What a solid weekend of hoops for the Big Ten. Michigan and Michigan State continued their dominance of the lower half of the conference while Maryland has surged ahead of the murky 2nd tier of the Big Ten with four straight conference wins. On the other hand, Nebraska, Wisconsin, and Ohio State appear to be on the wrong end of the scale there. All three teams are very good but have not been able to pull out wins in the conference to keep up with the rest (so far). B1G in the Top 25:
#23 Iowa Hawkeyes
#25 Indiana Hoosiers
Nebraska, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Minnesota, and Purdue all received votes.
Maryland 78, #22 Indiana 75
DJ: A tale of two halves. Indiana opened up red hot against Maryland on Friday night, at one point doubling up the Terrapins 28-14 as Maryland missed open shot after open shot and worked through constant post pressure on big men Bruno Fernando and Jalen Smith. From the U4 timeout on in the first half on, Maryland’s intensity increased and they cut the deficit to 8 at half. After only dropping 5/5 in the first half, Bruno Fernando errupted for 20/8 in the 2nd half to finish with an impressive 25/13 stat line while Anthony Cowan continued his pattern of second half surges to power Maryland back over Indiana. Cowan and Fernando combined to spark multiple runs in the 2nd half, notably a 16-0 run in the 2nd half to take the lead for the first time and they didn’t let up until 0:00 was left on the clock.
C4B: I have no idea how Indiana managed to throw away their game against Maryland, but it sounded bad and I don’t really want to revisit it when I only heard a little bit of the second half anyway.
Purdue 84, Wisconsin 80 (OT)
Boilerman: Purdue went into Madison and finally got their first road win of the season. Carsen Edwards led the way with 36 and Trevion Williams, getting his first start, was a point shy of a double-double chipping in 9 while grabbing 11 rebounds. The Boilers finally appeared to have some continuity and a workable starting five. The real story though, continues to be defense. On a night when the refs seemed to be non-existant at times, the Boilers played with some physicality and forced 17 turnovers. These turned out to be crucial as they needed the extra possessions to overcome Wisconsin’s hot shooting and Williams’ poor free throw performance (1/6, woof). Purdue probably should’ve won in regulation but Matt Painter decided to sit on his two remaining timeouts leaving Carsen to jack up an airball with 3 seconds left. At this point though, Purdue is going to need some road W’s to secure a spot in the dance and this certainly helped.
Beez: Wisconsin gave Purdue 34 extra possessions, shot 58% on FTs, and somehow still only lost in overtime. This team is not good at all right now, losing two home games against two middling at best B1G teams, but I guess the utter lack of good fundamentals is just the norm under Gard.
Oh and like the football team, the basketball team seems on track to waste the performances of the best player in the B1G and one of the best in the country. Woooo
Iowa 72, #16 Ohio State 62
Stew: The first half was horrendously ugly, as Iowa went down 28-24 with both teams shooting under 40% from the field. The bright spot being that Iowa had managed to get almost the entire OSU team in foul trouble, including Kaleb Wessen getting two fouls in the first 3 minutes of the game.
In the second half, Iowa continued to attack the rim through the post, with Luka Garza and Tyler Cook leading the team with 16 and 15 points, respectively. Meanwhile, Iowa actually played some defense holding the mighty Wessen brothers to 15 total points in 41 combined minutes, while getting them to foul 4 times apiece. Ohio State just couldn’t figure out what to do against the zone, and Iowa pulled away.
The scary news, though, is that Tyler Cook suffered what looked like an ankle injury during the second half, and that would be a big blow if he were to miss significant time.
Minnesota 88, Rutger 70
WSR: Amir Coffey is amazing. 29 points for the Jr from Hopkin on 10/14 shooting to go with 3 boards and 4 assists in the Gophers 88-70 throttling of Rutgers Saturday on the Barn. Amir currently leads the B1G in PPG in conference games with 23.4, just ahead of Romeo Langford. The offense was really clicking with a lineup of Isaiah Washington, Dupree McBrayer, Coffey, Jordan Murphy, and Daniel Oturu before Rutgers G Montez Mathis started a little flareup with Washington with about 4 minutes to play. Both players and an assistant coach from each team got to hit the showers early, and the Gophers coasted to the finish.
#2 Michigan 80, Northwestern 60
MNW: Jon Teske (of all fucking people!) could not miss. He hit three straight three-point attempts to go with Zavier Simpson--ZAVIER FUCKING SIMPSON, SHOOTING 28% FROM DEEP ON THE YEAR--going 5/10 from deep. Sure. That’s fine. Whatever. Michigan generally just bullied Northwestern, the low point coming when Northwestern, on its first possession of the second half after a Michigan made basket, did not have anyone in the backcourt to take the inbounds pass and burned a TO in the process.
This wasn’t fun, but the team at least showed some heart. Dererk Pardon was a damn hero inside (though why the threes, buddy), and even if Anthony Gaines didn’t have his shot falling, he played hard. I’ll take energy and an offense worth watching over the stale bullshit that doomed them against Iowa.
Oh yeah, and Vic Law is hurt and everything is still awful.
#6 Michigan State 71, Penn State 56
Andrew: Even though they’re now missing Kyle Ahrens in addition to Josh Langford with injury and Cassius Winston got himself into foul trouble, MSU had little trouble disposing of cold-shooting Penn State on the road. I would have to double-check to be sure, but after it went from tied at 10 to a 20-10 MSU advantage, I’m not sure it was ever a single-point lead again. Aaron Henry takes significant steps forward every game, and with the short bench on the wing, Gabe Brown and even Foster Loyer made some useful contributions. This freshman class didn’t have the ready-made stars of the last couple classes, but there may be some capable guys here when their time comes.
Open thread, tonight only:
Nebraska at #25 Indiana (-2) || 6:30pm ET || FS1
Nebraska is making the trip to Bloomington for an early week matchup against #25 Indiana. This is both a chance for both teams to gain a much needed conference win for different raesons. Nebraska has been on the wrong end of a few close games that have put them at 2-4 in conference despite Top 25 stats and a Top 25 resume. Indiana needs a win to keep up with the huge clog of teams at 3-2 in conference. Indiana matches up well with Nebraska but will need to find someone to guard Isaac Copeland Jr as he’s a much better outside threat from the PF position than they’ve faced so far.
Wisconsin at #19 Maryland (-3.5) || 8:30pm ET || FS1
Wisconsin made it into Baltimore before the snow hit, so this game is still a go. Maryland is coming off five straight wins since their close loss to Seton Hall before Christmas, rising to #19 in the polls that came out today. Wisconsin poses a different test for Maryland with their three point scoring and Ethan Happ inside. Look for Maryland to try to go inside early and often to Bruno Fernando to try to get Happ in foul trouble while using Anthony Cowan and Darryl Morsel to combat Trice and Davison on the outside.