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Big Ten Hoops Weekend Review: It Is The Year for Northwestern Basketball

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Overtime in The Barn and yet another conference win late into January for Northwestern basketball.  It’s finally The Year.

NCAA Basketball: Northwestern at Ohio State
Chris Collins, upon realizing that DJ just jinxed it.
Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Don’t let MNWildcat tell you otherwise, it’s finally The Year. [Hi. MNWildcat here. It’s not The Year, but DJ insists on putting this in articles now.] This weekend had some predictable outcomes but did more in creating some distinction within the Big Ten rankings, even if its just a 12 game to full game difference.

Here is how the weekend went:

Saturday:

#17 Wisconsin 78, Minnesota 76 (OT)

DJ: Minnesota gave Wisconsin all it could handle at the barn but ultimately came up just short as they struggled to contain Ethan Happ inside who went off for 28 and 12 in the game. Amir Coffey dropped 19 in the game for Minnesota, playing in all but four minutes of the game and hitting clutch 3’s in the game. It was Akeem Springs who hit the 3 to send the game into Overtime but ultimately Minnesota couldn’t put the game away in OT.

#21 Purdue 77, Penn State 52

Aaron: Penn State is a team that’s really good at shooting free throws and really bad at shooting field goals, so to upset a good team on the road, it needs to shoot more than six free throws in a game. That didn’t happen in this one, and the Lions had no answer for Caleb Swanigan and company, who won comfortably shooting behind 57-percent field goal shooting. At least Penn State didn’t get embarrassed in the rebounding department, but offense continues to be a major problem as Tony Carr and Shep Garner took big steps backward while Lamar Stevens continued to struggle.

The silver lining is that Josh Reaves looked very comfortable shooting from beyond the arc in this game. He’s arguably Penn State’s most valuable player and can give the team a kick in the rear if he becomes a consistent threat from deep. Mike Watkins continues to not see enough minutes. At this point, Pat Chambers should just play him until he fouls out, because the fewer minutes he plays, the more we have to watch Julian Moore (foul personal fouls, zero points, zero blocked shots) for.

Rutgers 65, Nebraska 64

DJ: Start that walk of shame, Nebraska. I thought that without Ed Morrow this game would certainly pose a challenge for Nebraska to deal with Rutgers height inside but I was only sort of joking when I said they may lose the game. Way to prove me wrong.

BRT: That was...really, really bad. The first half was perhaps the ugliest basketball I’ve ever seen, and as a Nebrasketball fan, that's saying something. Much kudos to Nebraska for coming out in the second half and getting back into it, but almost eight minutes of no scoring and 0-18 from the field? That is some next-level yuck. The Huskers needed this win, so there is really nothing positive about this. The Huskers continue to miss Ed Morrow badly, and with two consecutive last-second, one-point losses, the difference he would make looms enormous. If anyone has some skelegrow or the like, please consider a donation to the Nebraska athletic department. Hopefully Ed can rejoin his team soon!

Zuzu: OH MY GOD, WE WON! I don’t care. We have a B1G win! People said we’d get none! Great hustle by Corey Sanders for getting the last points of the game. I’m incredibly happy for all dedicated, patient, and often frustrated, but loyal Rutgers fans who have waited a long time for this win. We will certainly hold onto it as we head into a new era of basketball that will hopefully bring us back to a respectable level. Sorry this moment for RU fans had to come at your expense, Nebraska.

MNW: With the win, sources tell me, rutger moves to 4-42 all-time in Big Ten basketball.

Fuck you, Jim Delany.

Michigan 66, Illinois 57

Graham: Michigan over Illinois. The mark of an effective coach is the ability to adapt. So it seems that Beilein’s much maligned defense adapted wonderfully, holding the Illini to a whole 30 less points than their last matchup. What did I see? No open shots. Effective perimeter hedging and recovery. Just a completely different Michigan team. Fantastically enjoyable game, and probably a must win if Tourney hopes shall stay alive. Also. DJ WILSON y’all. Six offensive boards. Put back dunks with them long arms. Maybe the best Michigan stat line of the year: 19 points, 7 boards, 5 assists, 1 block, 39 minutes.

Thump: A mark of an ineffective coach is the inability to adapt. So it seems that Groce’s much-maligned offense tried to do the exact same shit they did last time, which is the same thing they always do. What did I see? Four minutes of the game, but I assume Illinois spend offensive possessions handing off the ball at the top of the key while guys stood around in the wings. Just a completely same-as-ever Illinois team. Fantastically deplorable game, and probably a must-lsoe if hopes of a new coach shall stay alive.

Indiana 82, Michigan State 75

Andrew: First things first, my official and permanent boycott of all Dakich broadcasts starts today. His unrepentant homerism for Indiana makes any game involving them unwatchable, and his frequent insights are mixed in with ad hominem hot takes I just can’t put up with anymore.

That said, I see Blackmon is quite good. Indiana needed every last one if his approximately 475 points to hold off MSU from overturning a 20-point second half deficit. In normal seasons, putting up that kind of fight at the Hall of Calls would be worth a hat tip. This season, MSU is far too short on resume wins to be happy with moral victories. Now at 3-3 in the (very weak) conference, every missed opportunity pushes MSU closer to needing the autobid to carry on their NCAA tourney streak.

Candystripes: Any win is a good win. We’re on to Michigan.

Sunday

Northwestern 74, Ohio State 72

MNWildcat: The ‘Cats got timely shooting from Isaiah Brown, benefitted from about 30 missed FTs, and got a quiet but deadly 21 points from Scottie Lindsay to dispatch the worst Buckeye squad Thad Matta ever fielded.

Win the win, the ‘Cats look poised to enter the Top 25, which will of course hasten their imminent collapse. This has, of course, happened before, lese any of you think “a ranked Northwestern surely makes it ‘The Year!’ It is not The Year. It is never The Year.

It was tough to watch Ohio State, which seems to have forgotten that all they need to do against Northwestern is throw the ball into the post, and Jared Sullinger will get two shots. I hate Thad Matta and his stupid high chair (yes, I know he has it for a certain reason), but this Ohio State team just doesn’t look like it can often get out of its own way. They can still obviously do damage, but they just don’t shoot well enough to be a consistent threat.