NCAAW Massive Ten: Mackenzie Holmes, Indiana Hoosiers have lofty objectives

Checking in on the groups within the Massive Ten:

Indiana is trying scary good heading into March. The Hoosiers have gained 13 video games in a row and aren’t exhibiting any indicators of stopping quickly.

They’re coming off of a convincing win over no. 12 Michigan, with their solely true take a look at remaining within the common season being towards Caitlin Clark and no. 7 Iowa. The Hoosiers took down Iowa at house on Feb. 9, so it is going to be attention-grabbing to see whether or not they can go into Iowa Metropolis and sweep the season sequence towards the Hawkeyes.

The showdown will probably be between two of the NCAA’s finest gamers, IU’s Mackenzie Holmes and Iowa’s Clark. IU-Iowa would be the marquee B1G matchup to spherical out the convention season. The 2 groups may meet within the Big Ten Tournament as properly.

Holmes is the sixth-leading scorer within the nation with 22.5 factors per sport. She dropped a career-high 33 factors on Feb. 13 towards Ohio State.

The Hoosiers are dominating on the proper time, and are a real menace to make a Remaining 4 run.

Syndication: The Herald-Times

Wealthy Janzaruk/Herald-Instances / USA TODAY NETWORK

No. 7 Iowa Hawkeyes (21-5, 13-2 Massive Ten, No. 2 seed ESPN’s Feb. 17 Bracketology)

The Hawks have the Massive Ten’s, and debatably the nation’s, finest participant in Caitlin Clark. She continues to amaze evening after evening, averaging 27.2 factors per sport, solely behind Villanova’s Maddy Siegrist.

The areas on the ground that Clark is assured in capturing from are dazzling, which shouldn’t come as a shock any longer for this yr’s Picket Award candidate. This isn’t regular, and the way simple Clark makes photographs from distance look is unbelievable.

After dropping to Indiana, Iowa rattled off two wins in a row by blowing out each Rutgers and Wisconsin. They’ll have one other alternative to safe a convention win on Saturday towards Nebraska, earlier than rounding out the common season with two powerful assessments towards Maryland and IU.

No. 8 Maryland Terrapins (21-5, 12-3 Massive Ten, No. 2 seed in ESPN’s Feb. 17 Bracketology)

Maryland is fortunate to have one other one of many NCAA’s finest gamers, Diamond Miller, swimsuit up for it every sport.

The Terps are firmly within the higher echelon of the convention, in addition to the nation. They will attempt to dethrone Iowa for the second seed within the Massive Ten heading into match play. Nonetheless, to try this, they’ll should beat the Hawkeyes subsequent Tuesday.

Within the first matchup with Iowa, Miller shined with 27 factors and 6 rebounds. Shyanne Sellers added 26 factors and 6 rebounds of her personal. The offensive energy was there for the Terps.

To drag out a win within the upcoming matchup, they’ll have to do all the pieces that they will to decelerate Clark, who scored an unbelievable 42 factors to associate with eight assists and 7 rebounds within the first sport. Iowa heart Monika Czinano scored 28 factors, so the Terps might want to make sure that they’ve assist protection within the paint after making an attempt to cease Clark on the perimeter.

After Iowa, Maryland has one other powerful take a look at to spherical out the season, towards no. 13 Ohio State. They blew out the Buckeyes at house in early February, and can look to do the identical to complete the common season sturdy in Columbus.

Syndication: HawkCentral

Maryland’s Diamond Miller
Joseph Cress/Iowa Metropolis Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK

No. 12 Michigan Wolverines (20-6, 10-5 Massive Ten, No. 3 seed in ESPN’s Feb. 17 Bracketology)

The Wolverines have been taking part in properly as of late, outdoors of matchups towards the convention’s top-tier groups. They’ve but to beat any of the aforementioned convention powers this season.

Their solely remaining alternative to beat a convention energy will come on Feb. 20, at house towards rival Ohio State. The Buckeyes beat Michigan in Columbus earlier this season, so the Wolverines will search for revenge in Ann Arbor.

To beat OSU, the UM massive three of Leigha Brown, Emily Kiser and Laila Phelia might want to impress. The trio all common 15 or extra factors per sport, whereas nobody else on the roster averages greater than eight.

Particularly, Brown continues to attain in bunches. If she will put collectively a giant sport, Michigan has an awesome shot to beat Ohio State.

