Well...that was fun.
B1G Talking Points
- The Indiana Hoosiers sit atop the Big Ten conference standings. Yes, they're tied with Iowa, but let's just take a moment to marvel at how the Cream and Crimson have lasted this long into the season.
- While we're doing that, let's take a moment to laugh at Iowa for not ever being able to figure out how to play in the weird blue cavern that is the Bryce Jordan Center.
- And let's take even longer to laugh at Maryland for losing to 0-13 Minnesota. Yes, yes, the Gophers have been on the cusp of one of those wins all season...but lose to Northwestern twice by a combined 49, beat Maryland by 5. You're drunk, college basketball.
- Speaking of college basketball, go watch Joey King's postgame interview.
- No seriously, go do it. I'm not writing another damn thing until you do.
- Fine, you lazy sumbitch:
- I write off Illinois and Penn State, and just like that they're only a game back of my Wildcats in the win column. If I had to choose which of those three will get stuck playing on the first day of the Big Ten Tournament? I'm taking the Fighting Illini, who have to host Indiana and travel to Wisconsin and Maryland.
- Denzel Valentine couldn't keep the increasing point totals going, but it's gonna be tough to stop Michigan State if he's dishing out 10 assists to go with 24 points.
- Wisconsin finally got the cooling-off the rest of the conference desperately thought it needed. With games against Iowa, Michigan, and Purdue remaining, the Badgers' top-four finishes could once again be in jeopardy.
- Nebraska has about reached its ceiling for the season...not that 8-10 is anything to be ashamed of, Huskers.
- I don't know what to say about Michigan versus Ohio State. It definitely happened, though.
- Purdue is still really tall, and that gives me nightmares.
- In conclusion, Buttgers.
#17 Purdue 71, Northwestern 61
MNW: Not much to this one. Purdue was taller, stronger inside, and made just enough shots from the outside to keep the Wildcats honest. AJ Hammons had 18 points and 12 boards, it seemed like no one could move Isaac Haas out of the lane either, and Northwestern shot just 22.2% from deep while allowing more offensive rebounds (19) than they collected defensively (17). That's just not good, and it will result in a loss every time.
Northwestern: @ Michigan (Wednesday, 6pm, BTN)
Purdue: @ Indiana (Saturday, 7:30pm, ESPN)
Ohio State 76, Michigan 66
The Buckeyes shot 54% from the field (to Michigan's 39%) and dished out more assists, amusingly, than Michigan, who outrebounded the Buckeyes. This confounds my expectations, and because I was watching Northwestern lose to Purdue, I have no explanation for this.
Are you an Ohio State fan who can write in complete sentences about basketball? Email Graham Filler. Speaking of...
Graham: I concede that Michigan is going to end up as a #10 seed and go cold against, let's say, Gonzaga in the first round. This scenario sounds half-decent to some ("we weren't supposed to make the tourney!") and terrible to others ("bunch of soft players in a soft system, fortunate growth spurts by 3 stars made all that UM success possible, it's over now...").
But let's remember a few key thoughts:
- Michigan is without Levert and missed on all major recruits they targeted.
- Trey Burke ain't walking through that door.
- Michigan recruits in a disadvantaged position against MSU and every other major power conf program.
So a Tourney bid from an otherwise uninspiring team is a good foot to stand on going forward.
Ohio State: @ Nebraska (6pm, Saturday)
Michigan: @ #6 Maryland (Sunday, 12pm, CBS)
Illinois 82, Rutgers 66
Illinois got a new AD the other day, so Thumpasaurus has been pretty happy. That hasn't stopped him from providing observations on Illini basketball, though:
Hilariously, they still managed to run Mikan drills at our basket in the second half We fucking suck. I keep ripping the offensive system/lack thereof, but Jesus the defense is beyond pitiful
Malcolm Hill's double-double of 22 points and 10 boards stymied a great game from Rutgers forward Jonathan Laurent, who scored 18 points on 7/10 shooting.
Illinois: @ Wisconsin (Sunday, 6:30pm, BTN)
Rutgers: vs. Penn State (Saturday, 12pm, ESPNU)
Penn State 79, #4 Iowa 75
Stewmonkey13: Iowa about pissed the B1G championship down their leg on Wednesday against PSU. Even playing so poorly, Iowa might have been able to walk away with a W, but PSU did a great job of uglying up the game, and shot hot fire for the first 30 minutes of the game.
