Big Ten

College Basketball Preview: Michigan, Michigan State seek spark for stretch run

Both teams seeking to stay atop Big Ten standings
College Basketball Game Preview: Michigan at Michigan State

Not long ago, Michigan and Michigan State appeared to be the only teams in a duel for the Big Ten title.

Technically, the Michigan schools are still locked in the conference title race, but Iowa has been able to close the gap as neither the Wolverines nor the Spartans have been able to win back-to-back games in several weeks.

Ranking the Best Coaching Tandems in the Big Ten

Michigan State edges Ohio State in balanced crop of coaches
Ranking the Best Coaching Tandems in the Big Ten in 2014

The SEC has football dominance. The ACC has the defending football national champion and three Basketball Hall of Fame coaches. The American has the defending basketball national champion.

However, one of the strongest leagues in terms of football and basketball coaching tandems is the Big Ten.

Weekly Tipoff: Which team is the fastest riser in the last few weeks?

Could Tim Miles' Nebraska team be headed to the NCAA Tournament?
Weekly Tipoff: Which team is the fastest riser in the last few weeks?

It happens every basketball season around this time.

Just when you think you’ve got the NCAA Tournament bubble figured out, a few teams make a run late in the season to be considered.

Some of those teams will prove to be on a hot streak, returning to earth in the coming weeks. Others will go into the conference tournaments ready needing only a game or two to fill the final slots on the bracket.

Our staff wonders who that team could be this season.

10 Things You Need to Know from the College Basketball Weekend

Marshall Henderson, Melvin Ejim and Iowa come up with statement games
10 Things You Need to Know from the College Basketball Weekend Feb. 10

Let’s face it: There aren’t many reasons college basketball would dominate the SportsCenter conversation these days. Even with the Super Bowl over, there’s the NBA and the Winter Olympics to dominate coverage.

Then, Marcus Smart shoved a fan in the final seconds of a loss to Texas Tech. The weekend could have been spent celebrating Iowa’s first major win of the season, Melvin Ejim’s record breaking day at Iowa State or Marcus Foster’s one-man wrecking ball performance against Texas.

College Basketball Weekend Preview: Iowa Seeks Defining Win vs. Michigan

Tricky road trips, teams on the bubble highlight this weekend's slate of games
College Basketball Weekend Preview: Iowa Seeks Defining Win vs. Michigan

After last week, maybe college basketball needs a bit of a breather for the weekend.

Syracuse’s overtime win over Duke was the game of the year, but Saturday and Sunday also wrecked the top 25 with seven ranked teams losing to unranked foes.

This week, only two games will feature two ranked teams (Michigan-Iowa and Gonzaga-Memphis). On one hand, the weekend will lack a true No. 1 matchup, but the potential for chaos is still high.

Northwestern's Drew Crawford is Athlon's National Player of the Week

LSU's Jordan Mickey adds top freshman honors for the week
Northwestern's Drew Crawford is Athlon's National Player of the Week

Stringing together wins in the Big Ten hasn’t been easy this season, even for the most historically consistent of teams.

Wisconsin and Ohio State have faltered since undefeated starts. A different Indiana team shows up nearly any night.

And then there’s Northwestern, winners of four of five and in fourth place in the league standings. The Wildcats are one of four teams without a losing record in conference play.

Michigan's Nik Stauskas, Texas' Isaiah Taylor earn weekly honors

Wolverines guard Nik Stauskas is Athlon Sports' National Player of the Week
Michigan's Stauskas, Texas' Taylor earn weekly honors

The list of star players not present in East Lansing was staggering Saturday: Branden Dawson, Mitch McGary and Adreian Payne all were out for two teams that have been the walking wounded for most of the season.

Spartans point guard Keith Appling played, but his wrist was in such bad shape he could barely shoot.

That left Nik Stauskas and Gary Harris with the opportunity to fill the void.

10 Things You Need to Know from the College Basketball Weekend

Michigan, Duke come up with statement wins
10 Things You Need to Know from the College Basketball Weekend Jan. 27

The weekend of college basketball delivered only one true marquee matchup, but the weekend didn't lack for news. Although Michigan and Michigan State delivered in every way we hoped it would, other teams made key strides on Saturday and Sunday.

Let’s start with Michigan, now the last remaining team undefeated in Big Ten play. Michigan State gave all it could, but the Spartans’ injuries in the end were too much to overcome.

College Basketball Weekend Preview: Michigan-Michigan State is top game

Big Ten rivals match up while other teams try to end losing streaks
College Basketball Weekend Preview: Michigan-Michigan State is top game


This weekend will feature only two games between ranked teams, but one of them is a doozy.

After Michigan defeated Iowa on Wednesday and Michigan State dodged Indiana on Wednesday, the top two teams in the Big Ten standings will meet in East Lansing.

Especially in this league, staying undefeated in conference play in late January is a major feat. Just ask Ohio State and Wisconsin. Certainly the two coaches meeting Saturday at the Breslin Center are feeling a bit lucky to be playing for the Big Ten lead.

Big Ten basketball: The Best and Worst of 2013-14 So Far

Michigan, Iowa still rounding into form for another entertaining season
Big Ten: The Best and Worst of 2013-14 So Far

A handful of Big Ten teams are still striving for an identity at this stage of the season, meaning the league may not have a quite the depth top-flight teams as it did last season.

The Big Ten, though, may be the most watchable league in the country again.

Even in losses, Michigan and Iowa managed to entertain during the weekend. Michigan gave No. 1 Arizona all it could handle, and Iowa lost in the waning seconds on the road against Iowa State in the biggest game for the rivalry since 1987.

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