Another wild weekend in the Big Ten, huh guys? Michigan beat Michigan State! How did that happen? My head is still spinning after the Spartans appeared to control the game for the first 30 minutes, only to see Michigan's shooting powers win the day. Meanwhile, Minnesota got tripped up in what is quickly becoming one of the toughest Big Ten courts for visitors to play on, and Illinois continues to look like one of the worst three teams in the conference.
Michigan 80, Michigan State 75
A terrific performance from Gary Harris could not keep the Spartans from falling at home to the surging Wolverines. Harris poured in 27 points on 9-for-16 shooting while playing great ball denial defense on Nik Stauskas. The problem was that whenever Stauskas got the ball with even a little bit of space, he drained a three-point shot. The sophomore guard scored 19 points thanks to 5-for-6 three-point shooting to pace Michigan. That included a shot from beyond the arc to put the Wolverines up 63-60 with just over three minutes left.
It's tough to say that Michigan State would have had a better chance this game if Branden Dawson or Adreian Payne were playing. Matt Costello had a decent game with nine points and eight rebounds, and Gavin Schilling had a couple of nice blocks, but the rest of the Spartan front line struggled. If everyone was healthy (including UM's Mitch McGary), it's tough to imagine MSU getting beat 11-10 on the offensive boards, but that's what happened. The big win for the Wolverines puts them in first place in the Big Ten at 7-0.
Nebraska 82, Minnesota 78
Don't act so surprised that the Huskers upset Minnesota just a few days after they fell to Penn State on the road. Nebraska is now 9-1 in the brand new Pinnacle Bank Arena, with the only loss coming by one point to conference leader Michigan. It's still a disappointing result for the Gophers, who had to be feeling confident after a big home win over Wisconsin. They overcame an ankle injury to Andre Hollins in that game, and they appeared to overcome it again on Sunday. Hollins' starting lineup replacement Malik Smith tied a school record with eight three-point field goals on his way to a career-high-matching 29 points.
However, anything Smith could do, it appeared Nebraska's Terran Petteway could do better. The sophomore swingman scored 35 points for a career-high of his own on 10-for-15 shooting to pace a strong offensive output for the Huskers. The team shot 50 percent from three-point range and 50-percent overall.
Wisconsin 72, Purdue 58
After a sobering three-game losing streak, it didn't bode well for Wisconsin that head coach Bo Ryan fell ill during a crucial game in West Lafayette, but the Badgers were able to grind out a win over Purdue anyway. It certainly didn't hurt that A.J. Hammons was limited to two points and two rebounds in 12 minutes due to foul trouble. More importantly, Wiconsin's signature defense was back in mid-season form, as the Badgers held the Boilers to 35 percent shooting.
Wisconsin, meanwhile, saw all five of its starters score in double figures. Frank Kaminsky had 16 points and six rebounds in just 23 minutes, while Sam Dekker and Traevon Jackson scored 15 points each.
Indiana 56, Illinois 46
Just like the first game between Indiana and Illinois this season, Sunday's game turned into a battle between Rayvonte Rice and Yogi Ferrell. Rice was great with 20 points on 7-for-11 shooting, but his teammates were often dreadful. Freshman Jaylon Tate handed out all of the Illini's lowly five assists, while Joseph Bertrand and Tracy Abrams combined to shoot 2-for-15 from the field.
Ferrell scored 17 points while helping out his teammates with five assists to help Indiana pull away in the second half of a defensive-minded game. Noah Vonleh scored just four points despite grabbing three offensive rebounds and 14 overall. The win keeps the Hoosiers in the mix for an NCAA Tournament bid, while Illinois now appears relegated to a battle for the conference cellar after losing six straight games.
Iowa 76, Northwestern 50
Northwestern had won three of four games thanks to outstanding defense, but they were no match for an Iowa attack that is one of the best in the nation. Roy Devyn Marble scored 14 points for the Hawkeyes, who shot 52 percent from the floor. Mike Gesell handed out six assists to go with his 11 points, and Gabriel Olaseni pitched in 14 points and 10 boards off the bench.
Drew Crawford led all scorers with 20 points, but the Wildcats shot just 36 percent from the field and never had a lead during the game. The blowout allowed Fran McCaffery to get all 15 Iowa players on the floor.