After Purdue, Michigan State, IU can be the best of the rest in the Big Ten
The Hoosiers went wire-to-wire in their victory over Maryland Friday, and it was the best they've looked all season - except for those last seven minutes.
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – So we were having a cocktail at a Bloomington bar after IU wiped the floor with Maryland here at Assembly Hall, and suddenly the Big Ten became far more interesting. Up on a TV, there was Northwestern knocking off Purdue in overtime, and somewhere, Seth Greenberg was wishing he never suggested the Boilers might go undefeated this year.
Today, Saturday, IU and Northwestern are in first place in the Big Ten.
Of course, we all saw that coming.
In the end, I remain convinced Purdue will not only win the Big Ten, but win it going away, the only real challenge coming from Michigan State. But who’s the best of the rest? We’re just a game into the Big Ten schedule, but based on what we saw – sans the seven sloppy minutes to close the game – IU has a very strong chance of being the best of the rest.
On a night when Xavier Johnson didn’t play and Curt Cignetti fired up the crowd, the Hoosiers led from wire to wire and put away the Terps 65-53.
Granted, Maryland, Friday’s victim, isn’t terribly good, now standing at 4-4 after a sputtering start. It’s not the litmus test IU is going to face with upcoming games at Michigan, at Auburn and home against Kansas, but it offered a clear sign that IU is coming together, growing into a contender who should finish in the top tier of the Big Ten and reach the NCAA Tournament.
There are still plenty of questions about this team moving forward, but these are the things we know: