By Susan Harman
IOWA CITY, Iowa – We’re officially two-thirds of the way through the Big Ten women’s basketball season with six games remaining.
The top three teams (Iowa, Ohio State and Indiana) have separated themselves. Iowa and OSU are 11-1, while Indiana is 10-2, having lost to the other two.
The next three (Michigan State, Penn State and Nebraska) are tied for fourth place with 7-5 records.
Considering the remaining games a three-way tie atop the conference is a real possibility. Iowa still must go on the road to Indiana and then plays Ohio State at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in the last regular-season game of the year. That is not to discount away games at Nebraska and Minnesota. Iowa also has home games against Michigan (6-6) and Illinois (5-7), but the odds are that the head-to-head games with Indiana and Ohio State will decide Iowa’s fate.
Iowa is the only one of the three that has home-and-away games with the other two leaders. OSU and IU play once, and Ohio State won that game in Columbus.
OSU still has to go to Michigan State (Sunday) and Penn State. Both teams are more than capable of an upset. The Buckeyes also play Nebraska, Michigan and Maryland (5-7) in Columbus. Michigan upset Ohio State in Ann Arbor early in the conference season but hasn’t fared too well since.
After narrowly beating Michigan State on Thursday the Hoosiers have the easiest schedule remaining. Iowa is the only team they play that is in the upper division of the league. Among the teams IU plays are Purdue, Wisconsin and Northwestern, who are a combined 9-25. Maryland (5-7) and Illinois (5-7) round out the schedule. Both of those teams have had their moments and the Illinois game is in Champaign, but the Hoosiers are unlikely to have any problems outside of their home game against the Hawkeyes.
Will the top three end up in a tie with 16-2 records? Or will the next tier provide some upsets? Tune in Sunday before all that football starts.