After Indiana, jumbled pack in top half of Big Ten
MADISON, Wis. (AP) There is a logjam after first-place Indiana in the upper half of the Big Ten.
Michigan State, Maryland and Wisconsin are 12-5 in conference and tied for second place. Other teams are lurking one game behind.
That sets up a scramble going into the final weekend of the regular season to round out the rest of the top 4 behind the champion Hoosiers. The Spartans and Badgers are looking to join the Terps in locking up coveted double byes.
Not that Wisconsin guard Zak Showalter is looking beyond the Badgers' regular-season finale on Sunday at No. 15 Purdue anyway.
''I honestly don't know what could happen in this next game. You just want to win every game, treat it like it's your last game,'' Showalter said Friday after practice.
It's possible that the Big Ten could have a six-way tie for second place at 12-6, which the conference said would be a first. There was a four-way tie for second place at 11-7 in 1982-83.
Time to break out those tiebreaker rules if that's the case to sort out conference seeding.
At least Maryland has already clinched a double bye, which allows squads to take the first two days off of the five-day conference tournament. It starts Wednesday in Indianapolis.
''It helps a lot. It helps us mentally. We don't have tremendous depth, we have good depth that's getting better,'' Terps coach Mark Turgeon said after beating Illinois on Thursday.
Just where the Terps are seeded will depend on what happens with Michigan State and Wisconsin, which can also clinch double byes with victories this weekend.
The Spartans host Ohio State on Saturday, while Wisconsin visits Purdue on Sunday evening.
Iowa, which goes to Michigan on Saturday, is 11-6 in conference like Purdue. The Hawkeyes and Boilermakers need victories and varying degrees of help to get a double bye.
The only teams locked into their seeds are first-place Indiana at the top, along with 13th-place Minnesota and last place Rutgers.
In between, schools are jockeying for position, especially in the upper half of the league, for the Big Ten Tournament and beyond.
''The Big Ten is a knock `em down, drag it out-type battle,'' Wisconsin interim coach Greg Gard said. ''That's what makes this league so fun. Makes it stressful, too, at the same time. It prepares you well for the NCAA Tournament play.''
AP College Basketball site: http://collegebasketball.ap.org/