No. 13 Ohio State Buckeyes (22-5, 11-5 Massive Ten, No. 6 seed in ESPN’s Feb. 17 Bracketology)

The Buckeyes have hit a little bit of a tough patch. As soon as in No. 1 seed consideration, OSU has misplaced 5 of their previous eight video games.

This has been a bit resulting from a troublesome schedule, catching Indiana twice, in addition to Maryland and Iowa throughout the previous month. They spherical out their common season with video games towards Michigan and Maryland, making an attempt to proper the ship and push themselves up the bracket.

OSU’s main scorer Taylor Mikesell must be the driving pressure to get wins heading into postseason play. Some nights she’s on from the sector, whereas others take a bit to seek out rhythm. On Feb. 8 towards Minnesota, Mikesell went 6-of-6 from three and scored 24 factors in a win. If she will shoot even near that degree, the Buckeyes can get again on observe.

Cotie McMahon and Taylor Thierry have additionally performed properly as of late, serving to take some strain off of Mikesell. However, the group nonetheless wants their fifth-year senior scorer to be on heading into crunch time.

Illinois Fighting Illini (19-7, 9-6 Massive Ten, No. 9 seed in ESPN’s Feb. 17 Bracketology)

Illinois has been taking part in first rate as of late. They’re dealing with mid-tier groups within the convention on most nights, whereas struggling towards the highest of the convention, as anticipated.

The Illini’s finest win of the season got here on New Yr’s Day, once they beat Caitlin Clark and Iowa 90-86 in a thriller. Clark scored 32 factors, which nonetheless wasn’t sufficient to beat the Illini.

At their finest, Illinois has a balanced scoring method from Makira Cook dinner, Genesis Bryant, Adalia McKenzie and Kendall Bostic.

Cook dinner leads the group in scoring at 18.4 factors per sport, with all 4 gamers averaging 10 or extra. To notice, Bryant is capturing 43.9 p.c from three. Loopy effectivity from the junior guard.

Illinois will spherical out the common season with three winnable video games, towards Penn State, Nebraska and Rutgers.

Purdue Boilermakers (17-7, 8-6 Massive Ten, “final 4 byes” in ESPN’s Feb. 17 Bracketology)

Purdue has gained 5 of its final six video games, solely dropping to Indiana, whereas beating each Ohio State and Illinois.

The Boilermakers run into Indiana once more on Sunday in Bloomington, which will definitely be a troublesome sport to win. They’ll spherical out the common season towards Penn State and Minnesota to attempt to hit the 10-win mark in convention play.

Purdue might want to lean on the trio of Lasha Petree, Abbey Ellis and Caitlyn Harper to proceed its successful methods and make some noise within the postseason.

Nebraska Cornhuskers (14-12, 6-9 Massive Ten, “first group out” in ESPN’s Feb. 17 Bracketology)

Nebraska has dropped three in a row heading into a troublesome matchup towards Iowa on Saturday. They’ll should play Illinois on the highway earlier than coming again house to tackle Northwestern of their remaining common season sport.

To maintain their identify in consideration for the committee, I’d assume that they would wish to win two of their three remaining common season video games. The matchup in Illinois is the swing sport for the Huskers, as it could go both means. If they will discover a option to beat the Illini, after which have an honest exhibiting within the Massive Ten Match, I’d anticipate Nebraska to be properly throughout the discipline of 68.

Huskers junior guard Jaz Shelley deserves a ton of reward. As of late, she’s been a triple-double menace every time she steps out onto the ground. She additionally dropped a whopping 37 factors off of seven made 3-pointers in a troublesome loss at Minnesota.

Michigan State Spartans (13-12, 5-9 Massive Ten, No. 48 within the NET rankings)

The Spartans have gained their final two video games, together with an extra time victory over Penn State. They may play Maryland at house earlier than video games towards Minnesota and PSU to complete out the common season.

MSU’s two main scorers, Kamaria McDaniel and Matilda Ekh, have been taking part in properly as of late. McDaniel dropped 29 in a win over Wisconsin whereas Ekh put up 21 within the OT win towards the Girl Lions.

The playmaking capability of sophomore guard Deedee Hagemann continues to shine. She has led the group in assists in every of their final six video games, averaging 4.8 dimes on the season. Hagemann has proven regular enchancment because the season has carried on, a shiny level for the Spartans this season.

