Thanks to Wisconsin last night the completely insane 7-way Big Ten championship scenario is still alive, with one of its biggest stress tests coming tonight when Indiana visits Illinois. Really, there is no excuse for the Hoosiers to not roll over the Illini, but if they need one more source of motivation it is this: an Indiana victory officially eliminates Purdue from title consideration.
Thanks to the handy Big Ten title simulator we know that with 21 games to go in league play, the following have no bearing whatsoever on the 7-way tie:
Nebraska at Penn State
Rutgers at Northwestern
Minnesota at Illinois
Northwestern at Penn State
Minnesota at Rutgers
Illinois at Penn State
Nebraska at Northwestern
As for the other 14 games, well, they have to pretty much go this way for the 7-way tie:
Illinois must beat Indiana tonight
Ohio State has to beat Iowa
Purdue has to beat Maryland
Michigan State must beat Penn State
In the Wisconsin-Michigan game the winner would be the 7th and final team involved in the tie if the other 11 games go as outlined here.
Next week's midweek games:
Iowa must beat Indiana
Purdue must beat Nebraska
Wisconsin must beat Minnesota (if the Badgers also beat Michigan, otherwise they are out of the tie).
Michigan State must beat Rutgers
Illinois must beat Maryland
Finally, next weekend's games:
Maryland must beat Indiana
Michigan must beat Iowa (giving them a piece of the tie if they also beat Wisconsin)
Ohio State must beat Michigan State
Purdue must beat Wisconsin
That would leave the standings as follows:
1. Maryland (12 - 6) Defeated Iowa, Purdue, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan State, and Ohio State based on round-robin record.
2. Iowa (12 - 6) With Purdue, defeated Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan State, and Ohio State and lost to Maryland based on round-robin record. Defeated Purdue based on head-to-head record.
3. Purdue (12 - 6) With Iowa, defeated Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan State, and Ohio State and lost to Maryland based on round-robin record. Lost to Iowa based on head-to-head record.
4. Indiana (12 - 6) With Wisconsin, defeated Michigan State and Ohio State and lost to Maryland, Iowa, and Purdue based on round-robin record. Defeated Wisconsin based on record against #9 teams.
5. Wisconsin (12 - 6) With Indiana, defeated Michigan State and Ohio State and lost to Maryland, Iowa, and Purdue based on round-robin record. Lost to Indiana based on record against #9 teams.
6. Michigan State (12 - 6) Defeated Ohio State and lost to Maryland, Iowa, Purdue, Indiana, and Wisconsin based on round-robin record.
7. Ohio State (12 - 6) Lost to Maryland, Iowa, Purdue, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Michigan State based on round-robin record.
8. Michigan (11 - 7) You can flip Wisconsin and Michigan depending on the outcome of their game against each other this weekend, so we can't get an 8-way tie.
So what is absolutely essential for Purdue to be involved in ANY tie scenario for the title?
- Purdue must finish 3-0
- Indiana must finish 0-3
- Iowa must finish 1-2, beating Indiana in the process
- Maryland must lose to Illinois, but beat Indiana while losing to Purdue
- Michigan State must lose at least one game.
That's it. The best Purdue can do is a 4-way tie with Maryland, Iowa, and Indiana. Most likely it would be a five-way tie, as it is unlikely Michigan State would drop two games to Rutgers, Penn State, and Ohio State. Given that Ohio State is the most likely team of those three to upset the Spartans it would make it at minimum a 6-way tie unless Michigan State loses to Rutgers and Penn State, but beats the Buckeyes (note, that is the ONLY 4-way tie scenario involving Purdue). It becomes 7 when you factor in the Michigan-Wisconsin winner. If Michigan wins that game it HAS to become a 6- or 7-way tie because their only remaining game is at home against Iowa, which they would have to win for it all to happen.
So basically we're relying on Illinois to become the scourge of the Big Ten's final week, an Iowa collapse (except for against Indiana), Maryland to become the first team in a year other than Indiana to win in Bloomington, and Michigan State to get upset, all while Purdue defends home court AND doesn't dicktrip at Nebraska.