Top Contenders for the Big Ten Title
It was a wild Tuesday night in the Big Ten with Nebraska authoring one of the biggest upsets of the Big Ten season against Ohio State with Wisconsin and Michigan delivering important victories.
No. 10 Wisconsin clinched a share of the Big Ten title with its 70-67 win over No. 8 Purdue. No. 20 Illinois is 1½ games out of first place. Michigan and Michigan State are tied for Rutgers for sixth place in the Big Ten standings.
Big Ten titles since Bo Ryan and Greg Gard entered the league.
— Evan Flood (@Evan_Flood) March 2, 2022
In the NCAA NET rankings which is one of the tools available to the NCAA selection committee to come up with the March Madness bracket, Purdue fell a spot to No. 13, Illinois is 14th, Iowa 18th, Wisconsin 20th, Ohio State 22nd, Michigan jumped five places to No. 32 and fading Michigan State went from 33rd to 38th.
Purdue (+1200) and Illinois (+3300) have the best odds to win the national championship among the Big Ten teams. Other conference teams showing up in the March Madness odds are Ohio State (+6600), Iowa (+6600), Michigan State (+8000), Wisconsin (+8000) and Michigan (+15000).
Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Indiana Hoosiers
- Date, time, TV: Wednesday, March 2, 7 p.m. ET Big Ten Network
Rutgers has won the last four meetings with Indiana and covered against the spread in each of those games. In the most recent matchup, Rutgers won 61-50 in the 2021 Big Ten tournament as a three-point favorite.
Rutgers (16-12, 10-8 in the Big 12) has dropped three straight games and failed to cover in the last two. Two of those losses came on the road where the Scarlet Knights are only 3-9. Even with their recent struggles, the Scarlet Knights are only a game out of fifth place in the Big Ten standings.
Indiana (18-10, 9-9) has won back-to-back games to return to .500 in conference play. The Hoosiers had lost five in a row before beating Maryland and Minnesota and covering against the college basketball spreads in both games. Each of Indiana’s last five games finished under the total.
Indiana leads the Big Ten in scoring defense allowing 65.3 points per game followed closely by Rutgers at 65.5.
Minnesota Golden Gophers at Maryland Terrapins
- Date, time, TV: Wednesday, March 2, 9 p.m. ET Big Ten Network
Maryland has won the last six games against Minnesota and is 5-0-1 against the Las Vegas odds in those contests. Three of the last four meetings went over the total. Three of those victories came at Maryland and the last time Minnesota won on the road in this series was in 2017.
Maryland (14-15, 6-12) has won three of its last four games and covered in four of the last five. The Terrapins’ 15-point win against visiting Ohio State on Sunday was their third of the season against teams ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 poll.
Minnesota (13-14, 4-14) has dropped four of its last five games and is 2-3 against the spread during that stretch. The Golden Gophers have lost three of the last four games decided by less than 10 points.
This doesn’t figure to be an offensive showcase as Maryland is 11th and Minnesota 13th in the Big Ten in scoring offense.
Penn State Nittany Lions at Illinois Fighting Illini
- Date, time, TV: Thursday, March 3, 7 p.m. ET FS1
Illinois is still in contention for the Big Ten regular-season title, a championship the Fighting Illini haven’t won since 2005.
Illinois (20-8, 13-5) has split its last six games and is just 2-4 against the spread in the last six. Each of Illinois’ last three games went over the total.
Penn State (12-14, 7-11) has won three of its last four before a 23-point loss at home to last-place Nebraska on Sunday. Four of Penn State’s last five games finished under the total.
Illinois has won three straight games against Penn State after dropping the previous six games in the series. Three of the last four games in the series were decided by at least 14 points while three of the last four went under the total. The winner between the Fighting Illini and Nittany Lions has also covered in each of the last nine meetings.
Purdue (+225) is tied for the third-best odds to advance to the Final Four according to the March Madness predictions followed by Illinois (+750), Ohio State (+1600), Wisconsin (+1600), Michigan State (+3000), Michigan (+3300) and Indiana (+6000).
Penn State has attempted the fewest number of field goals in the Big Ten as the Nittany Lions take four fewer shots per contest than Illinois.
Michigan State Spartans at Ohio State Buckeyes
- Date, time, TV: Thursday, March 3, 7 p.m. ET ESPN
What is the world is going on in Columbus?
Ohio State is coming off back-to-back losses to Maryland and last-place Nebraska. It won’t get much easier with a matchup against Michigan State.
Michigan State (19-10, 10-8) has lost four of its last five games and failed to cover in each of those four losses. The Spartans were listed as underdogs in each of their last four games.
No. 23 Ohio State (18-9, 11-7) has lost its last two games both as favorites. The Buckeyes were favored by 15 points in their stunning 78-70 loss to Nebraska despite 27 points and 14 rebounds from E.J. Liddell.
Michigan State has won five of the last six matchups with Ohio State although the Buckeyes have won three of the last four contests played in Columbus which gives those who bet online something to consider. Just two of the last five meetings have been decided by less than 10 points.
Ohio State ranks third in the Big Ten in field goal percentage despite shooting just 39% against Nebraska while Michigan State is third in field goal percentage defense.
Iowa Hawkeyes at Michigan Wolverines
- Date, time, TV: Thursday, March 3, 9 p.m. ET FS1
Michigan has won four of the last five meetings against Iowa including an 84-79 win on February 17 as a five-point underdog on the road. Three of the last four games in the series finished over the total.
Something of interest for those who bet online, only one of the last six games in the series has been decided by single digits.
Iowa (21-8, 11-7) has won four games in a row and seven of its last eight to move into a tie for fourth place I in the Big Ten standings and dramatically increase the Hawkeyes’ chances of being a part of the March Madness bracket. The Hawkeyes have covered in five of the last seven games while three of the last four games went under the total.
Hunter Dickinson had 33 points as Michigan rolled past rival Michigan State on Tuesday. It was Michigan’s largest margin of victory since a 24-point victory against Purdue on February 10.
Dickinson is fifth in the Big Ten in scoring with an average of 18.3 points per game. Iowa’s Keegan Murray is the top scorer in the conference at 23.3 points per contest.