Big Ten Road Test
The Illinois soccer team heads to the Hoosier state for matchups with Indiana and Purdue.
Illini Week in Review
Illinois earned a split last weekend in matchups with Ohio State and Penn State in Champaign. Friday's 1-0 win over Ohio State was a defensive battle, with Illinois getting a second half goal from Taylore Peterson for the victory. Sunday was a different story, as Illinois was caught flat-footed defensively against a dynamic Penn State attack that tallied three goals in the first half hour of play. By the time the home team regained their poise, it was too late against a high-pressure Penn State defense that yielded few quality chances. Final score 4-0 Penn State. Illinois is still in good shape in the Big Ten race at 2-1-0, and now 5-4-1 overall.
Big Ten Week in Review
Illinois 1 Ohio State 0
Iowa 1 Indiana 0
Michigan 1 Minnesota 0
Penn State 4 Northwestern 1
Purdue 2 Nebraska 1
Wisconsin 1 Michigan State 0
Penn State 4 Illinois 0
Iowa 3 Purdue 2
Michigan 3 Wisconsin 0
Minnesota 1 Michigan State 0
Nebraska 2 Indiana 1
Ohio State 2 Northwesern 0
Minnesota 3 Wisconsin 2
Penn State 3 Ohio State 0
Team of the Week: Penn State. The Nittany Lions were the preseason favorite to win the conference, but I wondered if their defense might let them down at times with several severe injuries to veteran back line players. The defense has been solid, and the offense outstanding, which puts the Nittany Lions head-and-shoulders above the rest of the conference (though Michigan may protest a bit).
Team of the Weak: Wisconsin. After a solid non-conference season, I thought that Paula Wilkins may have figured out how to live without several key players who left the team in the offseason. Back-to-back losses (giving up three goals in both) to Michigan and Minnesota could hurt when it comes to NCAA Tournament selection time.
To the Polls
Short on time this week, so here they are without comment:
What's on Tap
Missed the Thursday games this week for picks...they snuck up on me a bit. I went 9-3 in picking last weekend's Big Ten games...not bad, but not great. Here are my picks for tonight and Sunday's contests:
Illinois at Indiana. The Illini played well on Friday night, not so well on Sunday. With the week to get ready, I think the offense will get on track against the struggling Hoosiers.
Iowa at Michigan. The Wolverines had a great weekend, picking up wins at Minnesota and Wisconsin, while shutting out both opponents. Iowa has some firepower, but I like Michigan at home.
Nebraska at Michigan State. The Cornhuskers are a somewhat surprising 2-1 in the conference, and could be 3-0 if not for an overtime loss to Purdue. But Sparty has been good defensively so far this season, and I like them in East Lansing.
Northwestern at Purdue. I get to see the Boilermakers' new soccer complex on Sunday when they play the Illini. If they play half as well at the new place as the did at the old one, I think they'll get the win tonight.
Illinois at Purdue. I'm picking against the trend in this series, as the home team has dominated. But I'm not sure Purdue has the offensive firepower to get it done in this one.
Iowa at Michigan State. I'll take the Hawkeyes against a Michigan State team that struggles to score many goals.
Minnesota at Penn State. Until further notice, I'm not picking against the Nittany Lions.
Nebraska at Michigan. I didn't think the Wolverines would be 5-0 to start Big Ten play, but that's a very real possibility after this weekend.
Northwestern at Indiana. Which one of these squads picks up their first conference win? When in doubt, go with the home team.
Wisconsin at Ohio State. While the Badgers need this win more, I just don't think they're playing well enough to win in Columbus right now.
On the Air
Tim Ditman and I will have the game at Purdue live at noon central time on WDWS-AM in Champaign. Hope you can tune in.
Thanks for reading.