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Did Michigan just lock up its Dance slot?

And is Northwestern tumbling to Dayton? A recap of the mid-week Big Ten basketball slate.

NCAA Basketball: Wisconsin at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports


#16 Purdue 74, rutger 55

No one cares enough to recap this game. It was the same shit: Purdue is tall, Isaac Haas actually did have 24 and 11, Caleb Swanigan got a double-double, rutger is two years away. Moving on.

Michigan State 74, Ohio State 66

Andrew Kraszewski: MSU got the payback win over OSU that they had to have with 3 probable losses left on the schedule in Purdue, Maryland, and Wisconsin, 2 of those on the road. They kept OSU at arm’s length for much of the game thanks to a timely Alvin Ellis III 3-point Arrow Barrage, including 5 of them in the first half.

You have to love the former afterthought recruit, subject of persistent transfer chatter amongst the fanbase rabble as an underclassman, who has become an indispensable bench piece as a senior. Nick Ward and Miles Bridges were there usual selves, but maybe the most salient thing was the difference in offensive efficiency when Cassius Winston was running the offense versus Tum Tum Nairn. Nairn still has useful abilities, but it's becoming increasingly clear who the superior option is.

When Winston consistently corrals his turnovers, the team will be his. Solid win over an opponent with no shortage of pride (albeit possessed of a definite shortage of dudes who can score); on to West Lafayette to do battle with the giants.

Nebrasketball 82, Penn State 66

BigRedTwice: It's been awhile since I've seen Nebraska put a team away, and it was a lot of fun to watch! PSU looked discombobulated for most of the night, and though they found some success in the first half with 3s, their shooting in the second half never really got going.

The Huskers' offensive highlights included Tshimanga making some very nice moves under the basket, two possessions in a row that culminated in dunks, and Jack McVeigh continuing a hot streak most notably with a half-court shot right before halftime. The Huskers also turned the ball over much less than they did against Wisconsin (low bar, but still) and out-rebounded PSU 40-29.

This was a fun one, and while PSU isn't a top team, they've been playing well, and this is a good win for the Huskers.

#23 Maryland 74, Northwestern 64

DJ: Melo Trimble. If you wanna bitch about him getting too many foul calls, try not letting him in the paint to abuse your big men. Turgeon pulled out some new offensive sets this game, using double screens on the pick and roll with Trimble receiving the second look on it and he flourished.

To be honest, Melo made everything look good on Wednesday night but this was the best I've seen Maryland run set plays all year. They even attempted to run sets as they burned clock as opposed to just dribbling at the top of the key and screening for Trimble, although that was the default if the sets did not give a good look.

Oh, and Ivan Bender is the fucking worst. WORST. I would be glad if he saw not one additional minute the remainder of the year but he continues to be the first big off the bench. He can't make easy layups, can barely dunk, and doesn't rebound (no one on MD does that well). He enters the game and teams abuse him instantly.

MNW: Don’t let anyone fool you. This was a complete laugher, as the ‘Cats were down almost 20 for most of this shit-show. It was hard to stop Trimble (32 points), who played as lights-out as I’ve seen him.

Isiah Brown stepped into the void left by Bryant McIntosh’s foul trouble, scoring 19 points. That was nice.

What’s the takeaway? This is a bubble team that needs Scottie Lindsey desperately. He should be back for games against rutger and at Illinois, which Northwestern will need to take to (1) avoid a bad loss, and (2) get to the magical 10 wins that will make them a possibly-Dayton-bound team. Fun.

Minnesota 75, Indiana 74

The bloom is about off Tom Crean’s rose, huh?

James Blackmon Jr had 22 points and 6 boards, but Nate Mason’s 30 points and 4 assists kept pace for Minnesota, and Akeem Springs followed his own shitty shot choice with :03.6 remaining to give Minnesota the winning bucket in a back-and-forth game.

WhiteSpeedReceiver: I have no idea what I just watched.

MNW: You watched the same shit these teams have been pulling all season. To wit:

  • Thomas Bryant commanded the ball and attention inside (10 boards), but shot just 3/14 and finished with 8 points.
  • Blackmon but the ball in the hoop, but needed 17 shots (and 11 threes!) to net 22 points.
  • Reggie Lynch, the human free space in Bingo, fouled out with just 6 points.
  • Jordan Murphy continued to flash his promise with an efficient 14 points and 15 boards.
  • Both teams turned the ball over in the double-digits.

For the Gophers, this has them two games away from putting themselves firmly in the NCAA Tournament. Home games against Michigan, Penn State, and Nebrasketball should get them there.

Michigan 64, #11 wisconsin 58

At least Northwestern has that good win to fall back on at wiscon—oh.

Despite Ethan Happ’s domination of the paint (he had 22 points, 6 boards, and an impressive 6 assists), Moritz Wagner’s ability to stretch the court (21 points on 3/6 shooting) meant the Wolverines could neutralize the badgers’ inside game and force them into a miserable night from deep (3/16).

A sizable deficit on the glass—long a Michigan bugaboo—made no difference, as the Maize assisted on 15 of their 23 baskets, got efficient play from Zac Irvin (18 on 6/12 shooting), and rode a largely 7-man rotation to the win. Further compounding issues for the badgers were the poor nights of Nigel Hayes (3/7 for 6 points), Vitto Brown, (0/5), and D’Mitrik Trice (2/15 and 1/6 from deep for 9).

Graham Filler: Michigan Hoops: 10 RPI Top 100. 3 Top 50 wins. They're trying to make the Tourney! Go Blue. Wagner is looking like a future NBA player after he presumably bulks up a bit. He's an inside/outside threat and plays good solid D. Tremendous little end-conference run by Mich.

So what does it all mean?

Doing a quick run-down of the various bracketology websites, here’s what you need to know:

  • Indiana will be choosing whether the NIT is worthy of their clappy presence.
  • Michigan State and Michigan have moved back off the bubble and into a 10-seed-type position.
  • Minnesota and wisconsin could both be 6-seeds in the Dance, if Jerry Palm is to be believed. Who woulda thunk it?
  • Only beating rutger by 19 moved Purdue down in Joe Lunardi’s estimation (to a 5-seed). This is why, rutger fans. This is why.
  • Holding fast at a 6-seed, Maryland now faces a stumbling wisconsin club at the Clearance Rack, followed by Minnesota, Iowa, @rutger, and Michigan State. Four wins and a Big Ten Tournament runner-up gets them how high? I’d bet a 4-line, unless they take a bad loss.
  • From Iowa commenter therealCatnuts, to me elsewhere:

21-10 (10-8), with only one quality OOC (home) win, RPI mid-50s

Does not sound like a tournament resume to me. It sounds like an Aaron White-led team that sits on the wrong side of the bubble after losing in the first round of the BTT to a jNW team they beat by 30 earlier in the year. Returning that favor would be hilarious, let’s do it.

Damningly accurate. It’s not The Year.