Coral Gables, FL (Sports Network) - Riquna Williams and Stefanie Yderstrom
each scored 14 points as the 10th-ranked Miami-Florida Hurricanes extended
their winning streak to seven games with a 64-39 victory over Wake Forest.
Last weekend's Big Ten games did not bring any major surprises, as each game evolved according to our Full Court predictions.
Ohio State now stands alone in second place, at 6-1 in conference play, behind Purdue (7-0), the sole undefeated team in the league in conference action. How long those rankings will hold is up for grabs: Purdue has the toughest portion of its schedule ahead it, and among other formidable opponents remaining on the schedule, the Boilers play Ohio State in Columbus on February 12. Odds are that both teams will have at least one loss when that game rolls around.
Behind them, in third-place tie are a cluster of hot teams with five conference wins and two losses apiece. Penn State got off to a slow start in conference play but the Lady Lions have come on strong of late and now sit in the tie for third place with Nebraska and Michigan. Conversely, Nebraska seemed unstoppable in the early-going, but showed showed their Achilles' heel in blowout losses to Penn State and Ohio State. Huskers fans are hoping that last weekend's 64-49 home win over Minnesota has righted the ship. We'll all see if that's true on Thursday, when the Huskers meet a strong Hawkeyes team (3-4 in-conference, 11-9 overall) at home in Devaney Center.
Michigan has been a mixed bag, handing the Buckeyes their only loss of the season, then falling to Penn State and Michigan State on the road.
Speaking of Michigan State, the Spartans belong on the Not hot list, having lost their last three in a row. They cannot lose another game if they expect to get defend their regular-season conference crown from last season, and if they don't get things turned around pretty quickly, postseason hopes may be fading as well.
As far as the rest of the pack, Minnesota (3-4, 11-5) and Wisconsin (2-5, 6-13) are both well out of the title race, but both have shown recent signs of life in what has to be considered a building year. They could well prove to be spoilers for better situated Big Ten title hopefuls.
And Illinois? Anyone who watched their Cinderella run in last year's Big Ten tournament has got to be questioning whether the Illini will break out any time soon. They have yet to notch their first conference win, but their losses -- even in games against the league's elite teams -- have nearly all been close. Heading into last weekend, the Illini had lost their last five games (including one that went to overtime) by a combined total of just 18 points. Four of those Big Ten losses have come on the final possession or in overtime.
On Sunday, in front of a record crowd at Value City Arena, the Illini hung close for the better part of the first half, before falling behind by eight at the break. Though the Buckeyes extended their lead to as many as 12 points early in the second half, the Illini crawled their way back into it, tying the score at 76 apiece with a little over five minutes to go.
Sammy Prahalis took over, igniting a 20-8 Buckeyes run down the stretch to seal a 96-84 Ohio State victory. But the Illini have shown time and again that they are a team with pride, heart and talent who can stay on the floor with the best of the Big Ten. They are still missing the piece that will put them over the top and on the path to victory, but if they put the pieces together, they might surprise Michigan State on Thursday.
In fact, that is our Full Court call as the upset of the upcoming midweek Big Ten action.
Let's take a look at the rest of last week's action, the current standings, and our predictions for Thursday's midweek games.