After a disappointing loss to Minnesota, Purdue has left the door open for Michigan and Michigan St in the race for the Big 10 regular season title.
Purdue Let It Slip Away
All they had to do was beat Minnesota and Northwestern to finish as Big Ten regular season champions for a record 24th time. Most people outside the Midwest probably don’t think of Purdue as the team with the most Big Ten Championships but they have one more than Indiana. They still have a chance to win it but will have to settle for a share of the title since they are now tied with Michigan and Michigan St who play each other in the last regular season game. Meanwhile Purdue should be able to take care of business against Northwestern who are the worst team in the conference.
This loss not only takes away an outright conference regular season title; it also puts a possible number 2 seed in the NCAA tournament in jeopardy. Had they been able to win the conference outright and then have a strong showing in the conference tournament, they would most definitely be in line for a number two seed in the tournament. Now in order to achieve that, they will probably have to win the Big Ten tournament or at least make it to the final. They’ve already lost to Michigan this season and have lost to Michigan St twice so they are unlikely to be a number one seed in the Big Ten tournament coming up next week. This loss to Minnesota really makes their season a lot more complicated but maybe it’s just the wake up call they need before the post season begins.
The Battle for the State of Michigan
In college football, the biggest game of the season is Michigan vs. Ohio State. That is not the case in college basketball. The cream of the crop in Big Ten country when it comes to basketball are Michigan and Michigan St. This rivalry takes place not only on the court, it’s a battle that happens in the living rooms of recruits within the state who both teams fight tooth and nail over. In those same households many are divided by the maize and gold of the Wolverines or the green and white of the Spartans.
Die hard fans in the state of Michigan will get their wish Saturday in East Lansing as the Wolverines travel to take on Michigan St in a game that will decide the Big Ten regular season title and the number one seed in the Big Ten tournament. In the last game in Ann Arbor, Michigan St was able to pull away in a close contest led by Cassius Winston’s 27 points and 8 assists. The Spartans are the defending regular season champions while Michigan last won the regular season title back in 2014 although they are the defending Big Ten tournament champions. This game will have meaning on several fronts as both teams are also ranked top 10 in the AP polls. Whoever wins this game has a legitimate shot at a number 1 seed in the NCAA tournament with a number 2 seed virtually a lock for the winner of this game. Of course both will still need a strong showing in the conference tournament to lock up one of the top seeds.