Super Tuesday took place yesterday but it had nothing to do with politics and everything to do with the Illinois basketball team.
Traditionally, Super Tuesday is a day where political pundits jabber about which politician will win what state and what that means for that particular political party. While that version of Super Tuesday happened yesterday, a better version happened in the Big Ten.
The fight for the top of the regular-season Big Ten standings is what is at stake right now, and the games on Tuesday made things a little clearer. Michigan State’s win over Penn State knocked the Nittany Lions out of contention, but the Spartans are still alive. Purdue upsetting Iowa on the road knocked the Hawkeyes out of the race as well.
But the big game of the night was Maryland falling to Rutgers. This isn’t a huge surprise because it was on the road, but the Terrapins had a chance to almost put away the regular-season Big Ten. They had a chance to make it extremely difficult for anyone to catch them. With this loss, it is still a four-team race for the Big Ten crown heading into the next five days.
How can Illinois navigate their way to a regular-season Big Ten championship?
First off, we have to win our final two games. We travel to No. 19 Ohio State on Thursday. The final game of the season is on Sunday against No. 18 Iowa in Champaign. Both of these games are extremely difficult, but they are also winnable.
Illinois then needs Maryland to lose to No. 25 Michigan on Sunday. That isn’t a stretch by any means. At the same time, Michigan State also needs to fall on Sunday. They play No. 19 Ohio State to finish out their regular season. Finally, Wisconsin would just need to lose to either Northwestern at home or Indiana on the road. One of those losses could easily happen.
So, if Illinois can knock off Ohio State on Thursday, we are going to be talking about a Super Sunday instead of a Super Tuesday. Wisconsin could lose on Saturday and then it would be a three-team battle on Sunday to see who wins the conference. This is what March is all about.