There are only three weekends left of conference play. With that in mind, I pondered what the schedules looked like for each team coming down the stretch. Here's what I found (non-conference games are not listed).
@ Penn State
@ Penn State
@ Ohio State
@ Michigan State
On paper, it appears Minnesota has the easiest schedule amongst the conference leaders. Ohio State and Penn State would be the two programs with the most difficult slates left. The two teams are currently tied for third place in the Big Ten and conclude the season against each other at State College. Of the top six teams in the conference, only OSU finishes the season with two road series. Thus, I would give the nod to the Buckeyes as having the most difficult stretch run.
The Big Ten leaders, Michigan, don't have anything close to a cakewalk to repeating as regular season champions, either. All three of their remaining opponents would be in the conference tournament today.
The bottom four programs get no help for the schedule makers. All four -- Purdue, Michigan State, Indiana and Northwestern -- play two of their remaining three conference series in enemy territory.
I don't believe I'm breaking any news to suggest that Michigan and Minnesota are the only two programs with a chance of landing an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. Oh, I suppose OSU or PSU could win out and cause an eyebrow to be raised by the tournament committee, but I think everyone outside the Wolverines and Gophers are going to have to win the Big Ten tourney to go dancing.