IU only has two road games left where you’d make them an underdog…at MSU and at Iowa. Now, they also host Iowa, Maryland and Purdue and all of those would be potentially problematic games as well, but still…in Assembly Hall, you’d expect them to find a way to win.
If that were to hold up and IU just loses those two road games I mentioned and no others, they’d be 15-3. Could put them right there with Iowa, who has road games left at IU and Michigan (the two most likely losses remaining for them, and with Michigan…man, who knows?). Maryland has two losses already and road games left at IU and at Purdue…hard for me to see Iowa finish with 4 losses but stranger things have happened.
Two big, big games on Saturday. MSU at Michigan is obviously one and then Purdue at Maryland is the other. All but Maryland are probably out of the title race but all are still very much alive for top 4 finishes. If either or both of MSU and Purdue could get a road win, that would be massive for those teams.
As for Michigan, I think this one has to hit the internal confidence meter hard. The Levert situation has been bizarre beyond belief. Beilein has been quoted as saying that it’s “up to him” when he returns but that he also doesn’t expect him soon. What does that mean? Is the kid sitting out because he doesn’t want to risk further injury? Is Beilein masking the severity of the situation? M had a great first half of conference play in large part due to the schedule. Now they’re facing quality opposition and tonight showed some problems. Now every team, game and matchup is different, but they have to be wondering what they really are, especially with Levert seemingly an endless question mark. The schedule is tougher than it was but it’s really not *that* brutal on paper…road games at Maryland, WIsconsin, OSU and Minnesota…I figure they go at least 2-2 through those. They do have MSU, Purdue and Iowa in A2 and that’s really where the rubber hits the road, I think. Tonight suggests those teams can feel they have a shot at Crisler. Lose all three plus two of the road games and you’re looking at a 10-8 Big Ten season. I’ll admit, I was surprised just how bad they were in all respects tonight…thought they’d improved more than that.