First, let me get this one off my chest: The NCAA needs to make up its damn mind. Out of conference games are, for the most part, already hard enough to watch because of the talent discrepancy in 95% of games. Now you have decided that there will be added rule emphasis in the out of conference? Did you not realize that this didn’t work last year and that all refs drop this as soon as conference play starts? I mean, it’s like you decided to go for the double emphasis to make up for not doing it in conference play last year. The result? MULTIPLE games with 50+ fouls. Do you know what that does to the viewer? The flow of the game? This is a travesty that needs to end or you need to be consistent and enforce it in every game, all season long. You can’t selectively enforce it. It’s terrible and you’re going to lose viewers because of it if it persists. Games are now being decided by team FT percentage and not actual talent because ticky tack fouls are called, inconsistently I might add, all game long. There shouldn’t be conversations in almost every game on whether or not a team will have enough players to finish a game due to foul trouble. If the rules are such that every single team ends up playing this way and "fouling" this way, perhaps the NCAA should look at how they’re classifying certain acts as fouls.
Anyways, what you clicked on this for, the Big Ten basketball weekend review (with some help from Stew and Graham):
Maryland 71, Towson 66
Barclays Center Classic
Yikes. Maryland won on the backs of Justin Jackson and Melo Trimble in an ugly shooting performance against Towson on Sunday. Freshman Justin Jackson shot 61% from the field with 5 three’s for 21 points while the rest of Maryland’s starters shot 29% from the field for 38 points (16 were Trimble FTs). It’ll be a long season if the shooting doesn’t get better.
Michigan State 100, Mississippi Valley State 53
Michigan State 78, FGCU 77
Battle 4 Atlantis
MSU dispatched Mississippi Valley State with ease on Friday night, as they should have. However, if Maryland almost losing to Towson wasn’t enough, Michigan State needed clock shenanigans to avoid a loss to Florida Gulf Coast. Y’all worried yet? In more eerily similar comparisons to Maryland, Sparty was also outrebounded by their inferior opponent. Worse? The 58% from the FT line. Izzo has some work to do.
Iowa 95, UT Rio Grande Valley 67
Emerald Coast Classic
Stewmonkey13: Iowa dispatched the University of Texas - Rio Grand Valley Vaqueros post haste. Peter Jok is really good, 27 points in 19 minutes on 9/13 shooting. Tyler Cook is super fun to watch, and will dunk on everyone. The young guys got a bunch of much needed playing time.
#1 Duke 78, Penn State 68
Cincinnati 71, Penn State 50
Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame Tip-Off
Penn State played reasonably well against Duke this weekend in a game everyone knew they’d lose. Down 12 at half, Penn State outplayed the Duke starters in the second half behind Shep Garner and Tony Carr. The same couldn’t be said for the consolation game against Cincinnati the next day but young, rebuilding teams will take their lumps. The shot volume is still super skewed towards Garner and Carr and a third scorer is needed but the young PSU team has promise.
Purdue 64, Georgia State 56
Purdue needed all 40 minutes to take down Georgia State on Friday night. What is more concerning is that Isaac Haas played 20 minutes and had zero rebounds. Zero. How does Purdue get outrebounded 35-26?
Rutgers 78, Niagara 65
Scarlet Knight Challenge
Ok, Ok. Rutgers is still undefeated in basketball after taking down Niagara 78-65. I think there is an actual path for them to be 10-3 going into conference play, which is an odd thought. Nigel Johnson got hot from Rutgers bench and dropped 20 points en route to the win while Corey Sanders has still struggled to find his shot this season.
Minnesota 92, St. John’s 86
Gavitt Tipoff Games
Freshman Amir Coffey going off for 30 to lead you to a win over a decent opponent? Check. 4-0 record? Check. No arrests yet? Check.
Michigan 76, SMU 54
Graham Filler: No big deal, just the best looking Michigan team since the Final Four team of 2012-13. Finally paced by versatile big men, this Beilein team looks ready for B1G play. The HYPE train seems to be fully engaged on the tracks. From Mgo:
While it's dangerous to put too much stock in an early-season game, this marks two consecutive great performances by Michigan against teams that were supposed to pose significant challenges. That they've accomplished this on the strength of suffocating defense only adds to the excitement. There may not have been much buzz surrounding this team heading into the season, but that is already in the process of changing. It appears that, once again, John Beilein has successfully transformed his team for the better.
Illinois 89, Detroit Mercy 69
NIT Season Tip-Off
Four scorers were in double digits as Malcolm Hill’s 25 points lead Illinois past Detroit Mercy with ease. In a campus game for the NIT Season Tip-Off, Illinois showed they’ll be battling for the top of the middle of the Big Ten and perhaps contending for an NCAA bid if all goes well.
Indiana 87, Liberty 48
I’m not sure what Indiana, or Rutgers honestly, is doing by grouping their already scheduled home games against cupcakes and calling them a "classic." But hey James Blackmon, Jr. put together a nice night with 20 points and 9 rebounds as the Indiana bench got some solid burn.
Nebraska 65, Louisiana Tech 54
This game was the preview for the rest of the season for Nebraska as Tai Webster put the team on his back with 23 points to go with Jack McVeigh’s 21 points and 4 three’s to win the game. Yep, two players scored 44 of 65 points. Ouch.
Stay tuned for a preview and open-thread of the next few days in Big Ten basketball, including Wisconsin-Tennessee and Northwestern-Texas tipping off in just a few hours!