Indiana won't be the No. 1 team in the country after a loss to Minnesota, but the Hoosiers clinched at least a share of the Big Ten regular season title on Sunday with some help from Michigan.
The Hoosiers' three losses in conference play have gotten a lot of hype, with Indiana pulling off the improbable feat of losing three times as the top-ranked team in the country. But they got to that top spot by winning a whole lot of games in a league that's been head and shoulders above any other conference in the country. They're 13-3 after beating Iowa on Saturday, and with Michigan edging Michigan State on Sunday behind 21 points, 8 assists, and several huge defensive stops from Trey Burke, Indiana will be the top team in the standings even if they lose out.
It's Indiana's first regular season conference championship since the 2002 team led by Jared Jeffries that ended up in the National Championship game. Before that, they hadn't won the conference since 1993, back when Bobby Knight was head coach.
That said, losing out is a distinct possibility. Next up for the Hoosiers is Ohio State, then they head to Ann Arbor to take on Michigan. A win in either game will seal sole possession of the No. 1 spot in the conference for the Hoosiers.
With Indiana in the top spot, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, and Wisconsin are all tied for second place. There will be some serious jockeying in those spots as the season closes, as the team that ends up fifth out of those will have to play an additional game in the Big Ten Tournament. Sure, that game will be against Penn State, but the Nittany Lions finally showed they could win a game in conference play - and it was against Michigan, one of the least likely results of the college basketball season. The other seven teams in the conference are all statistically eliminated from being able to get a bye.
The Big Ten Tournament is going to be an absolute doozy. Pretty much every match-up between teams at the top of the Big Ten has been as good as promised so far this season, and we can forward to more of the same in Indianapolis.