Penn State Lady Lions (13-13, 4-11 Massive Ten, No. 85 within the NET rankings)

Penn State has solely gained two of their final 10 video games. Not a great option to undergo the convention slate. They go to Illinois and Purdue earlier than coming house to complete the common season towards Michigan State.

Makenna Marisa continues to be excellent for the Girl Lions. She leads the group in each scoring and assists, averaging 18.2 factors, which is sweet for thirty eighth within the nation. Marisa has scored 22 or extra factors in 4 of Penn State’s final seven video games, whereas nonetheless discovering her teammates and serving to out on the glass.

Freshman Shay Ciezki has additionally been good for PSU, capturing at 40 p.c from three on shut to 5 makes an attempt per sport. Ciezki helps house the ground for Marisa, offering a continuing menace on the perimeter.

The duo will attempt to assist Penn State end sturdy in an in any other case disappointing Massive Ten season.

Syndication: HawkCentral

Penn State guard Makenna Marisa
Joseph Cress/Iowa Metropolis Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK

Minnesota Golden Gophers (10-16, 3-12 Massive Ten, No. 107 within the NET rankings)

The Gophers haven’t had a convention season to put in writing house about, both. They’ve dropped 11 of their final 13 video games, struggling to discover a rhythm in Massive Ten play.

Minnesota might have a possibility to discover a win or two of their remaining three video games of the common season. They play Northwestern and Michigan State on the highway, previous to ending the season at house towards Purdue.

A shiny spot for Minnesota has been the play of sophomore ahead Alanna Micheaux. She is averaging 14.2 factors and eight.1 rebounds per sport, a menace to seize double-digit boards in any sport.

Freshman guard Mara Braun is the group’s main scorer, averaging 15.3 factors per sport. She’s had sturdy showings in her final three video games, together with a 27-point, seven-rebound efficiency in a win over Nebraska.

Though this season hasn’t been something particular for the Gophers, they’ve a younger duo budding within the Massive Ten.

Northwestern Wildcats (8-18, 1-14 Massive Ten, No. 126 within the NET rankings)

Northwestern has had a troublesome go in B1G play. They’ve misplaced 5 in a row, and solely have one convention win this season. That got here on Jan. 29 towards Wisconsin due to an awesome efficiency from Paige Mott with 23 factors and 9 rebounds.

The Wildcats play Wisconsin once more earlier than the tip of the season, which will probably be a possibility to get one other convention win within the books. They can even go up towards Minnesota. So two winnable video games for Northwestern of their remaining three common season video games.

Wisconsin Badgers (8-19, 3-12 Massive Ten, No. 130 within the NET rankings)

Wisconsin has discovered a handful of convention wins, two coming towards Minnesota and one towards Michigan State. Two of their Massive Ten victories got here in extra time battles, which helps an in any other case struggling group discover some momentum in successful shut matchups.

Julie Pospisilova has been good for the Badgers as of late. The 6-foot senior guard from the Czech Republic has scored 15 or extra factors in every of the group’s final 4 video games, together with two 22-point performances, which got here towards Michigan State and Minnesota.

The Badgers have a good remaining schedule, drawing each Rutgers and Northwestern in two of their remaining three video games. If Pospisilova can proceed her magic, Wisconsin could possibly discover at the least another convention win.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights (11-16, 5-10 Massive Ten, No. 151 within the NET rankings)

Though the Scarlet Knights are towards the underside of the convention, they’ve had an honest season. They’re coming off of a win towards Northwestern and now head right into a sport towards Wisconsin on Monday.

Rutgers is the lowest-ranked Massive Ten group within the NET rankings. Nonetheless, I’m not so positive that they’re the convention’s worst group. They’ve performed properly and located a option to win video games towards the non-contenders of the convention.

Freshman ahead Kaylene Smikle is having an awesome season. She’s averaging 17.6 factors per sport, which is 54th within the nation, and performs properly towards the highest groups within the Massive Ten. Not too long ago, Smikle dropped 28 factors in a loss towards Iowa, additionally recording 5 rebounds and 5 steals. She additionally recorded 29 factors and 9 rebounds earlier this season towards Maryland. The Scarlet Knights have their major participant to enhance round within the Massive Ten by upcoming seasons.