The madness hasn't officially begun. But when it does, it will look a lot like this season already has, especially in the Big Ten.
Ohio State's win at Indiana on Tuesday again showed the depth of the Big Ten while also revealing the lack of a true powerhouse at the top of the rankings. Pick a week and some team or another looks unbeatable, but over the course of a month no team comes across that way.
What Indiana showed is that it can be beaten with physical play inside and a hounding defense on the perimeter. Or when its best players get in foul trouble. Of course, not everyone has a team capable of doing that to the Hoosiers. But Minnesota did (on its homecourt) and Ohio State did (on Senior Day no less).
But the win perhaps says more about Ohio State. The Buckeyes, a Final Four team a year ago, mostly have stayed out of the conversation about elite teams this season. Part of that is their own fault: they played well but lost at Duke, they played well but lost at Michigan and they lost to Kansas at home.
However, they had beaten Michigan, Michigan State and Wisconsin at home. They've now added a quality road win. The Buckeyes have their flaws, mostly the lack of a consistent second scorer. But they play terrific defense, have an excellent scorer and are experienced. On Tuesday, they went from a tough out to a dangerous team.
Just keep in mind: Next week might bring something different.
- John Keim