Because of course it did, the two powers in Big Ten basketball looked at each other, said “hold my beer,” and attempted to drop games to opponents they should have bullied in two very different ways.
Tuesday, January 9
Just what is a foul? No one knows, #5 Purdue survives Michigan, 70-69.
PU: Carsen Edwards (19 pts on 4/6 3pt shooting, 5 reb)
UM: Charles Matthews (14 pts, 7 reb)
Boilerman31: Purdue escaped thanks to a 6-hourish review and a soft foul call. The lack of consistency across the full 40 minutes is still maddening. Steal the W and get the hell out of Dodge.
GF: Meeeeeeechigan cannot be that upset about losing to Purdue (I mean, they should be upset, but let’s be big picture here). The Wolverines played decently at home and should’ve picked up the big win against a Top 5 team, alas they choked it away thanks to some terrible late possessions.
I am not kidding - Michigan outrebounded Purdue, 36-29. (Insert confusedglance gif). It looks like the Wolverines are playing with real toughness and some zeal on the defensive side of the ball.
Indiana outlasts Penn State, 74-70
IU: Juwan Morgan (21 pts, 11 reb)
PSU: Tony Carr (28 pts)
Aaron Yorke: Penn State could have used Josh Reaves on Tuesday night in Bloomington, but the junior sat out due to what the university is calling “academic issues.” As a result, the Lions lost to Indiana 74-70 despite shooting 50 percent from the field. Reaves’s ability to create havoc on defense would have come in handy, as Penn State forced only nine turnovers and got no blocked shots from Mike Watkins.
It was another missed opportunity for Tony Carr and company to pick up a big road win against the Big Ten’s squishy middle.
The cupboard’s bare in madison: Nebraska grits it out, 63-59
UNL: James Palmer Jr. (18 pts, 5 reb)
uw: Ethan Happ (19 pts, 11 reb, 1/6 FT)
BigRedTwice: I almost prefaced this with noting that Wisconsin is very bad (and they are). But you know what? I’m not cheapening Nebraska’s win. One team came to play, and it wasn’t the Badgers. Nebraska played an excellent first half, an okay second half, and had a great night of free throws. In spite of making it scarier than it needed to be at the end, the Huskers earned this win.
And you know what? Bad or not, it’s always GREAT to get a win over the Badgers.
Wednesday, January 10
#4 Michigan State determined to make me look silly, 76-72 (OT) over rutger
MSU: Nick Ward (17 pts, 10 reb)
ru: Corey Sanders (22 pts, 6 reb)
Andrew K: MSU’s abrupt swoon continued against Rutgers, but fortunately the Scarlet Nuggets were too offensively challenged to take advantage and the Spartans escaped in OT. One presumes/hopes/prays seeing the bilious outfits of Michigan will bring out the best in them, as their conference champ and one-seed ambitions can’t take another loss anytime soon.
‘Cats scratch back, BMac drops dimes, Minnesota bad: 83-60
NU: Bryant McIntosh (11 pts, 16 ast, 5 reb)
MN: Jordan Murphy (8 pts, 2 reb)
...but with more blood.
MNW: Bryant McIntosh still doesn’t have his shot, but that doesn’t matter if literally everyone else on the ‘Cats roster does and BMac is spreading it like herpes at a Michigan football party.
The silliness of my Minnesota colleague aside, Northwestern should’ve won this one, and won it by a decent margin. Amir Coffey is out indefinitely, Reggie Lynch appears to be a shitty human being (and fuck Ryan Pacyga for that awful Japanese internment metaphor), and once Jordan Murphy got in foul trouble, this one was all but over.
But! There were highlights, like this stupid (and correct!) technical earned by Gavin Skelly:
Technical fouls are usually interesting. But we bet you haven't seen many cooler techs than this solo putback dunk from @NUMensBball's @gavin_skelly.— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) January 11, 2018
(And no, the dunk didn't count.) pic.twitter.com/jKHThD2TlN
Anyways, yeah. Nate Mason was awful and took a technical of his own to collect his fifth foul (which it looked like he took so he wouldn’t have to play anymore), Dupree McBrayer was the only Gopher with a pulse, and Gaston Diedhiou would be overmatched by centers in the Missota Conference.
Meanwhile the freshly-coiffed Scottie Lindsey remembered he could shoot the basketball (8/14 for 22), Aaron Falzon found lots of space in front of the Gophers’ D to spot up for threes (15 pts on 3/5 from deep), and Dererk Pardon racked up another double-double (13 and 12). Look for that Northwestern zone defense to keep popping up like Chris Collins’ collar out of his suit jacket. What a nice night to remember Bill Carmody.
Also, when double-checking stats on this game, I searched “Northwestern Minnesota boxscore,” and of course something different came up.
See you at lunch today, WSR.
Thursday, January 11
So...this is happening? Ohio State tips turtles, 91-69
OSU: Keita Bates-Diop (26 pts, 8 reb)
MD: Michael Cekovsky (18 pts, 5 reb)
DJ: Bates-Diop shot 6-8 from 3, OSU 17-29 overall, and fouls seemed lopsided. Perhaps that’s what Iowa felt like Sunday.
Either way, Maryland couldn’t keep up with a red hot OSU team from 3 while trying to figure out how to play without Justin Jackson, Ivan Bender, and Dion Wiley.
[generic “Illinois blew it” headline]: Iowa storms back, 104-97 (OT)
IA: Tyler Cook (21 pts, 13 reb)
IL: Trent Frazier (21 pts on 7/11 from deep)
Stew: Iowa didn’t lose!!
Tale of two halves. In the first half Iowa gave up 54 points in a half to the 13th best offense (per KenPom) in the conference. Illinois shot 9/15 from 3, and it didn’t seem absurd because how open they were. At one point Iowa was down 20.
In the second Iowa shortened the rotation (seriously going 11 deep is a bit absurd) used it’s pretty massive size advantage and pounded the ball inside. Luka Garza and Tyler Cook were monsters and caused Illinois massive foul trouble. And towards the end of regulation Iowa had stormed back and taken the lead. However, a desperation 3 forced OT (foul up 3, dammit!).
In OT Iowa kept on going inside, and Illinois just couldn’t keep up. It was the first time in over 20 years that Iowa had scored over 100 in conference play, and first time in about 30 years since they’ve come back from 20 in conference play. There were 201 points scored in this game. I hope that gave Bo a heart attack.
Thump: Worst team in the league.
Who’s your mid-week MVP?
This poll is closed
Purdue’s Carsen Edwards
Indiana’s Juwan Morgan
wisconsin’s Ethan Happ
MSU’s Nick Ward
NU’s Bryant McIntosh
OSU’s Keita Bates-Diop
Iowa’s Tyler Cook
Another Iowa player
Someone completely different