Illinois (13-4, 2-2)
The Illini started off the week on the road in Madison where they were dispatched 95-70. They followed that up with a terrible, horrible, no good, really bad road trip to Evanston. Illinois scored 15 points in the first half against the Wildcats (for reference, their football team scored 17 points against the Cats during the first half, all in the second quarter, of their football game in Evanston this past November). Illinois would threaten late but the Orange and Blue would ultimately fall 49-43. The Illini shot 28.1% in the game and this statement from The Champaign Room really sums it all up
It ... can we just pretend that we didn't watch any of that? Because holy shit was it awful. You could have spent your Sunday evening learning a new skill, bettering yourself, or being around people you love. And literally all of those options would have been smarter decisions.
Illinois looks to bounce back Wednesday when they host Purdue and then the Illini can look forward to a Saturday home date with Michigan State to close out the week.
Indiana (11-5, 1-2)
IU notched their first conference win of the year on Saturday, knocking off Penn State 79-76. It certainly wasn't a pretty win for the Hoosiers, but overcoming a 15 point deficit on the road to notch a win in the Big Ten certainly isn't really worth getting upset about. Indiana will host Wisconsin on Super Tuesday before taking on Northwestern in Bloomington on Saturday.
Iowa (14-3, 3-1)
Fran McCaffery's sat out Iowa's 93-67 victory over Northwestern in Carver on Thursday after a league suspension for (we assume) bumping an official during the Hawkeyes' loss at Wisconsin. Franimal was back on the bench Sunday when the Hawks traveled to Columbus and he apparently learned nothing from his suspension as he was caught on video chest bumping his own players after their 84-74 victory over the Buckeyes. The Big Ten has yet to comment on the bump. The win was Iowa's first over a team ranked in the top five since they defeated Missouri in 2001 and, according to Ken Pomeroy's computer the Hawks are the #5 team in the country. They have a few days to celebrate their victory before they host Minnesota on Sunday.
Michigan (11-4, 3-0)
Big Blue had only one game this week but it was a tight one. The Wolverines made their road trip to Lincoln on Thursday and escaped with a victory by the slimmest of margins. Michigan was led by Glen Robinson III who notched 19 points in the win and all of the other starters managed to grab double digit point totals as well. Also of note, Mitch McGary went through successful back surgery on Tuesday but it is still unlikely he will return this season for the Wolverines. Up next for Michigan is a Tuesday tilt with the Nittany Lions in Ann Arbor before they travel to Madison for a Saturday showdown with the Badgers.
Michigan State (15-1, 4-0)
Sparty kicked the week off with a bang, knocking off the then undefeated Ohio State Buckeyes in overtime at the Breslin Center by a final score of 72-68. Graham wrote up a nice recap of that game here which you should certainly check out. Then on Saturday Izzo's squad took on Minnesota without star big man Adrien Payne. Michigan State would need overtime to do it but they managed to finish off the Gophers 87-75, outscoring the Gophers 16-4 in the overtime period. The Only Colors mentioned in their recap of the Minnesota game that Brandon Dawson is now having health issues so his status will be important to watch as the week progresses. Up next are back to back road trips to the state of Illinois. Sparty heads to Evanston on Wednesday and then to Champaign on Saturday.
Minnesota (13-4, 2-2)
Richard Pitino's crew had an up and down week, starting off with a 68-65 victory over Penn State in Happy Valley on Wednesday. The Gophers then headed to East Lansing where they lost the previously mentioned game to Michigan State. Frustration is (understandably) high for Minnesota fans right now after a missed opportunity to take down a top five team on the road
Big picture, this loss doesn't change anything for Minnesota. The Gophers aren't in a deeper hole and they aren't doomed. They are still in position to seize a spot on the bubble or even make the. They're still exciting to watch and I still think they'll steal a game they "shouldn't" this season.
However much like the Michigan game, it was a huge missed opportunity. It's crazy to consider, but the Gophers could very well be 4-0 in the B1G with a win over the #4 team in the country with only minor changes to how they played in both games. Sure, normal caveats about playing both teams while key players were out due to injury but reasonable expectations aside, it's hard not to be a little frustrated with that knowledge. Life of a fan I guess.
Minnesota has two more chances to knock off what will presumably be ranked foes as they host Ohio State on Thursday before traveling to Iowa City to take on the Hawkeyes Sunday.
