There's some good basketball games on tomorrow in Big Ten Country. At noon EST, a battle of Top 10 teams goes down when Wisconsin hosts unbeaten and second-ranked Pitt. At 3:30 EST, consensus conference favorite Ohio State plays a nationally televised game against Cincinnati. But what were the odds that six weeks ago anyone looked at tomorrow's slate and saw the Purdue-Butler game as the battle for the state championship of Indiana? But that's exactly what it is.
Butler has gained national recognition for its early-season performance, knocking off both Notre Dame and Indiana on its way to a championship in the preseason NIT. The Boilermakers have been the surprise of the Big Ten. Jeff Shelman writes on ESPN.com today that Purdue is in position to win twenty games, a figure that would make denial of an NCAA bid virtually unprecedented since the expansion of the field.
After some lean years, basketball in the Hoosier State is back. Notre Dame is off to a good start. Indiana seems to be developing an identity under Kelvin Sampson. But the crown of this great basketball state looks to be settled tomorrow between Butler and Purdue.