Parity in Big Ten Basketball Rewards, Tortures Fans
Big Ten basketball makes no sense this year, and that's great.
But it's also heart-wrenching and confusing for fans of schools in the Big Ten Conference. Parity rules the Big Ten, and it seems no team is safe from the in-conference upset.
Looking at the current Big Ten men's basketball standings (as of Jan. 16), the only real preseason prediction holding true is a winless Rutgers team.
If the standings don't convince you of the Big Ten's chaos, maybe these in-conference results will:
1. Nebraska beat Indiana at Assembly Hall. This victory keyed the Cornhuskers first ever 3-0 start in Big Ten play.
2. Michigan State lost to Penn State and Ohio State (yes, away from East Lansing, but pitfalls Tom Izzo's Sparty typically avoids).
3. Purdue lost against Minnesota and Iowa, and it was fortunate to avoid another loss at Ohio State. Yet even with those disappointing results, Purdue still managed to manhandle Wisconsin.
4. Penn State also beat Minnesota, who looked like a Big Ten title contender through the first handful Big Ten games this season.
5. Nebraska won at Maryland, ending the game on a 14-0 run to grab the 67-65 win.
6. Iowa barely beat Rutgers, then beat Purdue after losing by 22 to the Boilermakers only weeks before and followed it up with a 35-point loss to Northwestern three days later.
7. Ohio State started Big Ten play 0-4 for the first time since the 1997-98 season when it started 0-14. The Buckeyes won their first conference game of 2017 on Sunday when they beat Michigan State.
This chaos contributes to rising blood pressures in the Midwest, but for college basketball fans, few conferences can create better entertainment on a nightly basis than the Big Ten.
So buckle up. Because whether you cheer for Iowa, Nebraska, Michigan or a college basketball team outside of the Big Ten, the only team who doesn't appear to have a nightly shot at victory is Rutgers.