highly, I was thinking this year might be the year that streak finally came to an end. Michigan and Indiana looked like juggernauts for so much of the season, and then there's Michigan State, which is a team that always seems to peak at tournament time.
But I'm starting to have my doubts.
Now, in a conference this strong, upsets are going to happen. It's inevitable. What worries me, though, is that the upsets are happening now. Of the nine losses this season between Indiana and Michigan five have come in the last month. And it was nearly six as Michigan had a very tough time with Purdue last night. Meanwhile, Michigan State has lost three in a row.
The best teams in the conference, the ones with the best chance at winning it all, are playing their worst basketball at the wrong time of the season.
Maybe I'm reading too much into it at this stage, but recent history justifies these doubts. I get a creeping sense that this is going to be yet another season in which the Big Ten dominates in the regular season and disappoints in the tournament.
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