When it came to avoiding mistakes last night in the Kohl Center, the Badgers were nearly perfect, as Mark Stewart of The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel put it. Wisconsin had only one turnover, allowed just five free throw attempts and consequently got an enormous 57-42 win over Michigan State. Goran Suton was stellar for the Spartans in defeat, pulling down fifteen rebounds, but the lack of complete offensive play on the road continues to plague Tom Izzo's team.
At 14-2, UW now gets the weekend off to watch Purdue and Indiana fight it out to pull back even. Looking ahead to next week, the Badgers have only Penn State and Northwestern standing between them and at least a share of the league championship. It would appear as though the folks in Madison can virtually sit back and start celebration plans, only waiting to see if Indiana will lose in East Lansing on Saturday or Purdue will falter in Columbus next week, in the hopes that their share might grow a little larger.
But Penn State and Northwestern both signaled this week that they haven't thrown in the towel on 2007-08. The Lions knocked off Iowa behind 22 points from Jamelle Cornley. And the Wildcats finally got on the board. Eight treys from Craig Moore triggered a 62-60 upset of Michigan in Ann Arbor. It was the highlight of a busy week in the NU offices, as the school got a new athletic director. James Phillips is reportedly coming over for Northern Illinois, once he finishes the task of helping his current school recover from the recent tragic shootings.
Purdue and Indiana each maintained control of their own championship destiny this week. The Boilermakers beat Minnesota at home behind 22 points from E'Twaun Moore. On the Gopher side, Dan Coleman finally broke out of his February slump with 10 points and 13 rebounds, but twenty turnovers for Minny negated their edge on the glass.
Further downstate, Dan Dakich got his biggest win as interim head coach by beating Ohio State. Armon Bassett knocked down 23 points. This is the second straight game Bassett has been 20+, and the fourth time in five he's hit double-digits. If he's a reliable third weapon behind D.J. White and Eric Gordon, the Hoosiers are a threat to go a long way in March. After all the tumult, the team's legacy now rests in the hands of the players, says Bob Kravitz of The Indianapolis Star.