Nebraska (8-8, 0-4)
Another rough week for Nebrasketball, as the Huskers dropped two tough games. The first was the previously mentioned loss to Michigan where the Huskers had the ball with over nine seconds to go and couldn't come away with a basket. That 71-70 defeat was followed by a trip to Mackey Arena and another gut wrenching loss.
The fateful stretch for the Huskers in this one began with 3:15 to go in the game. Trailing only by three 61-58, Shavon Shields was fouled on his way to the basket. He missed both free throws. They turned it over their next two possessions and saw the stretch capped with a wild off-balance three point attempt from Ray Gallegos that wasn’t within five feet of going in. The Boilermakers stretched their lead to six in that time and as much as 8 shortly thereafter. The Huskers never recovered
Tim Miles has an open week to regroup the team before taking on Ohio State at Pinnacle Bank Arena on January 20th.
Northwestern (8-9, 1-3)
The week started out with a loss to Iowa but things improved substantially for Northwestern on Sunday night. It may have been a game so ugly that replays will likely replace water boarding as the preferred interrogation tactic of the CIA, and it may have been played in incredibly ugly uniforms covered in clip art, but it was still a win. So what if it barely qualified as basketball, Northwestern finally broke through with a big win for Chris Collins.
I thought there was a legitimate possibility NU would go 0-18 this year. We might still go 1-17. But we won a damn game. We won a damn game, and we won it against a ranked team -- a ranked team that happens to be a "rival" or something. A team that, um, might be on the tourney bubble come March, and might not want to have a loss to an impressively bad Northwestern basketball team on their
Northwestern will never have the program that Illinois does in basketball. They'll probably never get the Chicago recruits Illinois swims in. Hell, they may never make the NCAA Tournament.
But, still, Northwestern is 5-4 against Illinois since 2009, and that's damn funny.
The game was horrible and Northwestern caught some breaks, but it says a lot that after a brutal start to the season the Wildcats are still fighting. This is still a throw away, building season for Northwestern, but that doesn't mean that they can't grab a couple more wins anyway. Up next is a home date with Michigan State on Wednesday and a Saturday trip to Bloomington, so let's see what the Cats can do now with a little momentum.
Ohio State (15-2, 2-2)
The Buckeyes came into this week undefeated and looking to grab an early lead in the Big Ten title race. They came out with only the programs third two game losing streak in five years. The first loss was the overtime defeat in East Lansing where the Buckeyes rallied with a 20-3 run at the end of regulation to force the extra period. The Bucks came up just short in overtime but a home date with the Hawkeyes, who hadn't won in Columbus since 2004 and were on an eight game losing streak to the Scarlet and Gray, looked like a good chance to right the ship. However, 17 turnovers and Aaron Craft's first foul out of the season left Ohio State with even more questions than answers. Still, for as bad as this week was, there is still time for the Buckeyes to adjust and to take home another conference title. They have a trip to Iowa City and a home date against Michigan State left on the schedule and this Ohio State team is going to be gunning for revenge in both contests. Next on the slate though is a Thursday road trip to Minnesota.
Penn State (9-8, 0-4)
Another week another couple of tough losses for Pat Chambers and company. The first was a 68-65 loss to Minnesota where the NIttany Lions held a five point lead late before collapsing. The second occured on Saturday when, while the nation was learning of the hiring of James Franklin, Penn State stormed out to a 15 point lead early in the game before the Hoosiers came back and eventually won 79-76. At some point Penn State has to win one of these right? I mean, Penn State has been competitive for at least a while in every game they have played this year so you would think they would be able to pull it off. On the docket this week are two road trips, the first on Tuesday to Michigan and the second on Saturday to Purdue.
Purdue (11-5, 1-2)
The Boilermakers grabbed their first win of the season on Sunday in Mackey Arena, knocking off Nebraska 70-64. It wasn't pretty, but getting that first win in conference play is still big, particularly when it breaks this ignominious streak:
The Purdue men's basketball team became the first of the University's football and basketball teams to record a conference win of the 2013-14
On Wednesday Purdue travels to Illinois and then on Saturday the Boilers host the Nittany Lions.
Wisconsin (16-0, 3-0)
The Badgers made history on Wednesday night, moving to 16-0 for the first time in program history with a 95-70 drubbing of Illinois in the Kohl Center. The win was the largest margin of victory by Wisconsin over a ranked team ever (which, in retrospect, really just seems to underscore how undeserving Illinois was of their ranking) and Ben Brust continued his scoring streak from the Iowa game, notching 18 points for the Badgers. Wisconsin travels to Bloomington for Super Tuesday before returning home to face Michigan on Saturday.