It’s like Christmas in July, except March Madness in February. Big 10 basketball is narrowing to crown a season champion, and it looks like it’s going to be a nail-biter.
The Michigan State Spartans topped the B1G marquee matchup of the year against then-No. 3 Purdue, winning 68-65 thanks to a clutch Miles Bridges three-pointer with a couple seconds left. The Spartan defense held the Boilermakers to only 40 percent shooting from the field while limiting themselves to only six turnovers, something that has, at times, been an issue for the Green and White.
Winning eight straight games, the Spartans are trying to finish out the season strong and in contention for a B1G Championship and a No. 1 seed for the tournament. One thing, however, stands in the way of Sparty being the clear favorite for hoisting the Big 10 trophy in a few weeks: Ohio State.
Ohio State, beating Michigan State earlier in the season and Purdue this past week, is setting themselves up to be a contending top-10 team going into March. The remaining four games on the Buckeyes’ schedule, however, include three road games, one of which is against the Michigan Wolverines, who was ranked No. 20 throughout last week. Should MSU and Purdue win out, with a pair of OSU losses, MSU would take the cake in Big 10 regular season play, matching their two losses with Purdue’s two losses and holding a tie-breaker over the Boilermakers.
Apart from within their own conference, Michigan State boasts a 24-3 record, including wins over North Carolina, Notre Dame and now Purdue, with losses against B1G rivals Ohio State and Michigan, not to mention then-No. 1 Duke. Virginia’s Saturday loss against Virginia Tech paves the way for MSU to retake a No. 1 seed prospect for the Big Dance, with the Spartans and Villanova leading the pack.
The B1G tournament to crown the midwestern conference’s champion is tip-toeing ever closer, and we’re just about as far away from having a favorite to win it all as we have been all season. I’m gonna shoot you straight – I’m pulling for Sparty, but I’m honestly just excited to watch some good basketball.
So sit back with me for the next few weeks, turn on the telly and let’s see what level of madness March has to bring us this year.