Sunday, February 10, 2008

Big East, Big 10 Tighten Up

Two critical games were played in two of the nation's top conferences Saturday and the results tighten the races for their respective titles.

In the Big East, Louisville defeated Georgetown, 59-51 to create a four-team log jam atop the division. Georgetown still leads with a 9-2 record, but 8-2 Notre Dame, Louisville (8-3) and Connecticut (7-3) are in the mix. With 7 or 8 games remaining for each squad - some against each other - the Big East is certainly up for grabs, setting up a thrilling finish to the regular season and a highly anticipated post-season tournament.

The same applies in the Big 10, where unheralded Purdue knocked off Wisconsin for the second time this season, 72-67. The Boilermakers got 21 points from freshman swingman Robbie Hummel on Saturday and lead the conference at 10-1, followed by Indiana (9-1), Wisconsin (9-2) and Michigan State (8-2).

Purdue hosts Michigan St. on Tuesday (Feb. 12) and, after a trip to Northwestern, stays on the road to play Indiana on Feb. 19. Those two games may go a long way toward deciding the conference and whether Purdue will have any staying power when the competition ratchets up in March.

On Sunday, the Hoosiers downed Illinois, 59-53, getting 21 points from power forward D. J. White, but have a testy slate of games just ahead. Indiana hosts the top three contenders in the conference in consecutive games. Wisconsin comes calling on Feb. 13, followed by Michigan St. on the 16th and then Purdue on the 19th. A sweep would give the Hoosiers serious bragging rights, though that's hardly a done deal. Wisconsin already has a win over Indiana, Purdue leads the conference and Michigan State can run with anyone.

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