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A struggle for first


Illinois' Bill Cole pulls a defensive rebound from Wisonsin's Jason Bohannon during last night's game. The Illini won at the Kohl Center, 63-56, the first time ever Bo Ryan's Badgers were defeated by an unranked Big Ten opponent at home. (AP Photo/Andy Manis)

In case you didn't know, there were two pretty important basketball games played last night in regards to the regular season Big Ten championship.

Purdue somehow made it up to East Lansing (have you heard about the weather tearing through the Midwest?) and won their first game in the Breslin Center since 1998. With an all-around dominant first-half performance, along with the Spartans' Kalen Lucas nowhere near 100 percent healthy, the Boilers moved to within a 1/2 game of first place in the conference.

The game played before that was just as important, if not more.

Illiinois did something that no other Big Ten team has been able to do to Wisconsin since Bo Ryan first arrived in Madison in 2001 - go into the Kohl Center unranked and beat the Badgers. Up until last night, Ryan was an absolutely ridiculous 50-0 against unranked Big Ten foes at home. The 63-56 win, coupled with Michigan State's loss to Purdue, vaulted the Illini into a share of first place.

Here's a look at the current standings:

#10 Michigan State 9-3 19-6
Illinois 9-3 17-8
#6 Purdue 8-3 20-3
#16 Ohio State 8-3 18-6
#13 Wisconsin 8-4 18-6
Minnesota 5-5 14-8
Northwestern 5-6 16-7
Michigan 4-7 11-12
Indiana 3-7 9-13
Iowa 2-9 8-16
Penn State 0-11 8-15


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