Iowa is most definitely slumping the last week or so, and is entering a much needed off weekend after 3 games in 6 days, 2 of which were away. I'm not quite ready to call the season lost, or a nosedive like what happened two seasons ago. If they come out flat after the off weekend, though, I'll likely be conceding this point.
Aaron Yorke: It's amazing what can happen when the shots start falling. Shep Garner, who had gone 0-for-16 from beyond the arc in his last three games, went 4-for-7 on three-pointers on his way to 18 points. Brandon Taylor also scored 18 along with nine rebounds, but the real story of the game was Donovon Jack. Seriously, where did that performance come from? After scoring six points total in his last four games, the senior big mane exploded for 19 points on 8-for-9 shooting to lift the Lions to a 79-75 upset victory over Iowa.
Peter Jok continued his run of Big Ten dominance with 28 points, but he was only one of two Hawkeyes to hit double figures in this one. Jarrod Uthoff scored 19, but Iowa struggled to get production from anywhere else, shooting just 41 percent from the field in the process.
With wins in two of their last three games (both vs. ranked opponents), the Lions have Rutgers (Saturday) and a rematch with Nebraska (Thursday) coming up next.
Iowa: vs. Wisconsin (Wednesday, 8pm, BTN)
Penn State: @ Rutgers (Saturday, 12pm, ESPNU)
#22 Indiana 80, Nebraska 64
Candystripes for Breakfast: Didn't lose to Nebraska at home, check. Iowa decided to drop a game to make the conference race fun, check. Indiana very firmly controls its own destiny and could somehow pull a Big Ten title out of this season, check. And of course, we've got #BeatPurdue upcoming.
Jesse Collins: Nebraska got eviscerated by Indiana, which makes sense more or less, but it's always disappointing when it's problems that you had solved for a while. Specifically, defend screens and rotate to shooters. Indiana started hitting everything and Nebraska stopped making everything and that was that.
On an encouraging front, Freshmen keep doing work for Nebraska so who knows... Maybe this year is a really good foundation for the future after all.
Indiana: vs. #17 Purdue (Saturday, 7:30pm, ESPN)
Nebraska: vs. Ohio State (Saturday, 6pm)
Minnesota 68, #6 Maryland 63
DJ Carver stopped by ever-so-briefly this morning to provide this taek:
I still can't believe THAT was how this team responded to losing by 13 to Wisconsin fucking joke
WhiteSpeedReceiver: WOO! Now we can lose to Rutgers twice!
InsertName [wait what this isn't hockey]:
Everyone should watch the joey king post game interview, that's why we love college sports
Also HAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH Now we can lose twice to Buttgers and it won't matter
In case you didn't watch, the Gophers came out shooting absolute fire from deep, knocking down 6 of their first 8 and running out to a 40-29 lead at halftime before hanging on for the 5-point victory. Nate Mason went for a surprising 18 points, and the Gophers held their own with Maryland's big men (minus suspended head-assaulter Diamond Stone) on the inside. Jordan Murphy had 17 points and 11 boards along with this delightful dunk that got the Barn rockin' in the second half.
And courtesy of Little Brother of MNW (a freshman at the U):
Good work on your first court storm, lil' bro.
Maryland: vs. Michigan (Sunday, 12pm, CBS)
Minnesota: vs. Rutgers (Tuesday, 6pm, BTN)
#8 Michigan State 69, Wisconsin 57
Andrew Kraszewski: MSU thumped Wisconsin at the Breslin. Valentine and Forbes led the way on offense yet again, while Deyonta Davis and Eron Harris made life hell for Badger standouts Nigel Hayes and Bronson Koenig. Stop me if you've heard this before, but MSU is rounding into peak form as March approaches. Which, of course, means they'll probably still drop an inexplicable game to Ohio State. But the remainder of the regular season schedule is as easy as it gets in the B1G.
Thomas Speth: Glad it took an entire half to feed Happ. I mean. You can't expect to not lose by 15 at MSU when your best player [Hayes] goes 1-13. [Koenig was 4-9 for a quiet 12 points.]
Michigan State: @ Ohio State (Tuesday, 8pm, ESPN)
Wisconsin: vs. Illinois (Sunday, 6:30pm, BTN)
Weekend previews and open thread should drop tomorrow morning! Vote in the poll and let us know in the comments which win surprised you more: Minnesota's or Penn State's!