BIG Ten Recap: Who will win the ‘23 big dance?


photo courtesy of LevoisJ CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

MARCH MADNESS: March Madness will begin on Tuesday March 14 and go through Monday April 3. Which team do you predict to make it to the Big Dance?

With the Big Ten being one of the most competitive conferences, it is no shock that this showdown for the top spot is hard to come by . This season Purdue had by far dominated the Big Ten within conference play. 

On Saturday Feb 12th, Purude lost to Northwestern 64 to 57. Senior guard Boo Buie led the Wildcats with 26 points in 37 minutes. Senior guard Chase Audige had 15 points in 39 minutes. Both players for the Northwestern Wildcats combined for 41 points.  

The Chicago hometown team has been doing very well this year, having a record of nine and five and currently being tied for second place with longtime basketball powerhouse Indiana University, Bloomington. Even with the Purdue loss, they are still the favorite in the Big Ten Conference. 

There is a three way tie for fourth place overall, within the conference between Iowa, Rutgers and Maryland. All three teams have been very good this year to say the least. To start, Iowa has racked up some very impressive conference wins recently. Iowa defeated The University of Illinois at home in Carver arena on Feb 4th with a final score of 81 to 79.  With guard Tony Perkins leading the team with 32 points in 35 minutes of play. 

To follow, junior guard Kris Murray had 19 points and seven rebounds in 36 minutes. Iowa had another Impressive victory on Jan 31st against the Northwestern Wildcats as they won 86 to 70. Leading the team was Filip Rebraca with 20 points, 10 rebounds and four assists in 33 minutes and Payton Sandfort with 20 points, five assists, four rebounds in 23 minutes. Iowa is definitely a team that can go far in March Madness if they play like they have during the regular season.

The Maryland Terps have also had some very good wins recently as they beat Indiana 66 to 55 on January 31st. Leading the way for Maryland was talented guard Jahmir Young as he had 20 points and six rebounds in 37 minutes. Right behind him in scoring was forward Donta Scott. Scott had 19 points and five rebounds in 36 minutes. Although Indiana lost this game they still have a bright spot and are looking good moving into mid February. Not only are they tied for second in the Big Ten, but they have one of the best players in the Big Ten.

 Senior forward Trayce Jackson-Davis from Greenwood, Indiana has had a very good year as he has been averaging over 20 points per game this season. Davis Is also in fifth place for rebounds averaging over 11.3 rebounds per game. If this streak continues, look for Indiana to be a very strong contender for the Big Ten and will go far in March.

There is one team in the Big Ten however who has been really struggling this season. The Minnesota Gophers have gone 1-12 in conference play this year and have a record of 7-19. This year has been a challenge to say the least for the Gophers. They are on an eight game losing streak, having their only win on January 12th when they beat Ohio State in Columbus 70 – 67. Sophomore forward Dawson Garcia has his best game all year with 28 points and nine rebounds in 38 minutes. 

 Following Garcia in scoring was Ta’lon Cooper, a junior guard from Roebuck, South Carolina. Against Ohio State he had 13 points and 11 rebounds in 40 minutes. This season Cooper has been averaging 10.5 points and six rebounds per game. He will be more of a team leader next year as he moves into his senior year of eligibility. 

Overall the Big Ten has been super competitive this year. As we move into the end of the season we will see which teams get into the March Madness tournament, but more importantly we will see which team holds the crown of Big Ten Champion for the 2022-2023 season.