Wisconsin cleared the toughest road hurdle that stands between them and at least a share of the Big Ten title. In a hard-fought game in Columbus, the Badgers eventually prevailed over Ohio State 58-53. Marcus Landry turned in a balanced effort of 10 points/9 rebounds to help Wisconsin overcome the foul trouble keeping Brian Butch on the bench for extended periods.
But even more impressive was the spark again provided by Jason Bohannon off the bench. Bohannon knocked down 16 points and this marks the fifth straight game the reserve guard has hit double figures. He's helped Bo Ryan's team through a stretch where Trevon Hughes' production has been slipping.
Wisconsin's toughest remaining test is a big home date with Michigan State on Thursday night. This past weekend, MSU took revenge for an earlier defeat against Iowa. Detroit radio personality Anthony Fenech tells the Free Press that the Spartans are still disappointing. Understandable sentiment, but while the Spartans may have played themselves out of the title hunt, they are still 22-5 and may end up as the league's highest seed in the NCAA Tournament. Right now, a good goal would be for Tom Izzo's team to redeem themselves in the conference tourney before entering March Madness.
It will take awhile to get attention back exclusively on the basketball court at Indiana. Bob Kravitz of The Indianapolis Star writes that there are many unanswered questions in the wake of Kelvin Sampson's departure. On the court, the Hoosiers quickly lost the Sampson trademark--defense--in an 85-82 escape at Northwestern. But even though D.J. White was one of the players angry about his coach's dismissal it didn't affect him on the court, as he put up his usual 16/11 line. Eric Gordon got his points (18) and Armon Bassett led all scorers with 24. As for the Wildcats, they got a superlative night from Kevin Coble, as he knocked down 37 points. It's the rebounding that kills Northwestern, as Indiana doubled them up on the glass. Such stats are what make teams winless in league play at the end of February.
Rounding things out, Minnesota beat Penn State and kept its NCAA hopes on the respirator as they get set to enter a series of big games where they can play themselves back onto the bubble. And Michigan won an ugly 49-43 decision over Illinois. Neither team broke 33 percent from the field, and no starter on either side hit half his shots. I can't say I'm sorry I missed that one.