Well the night started great for the B1G as it was a clean sweep for Wisconsin, Michigan State, and Penn State. Of course, Indiana and Illinois couldn't get it together so it was up to Iowa to win the Challenge for the conference. And so they did, pulling out a win against Florida State in overtime.
Penn State 67, Boston College 58
Aaron Yourke- After looking a lot like last year's version of Shep Garner during the first five games of the season, the Penn State sophomore exploded on Wednesday for eight three-pointers made and 30 total points, both career highs. Most of it was needed on a night that saw the Lions get very little from Brandon Taylor and the rest of the offense. It also helped that Penn State got a great defensive effort from freshman Josh Reaves, who helped hold former Rutgers guard Eli Carter to just seven points on 2-for-8 shooting. Yes, Boston College might be the only major-conference opponent that the Lions are capable of defeating on the road, but this still counts as a solid win for a program that is still trying to figure out what it's good at on offense.
#3 Michigan State 71, #24 Louisville 67
Andrew Kraszewski- State relied on its senior playmakers to, well, make plays, and Denzel Valentine and Bryn Forbes delivered. But how about preferred walk-on Kenny Goins, who racked 13 boards against a huge Louisville front court? We know who the stars are going to be on this team this year, but the supporting case is looking deeper than it has the last few years.
Wisconsin 66, #14 Syracuse 58 (OT)
Wisconsin needed this win in the worst way possible, and by God they found a way to get it done on the road. It certainly wasn't the prettiest game, but when you can go into the Carrier Dome and get win against a good Syracuse team it doesn't matter. Wisconsin outrebounded 'Cuse 51-25, which is just insane as good as they looked in the Bahamas. Also it won't hurt if Ethan Happ decides to score 18 points and grab 15 boards every night. He looked fantastic, and if he and Vitto Brown (14 points, 8 rebounds) can play like that every night, the top 4 finish streak might still survive. Also I never thought I'd say this about a Bo Ryan player, but if Khalil Iverson wants to not try to dunk everytime he touches the ball that'd be great. Missing 2 dunks in the span of about 5 possessions is not good in a tight game.
It can't be overstated how big a win this was, as Wisconsin still has to play Temple and Marquette before Big Ten play. There was a pretty good chance this team could've had 5 or 6 losses going into conference play with a loss tonight. Now not only do you avoid potentially being 7-6 going into conference play, you have a true road game non-conference win over a ranked team that serves as a huge confidence builder. Great win for the Badgers and one that will still look big in March.
#7 Duke 94, Indiana 74
Our Indiana writer didn't watch this game in true OTE "writer" fashion. Can you blame him? Duke completely outclassed the Hoosier from about 10 minutes in. Isn't it interesting how similar Indiana's football and basketball teams are? The Fighting Creans have a great offense, but their defense was flat out terrible tonight. Duke shot from 53% from the field, was 11-24 from 3, and only committed 6 turnovers. Is it a rule you can't play defense if you're an Indiana Hoosier?
Notre Dame 84, Illinois 79
I don't know how you do it Thump. Illinois looked so good the first half, then the second half happened. I guess clinching the Challenge would've been a nice thing.
Iowa 78, Florida State 75
Stewmonkey- Iowa and FSU came into the game ranked in the top 40 by KenPom, both playing fast paced, and high scoring. Should be a fun, entertaining, pretty well played game, right? Suffice it to say the game they played against each other was super sloppy and ugly. FSU shot 38% on FGs, and 22% from 3pt, Iowa wasn't really any better 42% on FGs and 24% from 3pt. It was the deciding game of the challenge, so YAY! But let's never speak of it again.
So yay Big Ten! That makes 5 of the last 7 years we've been able to beat the ACC after dropping 10 in a row. Also thanks new members for going 0-3. This is where you're not supposed to embarrass the conference Maryland. Get your shit together. Nebraska and Rutgers, good hustle, good effort, you're not supposed to be good anyway.