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B1G Basketball Week in Review (Dec. 9-15)

The Big Ten basketball slate featured more intra-state rivalries this weekend and overall it wasn't very pretty. The conference season starts in a few short weeks and there are only a few more opportunities for the Big Ten to assert itself on a national stage.

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Indiana (8-3)

Tom Crean's squad started off the past week with an 81-54 victory over Oakland. Transfer Evan Gordon poured in 26 points to lead the Hoosiers in the win. They then traveled to Indianapolis to face Notre Dame in the Crossroads Classic. The Irish used a 15-2 run in the first half to take the lead which they would never relinquish. Despite cutting the lead to one several times in the second half Indiana was defeated by Notre Dame 79-72.

The Crimson and Cream finish up their non conference slate this week with home games against Nicholls State on Friday and Kennesaw State on Sunday.

Illinois (9-2)

Illinois tarted the week off with a victory over Dartmouth which the good folks over at the Champaign Room labeled as the "worst game we never saw". The Orange and Blue were never really threatened and the final 72-65 margin was closer than the actually felt, but it is still unnerving to see the Illini getting single digit victories over teams like Dartmouth. The schedule difficulty increased dramatically over the weekend as Illinois traveled to Eugene to take on 15th ranked Oregon. The Illini battled hard, leading by as much as nine in the second half, before ultimately falling to the Ducks 71-64.

Up next for Illinois is a trip to the Scottrade Center in St. Louis where they will face the 24th ranked, and undefeated, Missouri Tigers.

Iowa (10-2)

The Hawkeyes started off the week with a 92-59 victory over Farleigh Dickinson before traveling to Ames for their showdown with the Cyclones. Iowa led for most of the game before a late rally by Iowa State, a pair of missed free throws by Mike Gessel, and a missed three point shot by Zach McCabe spelled doom for the Hawkeyes in Hilton. The final score was 85-82 and, even though ISU failed to cover the spread at home against a team they were ranked higher than, their students stormed the court for the second time against a B1G team this year. Court storming is always a contentious topic and there are sure to be debates in the comments section but, considering that this is Iowa State and several of those students will spend the rest of their lives inseminating farm animals and sweeping up shit, I think we should just let them have their moment. Their team played a good game and they earned it.

Iowa is off for this week for finals.

Michigan (6-4)

The Wolverines only played one game this weekend it was in Ann Arbor against top ranked Arizona. Michigan led by 11 in the second half but the Wildcats rallied, as junior guard Nick Johnson made six free throws in the closing seconds to lead Arizona to a 72-70 victory. Arizona worked Michigan over on the boards, grabbing 37 rebounds to the Wolverines' 24 and Mitch McGary was held in check with only eight points and four rebounds on the evening. Glen Robinson II seemed to single-handedly keep Michigan within reach, grabbing 20 points, but his effort just wasn't enough. There is nothing wrong with losing to a team like Arizona, particularly given the youth of this Michigan team and the health issues McGary has faced in the non-conference portion of the schedule. Still, at 6-4 it is hard not to feel a little disappointed in the Wolverines so far this season. None of their losses are completely terrible but the best win Michigan has so far this season is an overtime victory over the same Florida State team that Minnesota beat by 10. It seems a little silly to ask after a close loss to the top ranked team in the country, but could Michigan actually miss the tournament this year?

We'll learn more this Saturday as the Wolverines travel to New York to face Stanford in the Brooklyn Hoops Holiday Invitational.

Michigan State (8-1)

Tom Izzo's squad took a trip to Auburn HIlls this past weekend where they squared off against Oakland. Brandon Dawson and Adrien Payne led the way for the Green and White with a double double each as Sparty pushed passed the 2-9 Grizzlies by a final score of 67-63. Only five Spartans scored during the game as injuries and illnesses seem to have really worn this team thin. Michigan State hosts North Florida on Wednesday before traveling to Austin Saturday for a showdown with the Longhorns.

Minnesota (9-2)

Minnesota knocked off South Dakota State 75-59 this past week. Austin Hollins and Elliot Eliason both notched double doubles for the Gophers as Minnesota took a 36-28 lead into the half and extended it to as much as 15 in the second stanza. If there has been one pleasant surprise for the B1G in basketball this season so far, it has been Minnesota. Many, myself included, didn't think this team would be able to escape a term in the conference basement as they transition from Tubby Smith to Richard Pitino. However, Minnesota has proven resilient and the improved play of Eliason, along with the performance of Austin and Andre Hollin, has given this team a very realistic shot at a post season tournament.

Williams Arena will be the site of the Gophers only game this week, as they host the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

Nebraska (7-3)

Nebraska took on Arkansas State Saturday at Pinnacle Bank Arena. The Huskers used a few runs, including a 15-2 run to start the game and a 13-4 stretch later in the first half to enter intermission with a 50-27 lead. From there Big Red was able to cruise to a 79-67 victory. Walter Pitchford recorded a double double and Shavon Shields led the Huskers in scoring with 15 points. Nebraska will take on The Citadel this Saturday in Lincoln.

Northwestern (5-5)

Northwestern was off this week, leaving their fans to make preparations for their bowl trip post season basketball appearance upcoming women's lacrosse season. The Wildcats are back in action tonight against Mississippi Valley State and they will also host Brown this coming Sunday.

Ohio State (10-0)

The Buckeyes dispatched two more non conference opponents this week, drubbing Bryant 86-48 and knocking off North Dakota State 79-62. Honestly, what do we know about Ohio State right now? This team is undefeated but their best wins are over a four loss Marquette team on the road and at home against Maryland. This team has the talent to win the conference but their wins haven't been nearly as impressive as Wisconsin's or even Michigan State's. Ohio State hosts Delaware next week before they travel to Madison Square Garden to take on Notre Dame. The Irish aren't the end all be all (Iowa beat them, Indiana didn't) but a solid win would still be a strong statement heading into conference play.

Penn State (8-4)

The Nittany Lions started off the week by knocking off Duquesne 68-59. Tim Frazier secured a double double while teammates Ross Travis and Donovan Jack both came up one point shy of accomplishing the same feet. Allen Roberts led the team in scoring with 15 points off the bench. Pat Chambers' team then hosted Princeton in Rec Hall. Unfortunately the game ended in an 81-79 overtime loss for the home squad as the Nittany Lions could not overcome Princeton's senior forward Will Barrett, who scored 15 of his 24 points in the final six and a half minutes of the game. Ross Travis recorded a double double and both D.J. Newbill and Tim Frazier scored 24 points in the losing effort.

Penn State is back in action Sunday when they host Mount St. Mary's

Purdue (8-3)

Matt Painter's crew traveled to Indianapolis over the weekend where they took on Butler in the Crossroads Classic. The Boilermakers fell 76-70 and the Bulldogs improved to 3-0 in Crossroads Classic games. Terone Johnson led the Boilers with 20 points but none of the other starters were able to break into double figures. Purdue shot a paltry 28.6 percent from beyond the arc and turned the ball over 18 times. Both Basil Smotherman and AJ Hammons fouled out of the game.

Purdue will be back in action Tuesday when they host Maryland-Eastern Shore and they will travel to Morgantown on Sunday to play West Virginia.

Wisconsin (12-0)

The Badgers remain undefeated after defeating Milwaukee (78-52) and and Eastern Kentucky (86-61) this past week. Ben Brust led Wisconsin in scoring both nights, notching 18 points against Milwaukee and 20 against Eastern Kentucky. Wisconsin does not play again until the 28th.