IU started off the week with a showdown in the Carrier Dome with Syracuse. The Hoosiers, who are currently third in the nations in rebounds per game, were supposed to have the edge on the glass but the ended up tying the Orange in boards with 29. Indiana struggled with the 2-3 zone yet again, hitting only 36.6% of their shots, en route to a 69-52 loss to Syracuse. JustAJ over at The Crimson Quarry noted that as good as the Crimson and Cream looked for stretches in the first half (the Hoosiers came back from two early deficits an briefly led in the first 30 minutes), the team's youth and inexperience were readily apparent in the second half. Indiana rebounded with an 89-68 win over North Florida on Saturday.
The Hoosiers return to action Tuesday when they host Oakland and then travel to Indianapolis where htey will face Notre Dame in the Crossroads Classic.
Despite allowing the visiting Irish to shoot a 51.5% from the field and 47.1% from three, the Hawkeyes managed to defeat Notre Dame 98-93. The Hawkeyes then traveled to Des Moines where they defeated in-state rival Drake 83-66. The Bulldogs hit seven of their first 11 three point attempts to put a scare into the Hawkeyes but Iowa ended the first half on a 10-0 run and pushed the lead to as much as 22 in the second half. The win means Iowa and Iowa State will both likely be ranked when they meet since 1987.
Before traveling to Ames to take on the Cyclones the Hawkeyes host Farleigh Dickinson.
Michigan started off the week with a loss, falling 79-69 in Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Wolverines missed 17 of their first 21 shots and never quite recovered against a Duke team that was looking to recover from its second high profile loss this season. Big Blue rebounded with a feel-good 107-53 win over Houston Baptist but it is looking more and more like Michigan is going to struggle this year as they try to find replacements for Trey Burke for Tim Hardaway Jr.
The Wolverines have a chance to make a non-conference statement again this weekend. They host #2 Arizona (likely to be #1 when they arrive in Ann Arbor on Saturday).
Michigan State (7-1)
Tom Izzo's side was banged up and unable to match the physicality of the Tar Heels in their lone loss last week to North Carolina by a score of 79-65. Adrein Payne seemed to be suffering from cramps and Gary Harris is currently out indefinetly after re-aggravating a previous right ankle injury. The way the MSU bench played (only 17 points combined between Kaminski, Trice, Valentine, and Costello) was depressing in the wake of the injuries to Payne and Harris and is leading me to question how good this team really is. The season is far from over and it was only one game and I still think a healthy Sparty is a legitimate Final Four contender, but file that performance away going forward as it may be something we come back to if front court depth continues to be an issue in Big Ten play.
This Saturday MSU looks to redeem itself with a road trip to face Oakland.
The Gophers roved me wrong this week as they knocked off Florida State in the Barn as part of the B1G/ACC Challenge. Minnesota forced 17 turnovers en route to a 71-61 victory over the Noles which kept the B1G alive on a rough first challenge day. They followed that up with an 80-65 victory over the New Orleans on Saturday. Despite the poor showing in Maui the Gophers have surprised so far this season. Assuming they can finish off the rest of their non-conference slate without a disappointing loss this team is setting itself up for an NIT run at the very least.
Minnesota is back in action Tuesday against South Dakota State in Williams Arena.
The Huskers started the weekend with a solid 60-49 win over Miami at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Nebraska held Miami to 32% shooting from the field during the game which far enough below Big Red's own poor shooting percentage (39.1%) to eek out an ugly victory. They followed that up with a trip to Omaha to take on in-state rival Creighton. The Blue Jays handed out a 38-8 beat down before the under eight minute timeout before cruising to an 82-67 victory over the Cornhuskers. Doug McDermott tacked on 33 points to lead Creighton while Shavon Shields and Terran Petteway led the Huskers with 22 and 21 points respectively.
Nebraska returns to Pinnacle Bank Arena on Saturday when they host Arkansas State.
The Cats traveled to Raleigh for their B1G/ACC Challenge game where they lost to NC State 69-48. Chris Collins' first return to North Carolina since leaving Duke to become the head man at Northwestern was highlighted by Wolfpack forward T.J. Warren dropping 22 points on his team. The purple and the white rebounded on Saturday with a 51-35 win over Western Michigan. In one of my previous posts I noted that the worst combined record between football and basketball during the 18 year history of Northwestern athletics was 8 wins and that the second worst record was 14 wins. Right now the Cats are at 10 combined wins with three more non-conference games left. It seems reasonable that, barring a disastrous B1G campaign, that this would only be the third or fourth worst year for NW athletics in the last 18 years.
Ohio State (8-0)
Thad Matta's squad continued their strong start this week, blasting Maryland 76-60 in the B1G/ACC Challenge and then downing Central Connecticut State 74-56. LaQuinton Ross asserted himself nicely this week, scoring 20 points against the Terrapins and 23 points against the Huskies. Ohio State is #1 team in the nation in Adjusted Defense according to Ken Pom as well, so at least one team in Columbus that remembers how to play defense. The Buckeyes host Bryan on Wednesday before taking on North Dakota State on Saturday.
Penn State (7-3)
The Boilermakers tarted the week off with a crucial win for the conference as they knocked off Boston College 88-67. Purdue shot 52.2% from the field and 50% from three point range en route to a 49-34 half time lead which they would never relinquish. The Boilers continued their winning ways on Saturday with a 69-64 victory over Eastern Michigan on Saturday. Matt Painter started four freshmen in the game, the first time that has happened in West Lafayette since the baby Boilers.
Purdue will play again on Saturday when they travel to Indianapolis for the Crossroads Classic where they will face Butler.
Wisconsin remains perhaps the most impressive team early on this season. They traveled to Virginia as part of the B1G/ACC Challenge and knocked off the Hoos 48-38. The Badgers followed that up with a 70-64 home victory over hated rival Marquette on Saturday. As of now Bo Ryan's team has knocked off Saint John's, Florida, Saint Louis, Marquette, Virginia, and West Virginia, giving them one of the most impressive non conference resumes in the country.
Wisconsin's non conference slate continues with a Wednesday home date with Milwaukee before the Badgers host Eastern Kentucky on Saturday.