We open up with the Darren Rovell Memorial Stupid Tweet of the Day:
When was the last time Minnesota & Northwestern were in better shape to make the NCAA tournament instead of Michigans State,IU & Ohio State?— Paul Biancardi (@PaulBiancardi) February 12, 2017
Imma go ahead and say “Never,” Paul. (Also MSU is 3-0 against the pair, but that’s just a detail.)
Also, there’s a new AP Poll out! And somehow losing to Penn State didn’t knock the Terps out of it, so there’s also that!
Anyways, there’s wisconsin at 11, Purdue at 16, and Maryland at 23. Northwestern is the only other B1G school receiving votes, with 60 points (effectively 28th).
Minnesota 72, rutger 63
WhiteSpeedReceiver: I didn't get to watch the game due to stupid obligations, but since it was only Rutgers and we didn't have half our team suspended I'll just presume it should have been a laugher. Rutgers probably got to keep it close due to Lynch not remembering that he'll get called for fouls on the road.
MNW: And right you are, WSR! Heroic CJ Gettys actually did lead rutger, scoring 14 points and grabbing 8 boards, but Jordan Murphy had himself a nice little 17-and-11 double-double, then put Gettys on a poster for good measure.
After rutger narrowed it to 2 with seven and a half to play in the first, Minnesota turned on the 17HP Evinrude and put-putted their way past the Knights in Piscambrunswick. This was a boring, stupid game, and if the gal wasn’t intent on reading her book, Marquette wasn’t sucking ass at Georgetown, and I wasn’t trying to avoid classwork, I wouldn’t have watched it.
These two teams also shot a combined 6/31 from deep. Jesus.
Penn State 83, Illinois 70
Aaron Yorke: Penn State has now won two games in a row since losing to Rutgers. I'm sure someone will try to talk me into thinking that the Lions needed to lose to Rutgers in order to reach the proper motivation and mindset to knock off Maryland and Illinois, but nope. Penn State is just a young and inconsistent team.
The good news is that the talent is starting to shine through more often, especially in the case of Lamar Stevens, who has topped 20 points in three of his last four games. Payton Banks was also surprisingly outstanding in the Illinois matinee. Not only did he get hot from beyond the arc to give Penn State a nice halftime lead, but he looked good off the bounce as well. More of this, please.
The sweet road win has me thinking there's an outside chance of a tourney run, but I also wouldn't be surprised if the Lions get ambushed on Tuesday by a Nebraska team that is better than its record indicates.
Thump went skiing instead. But he returned:
Seasons I was really excited about that went off the rails completely:
2009 Illinois football: 3-9, but at least they beat Michigan
2001 NASCAR: Dale Earnhardt died in the first race. At least he led some laps and won a preseason exhibition race.
2016/17 Illinois basketball: Nope. Nothing good.
#23 Maryland 86, Ohio State 77
DJ: Marylands bench play was the difference in this game, which is very unusual this season. Despite Mark Turgeons ridiculous tendency to play 10 players per game that don't necessarily deserve it, they showed up today and out-scored the OSU bench to the tune of 31ish points to 0.
Ohio State got screwed by refs that were hell bent on calling illegal screens on pick and rolls, both ways, but OSU never adapted to how the game was called and both centers fouled out. With Justin Jackson and Damonte Dodd seemingly absent from the game, The trio of Jaylen Brantley, L.G. Gill, and Michael Chekovsky combined to be more than adequate to make up their production. Combine that with 36 points from Kevin Huerter and Anthony Cowan and the game was won. Melo Trimble for once wasn't the one who stepped up other than late FTs and it was an awesome step forward.
Oh and I still F'ing hate Mark Turgeons substitution patterns with a passion because they make no sense whatsoever. These are D1 athletes, stop resting them like middle schoolers.
Michigan State 77, Iowa 66
King Jan Sobieski: The Iowa game was MSU's Jekyll-and-Hyde season in a nutshell. In the first half, the Spartans could not stop turning the ball over. To be sure, Iowa presented an array of press and zone defenses to earn some of those, but there were also a lot of the same facepalm mistakes that turned the Michigan rematch into such a debacle.
Fortunately, Iowa was stone cold from the floor most of the night, so when MSU tightened up the ball security and heated up from deep in the second half, they opened some distance in the middle stages of the second half and coasted from there. MSU's four freshmen were their four best players, and Josh Langford in particular looks like he may be starting to uncork his immense potential.
This team is no threat to Purdue or Wisconsin this season, but they reminded us of their strengths tonight.
Stewmonkey13: Andrew Krabappel was right. MSU tried to give Iowa this game in the first half by turning it over (and over, and over). Iowa returned this hospitality by refusing to make any shots.
After halftime MSU stopped turning it over so much, but Iowa kept missing shots. Iowa went 4/21 from 3 and 21/64 from the field, and Peter Jok and Jordan Bohannon, in particular went 0/11 from 3 and 2/19 from the field. Iowa just can't win with those numbers.
Michigan 75, Indiana 63
To the delight of “Get off the court” proponents everywhere, this happened.
Wagner hits 3, runs over Tom Crean. pic.twitter.com/YdwT35WGlv— Chris Vannini (@ChrisVannini) February 12, 2017
Graham Filler: Fantastic defense by the Wolverines. Remember when we discussed the lack of wolverine toughness on D (and O)? Well we've seen such an improved Michigan squad on that front...playing the horrendous Hoosiers doesn't hurt.
Derrick Walton...has played his way into a spot on the All Big Ten 2nd Team, no joke. He's got fire shooting out of his hands and head like Sega basketball. The Wolverines are probably right around Last Four...obviously some work to do. But they keep winning Must Win games.
wisconsin a lot, Northwestern a lot less mnw recaps here
Northwestern 66, then-#7 wisconsin 59