After our brief stint of conference play, it’s back to that weird bubble of non-conference again during the holidays before the meat of the conference slate arrives in January. That doesn’t mean it’s all bad basketball though: Wisconsin took on Marquette, Michigan State matched up with Florida, and Maryland took on Loyola-Chicago, coming off of a final four season. Here is the roundup:
#5 Michigan Wolverines 89, South Carolina Gamecocks 78
#10 Michigan State Spartans 63, Florida Gators 59
Andrew: Michigan State played a Florida team that specializes in turning its opponents over, Ruh roh. Fortunately, for all of their springy athletes, Florida did not have anyone that could effectively check Nick Ward or Xavier Tillman on the block, and both feasted even though MSUs perimeter shooting continued to lag. Florida ain’t what it was under Billy Donovan, but they still have dudes and it was still a true road game, which MSU handled marginally better than their trip to Louisville. Passing Grade.
#12 Wisconsin Badgers 69, Marquette Golden Eagles 74
Beezer: Wisconsin lost an awful game at Marquette, going to overtime and eventually falling apart in a game where Happ got a career high 34 points on 16/21 shooting but the team shot under 50% from the line. Just like last year, the team has been flirting with danger by being such a bad free throw shooting team (3 games under 50% already), and it finally caught up with them.
Happ had another double double and is really, really good, but for the first time all season the rest of the team was totally incapable of helping him out.
WSR: But at least Brad Davison is a great humanitarian that’s raising awareness of the importance of random checks for testicular cancer.
#23 Maryland Terrapins 55, Loyola-Chicago Ramblers 41
DJ: In a game where both of Maryland’s talented big men in Bruno Fernando and Jalen Smith sat out with foul trouble all game, Maryland turned in what is arguably their best defensive effort of the season when they held the Ramblers to a miserable 41 point outing. Loyola came out ready to make this a defensive outing but surprisngly the Terps answered the test with better defense of their own. Anthony Cowan led the way with 17 points but more importantly the Terrapin bench and freshmen stepped up without Fernando and Smith there to lead the way inside to keep the scoring going to get the win.
#24 Nebraska Cornhuskers 94, Creighton Blue Jays 75
BRT: What a great bounceback by the Huskers after falling to Minnesota on the road last week. In-state opponent Creighton has been on the right side of this matchup for YEARS, regularly pushing around/murdering the Huskers--the Blue Jays won the previous seven meetings, and this was the largest margin of victory for the Huskers since 1997, which, as we are often reminded around here, was a long, long time ago.
This time, Creighton led for only 27 seconds, and then Nebraska started pouring it on. Strange times when there’s only one ranked team in the state completely punking the other D-1 bball team---and it’s Nebraska. This one was fun and cathartic for Husker fans, and presumably, for the team as well.
Northwestern Wildcats 75, Depaul Blue Demons 68
Thump: I was not aware we had a game today but I see we did everything we could do piss it away at the end.
DJ: Confirmed, I watched as you all pissed that shit away almost at the end to the point where it became a foulfest and made me miss the first 10 minutes or so of the MD game. My son also pointed out that your coach was absolutely losing it on his players and had no idea why someone would yell so much at players that he should be coaching.
Penn State Nittany Lions 76, Colgate Rebels 65
WSR: The Gophers were just way too much for poor Arkansas State. The starters jumped out to a 21-2 lead and never looked back, but Pitino is still struggling at times to figure out the best rotations and there were some...adventures when Jordan Murphy, Amir Coffey, Oturu, Kalscheur, and McBrayer aren’t out there together.
Purdue 68, Texas 72
Way to not get the memo that the rest of the conference was playing on Saturday guys. Also boilerman opted to go to the Bears game over watching this, which appears to have been a good decision.