4. Northwestern Wildcats - 12-4 (3-2)
The Wildcats had one of the tougher past two weeks in Big Ten Basketball play, playing three road opponents and Michigan State. They were able to split the games, beating the Spartans and Penn State, along with losses to ranked teams, Illinois and Wisconsin. The overall resume still looks fine, with an earlier win over Dayton looking better and better.
Up next for Northwestern are 3 home games in the next four, including Maryland. As long as they can beat the Terrapins, they won’t be able to hurt their resume. Outside of the Chicago State mishap earlier, this team has largely held serve, while holding on to its big win over Purdue.
3. Illinois Fighting Illini - 12-4 (3-2)
In the four games without leading scorer Terrence Shannon Jr., Illinois was able to get a split. Wins over Northwestern and Michigan State are very good, along with a close loss to Purdue and a surprise home setback to Maryland this past weekend. Marcus Domask had 26 points but they weren’t able to overcome a poor shooting night.
The good news for the Illini is that the schedule lightens up for the next couple of weeks, starting with Michigan and Maryland. They’ve shown they can be competitive while Shannon remains suspended, as long as Domask continues to put up big scoring outings.