Penn State 52, Minnesota 50
MNW: I couldn’t watch this game because ESPN3 would not acknowledge that the game was occurring despite it being on ESPNU, which is probably a pretty apt metaphor for the Gophers’ performance while being ranked.
Good for Reggie Lynch trying this new thing called “not fouling out,” but Mike Watkins’ emergence for the Nittany Lions (15 points, 15 boards) meant Pat Chambers’ club did just enough to win.
Seriously. This game apparently had Minnesota shooting 37.7% from the field and 28.6% from deep, while Penn State countered with 30.4% and 14.3%, respectively. But they shot 16/20 from the free throw line, so just burn the tape—why am I still talking about this shit?
Michigan 91, Nebrasketball 85
BigRedTwice: I only listened to Nebraska's game on the radio while I was running errands, so they didn't have my undivided attention. However, it sounded like some of the same issues that haunted the Huskers against Northwestern last Sunday bit them against the Wolverines. It was not a terrible offensive performance--they scored 85 points, after all, and that without leading rebounder and 3rd-leading scorer Ed Morrow. Glynn Watson Jr. was thankfully shooting better after a miserable 6-point performance against Northwestern and turned in 22 points, while Tai Webster again led the team with 28 points. But boy oh boy were there two big defensive failings, just like last Sunday: free throws and three throws (I know that's not what they're called, but I liked the symmetry, so go with it.) Michigan had 30 free throw opportunities, of which they made 26. Nebraska made 80% from the line, which isn't bad... except that the numbers were 4 of 5. That's right, Michigan had 25 more free throws than the Huskers! That's... uh, gonna leave a mark. Especially in a game that ended up only being decided by six points. The Wolverines also gutted the Huskers from beyond the arc, and it seems defending threes needs to be an area of emphasis for the Huskers.
This was a winnable one for Nebraska, so it was a bit of a disappointment. However, they once again hung around even when it didn't really make sense that they should, and were in it pretty much to the end. Though they will continue to miss Ed Morrow's rebounding prowess (get well soon, Ed, please!), perhaps they can figure out how to draw some fouls of their own and take out OSU when they visit Lincoln on Wednesday.
Maryland 62, Illinois 56
Thumpasaurus: We fucking blow. Six attempts in the paint vs Maryland. I guess now we know you can't build an offense on 20 foot shots.
DJ: Maryland worked through a volume of poor three point shooting from Melo Trimble (2-9 3pt range) and foul trouble for Damonte Dodd to take away the road win at Illinois. Combine those two earlier things with FT Shooting that would give Tom Izzo an erection (3-12 at one point) and I'm surprised the first games score wasn't reversed and Maryland lost by 25.
I'll take the road win and hope that everyone is shooting 500 free throws daily between Saturday and the Iowa game, except for Melo, who should have to listen to recordings of "there are four other players to pass to on the court instead of shooting this 3" all week long.
Candystripes: Indiana didn't lose, despite not looking good at various points. It's sad that this might be one of the better Big Ten games we've had so far, but sometimes that's how it goes. Also, alley oops as the clock is running out is just a little bit foolish, so let's maybe not do that again, OK?
Ohio State 72, Michigan State 67
Andrew K: This kind of result is the natural product of missing on two entire recruiting classes. The plan C recruits and transfers Izzo tried to fill those holes with are the only upperclassmen, and they are all profoundly limited in their own ways. Eron Harris is so out of sorts that he won't even take the open shots he does get, Alvin Ellis makes way too many mistakes to play heavy, high-pressure minutes, and Tum Tum Nairn is apparently never going to learn to shoot.
Meanwhile, Nick Ward got his first taste of road game officiating in the Big Ten, and Miles Bridges, though he put some points on the board, still looks a bit halting coming off his injury layoff. MSU is likely to rebound from this very shaky performance, but the flaws are there and aren't likely to be fixed this year.
Northwestern 89, Iowa 54
Stewmonkey13: In my preview I mentioned Iowa would try to avoid a hangover. They did not. This was a beatdown. Nothing went right. Iowa was playing poor defense, but even when they did manage to get a hand in a face, NU knocked them down. And on offense nothing really worked except lightly used Ryan Kriener. Jok had his worst game in over a year, and the young guys just didn't have it, either. None of this should be all that surprising, though, as it is clearly The Year for NU’s team of destiny.
DJ: So this is The Year barring a February collapse. Collins angling to replace K after back surgery.
MNW: I... I don’t... I don’t think...
Seriously, what the hell.
This isn’t actually happening.
It’s not The Year.
It’s never The Year.
Stop trying to make me believe, Bryant McIntosh, with your 20 points, 10 assists, and generally not being an offensive liability.
You too, Scottie Lindsey, with your smiling and having fun while scoring 22 yourself.
Damnit, Vic Law, that means you as well, holding Peter Jok to 4 fucking points.
Dererk Pardon, I love you and your rim-protecting self. But stop being a strong inside presence that Northwestern has always lacked.
THIS ONLY ENDS IN SADNESS, YOU GUYS.