It's hard to believe that just two weeks ago Wisconsin was 3-0 and looking to contend for a second straight conference championship. The Badgers dropped their fourth in a row over the weekend, losing on the road in Illinois 64-57. As has been the case throughout this streak, UW's defense has been lacking. Illinois shot 50% from the floor, and Demetri McCarney lit it up with 25 points, a figure that topped all conference scorers for the weekend. McCarney's heroics kept the Illini a game out of first place, and negated a strong effort by Joe Krabbenhoft who scored 16 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. Wisconsin is now in serious danger of missing the NCAA Tournament, with Michigan State, Illinois and Purdue clearly ensconced ahead of them, Minnesota having gotten the drop with a win in Madison and Penn State, Ohio State and Michigan all strong contenders in the middle of the pack.
In other games...
Penn State 63 Iowa 57
The Nittany Lions were carried by Jamelle Cornley inside, who scored 24 points, and Talor Battle outside, who popped in 20. Neither team was outstanding from three-point range, but PSU's 8-of-25 showing was at least tolerable, while Iowa was ice-cold at 4-17, and that spelled the difference in this game at Happy Valley.
Michigan 68 Northwestern 58
For the second straight game Manny Harris was held in single digits. But the Michigan guard made up for it on the boards with a 12-rebound effort. It keyed a 40-20 Michigan advantage on the glass that was more than enough to overcome 21 points by Kevin Coble.
Minnesota 67 Indiana 63
Indiana's showing a heartening tendency to play hard and give a tough fight at home, but they don't have the firepower to get over the top. Devan Dumes had 19 for the Hoosiers, but they were beaten by a balanced Minnesota attack that showed it can get points from more people than Lawrence Westbrook. On this day in Assembly Hall, Damian Johnson scored 18, while Ralph Sampson III chipped in 13.
Michigan State 78 Ohio State 67
A CBS audience saw the Spartans rebound from their loss to Northwestern. And rebound was the word for it, as Tom Izzo's club put another display of board dominance. 33-18 was the finally tally in a game where there weren't a lot of missed shots to go around. Both teams shot close to or above the 50 percent mark from the floor and both teams were good from three-point land. But Michigan State had Kalin Lucas and Durrell Summers, who combined for 46 points to lead them to a big road win that kept them in sole possession of first place.
Player Of The Sequence: Demetri McCarney. Not only was the Illinois guard the top scorer for the weekend, he didn't get as much help as some of the other top performers of the pas couple days did.