What a week of Big Ten basketball.
Both Top 5 teams in action went down, as the conference’s home teams remain a perfect 10/10 on their home court, and both Indiana and Iowa went on the road and claimed significant scalps on national TV.
Let’s get to it:
Penn State Nittany Lions 76, #4 Maryland Terrapins 69
DJ Carver: Game was over at 3:20 to go when Turgeon put Lindo back in.
Didn’t watch but the last seven minutes. It was a one possession game, and then Maryland went cold for six minutes from the field and kept Ricky Lindo in the game, making it 4v5 on offense and a liability on defense as Lamar Stevens immediately abused him.
I’d like to say this is a wake up call for Maryland but I’ve seen this show before. Turgeon has no idea how to motivate his teams. I don’t know how it is so unbelievably consistent that this team comes out flat and goes down double digits before realizing they’re playing a game. They are capable of being a top 5 team..if they would only play all 40 minutes.
Andrew K: How do you fuck up rotations with this roster? This was the only and I say only concern we expressed on the pod preseason—that Turgeon would find a way to stick his dick in a pencil sharpener with the sub patterns again.
DJ: He’s incapable of having a deep bench. He doesn’t know how to not use 10-11 players a game if he’s able. Also, the rotations are amazingly simple. Lindo shouldn’t see the floor with Donta Scott here. He should come out four around one, play Scott as the 4 if he needs another big and use the Mitchell twins to sub Smith out as needed to rest. Serrel Smith and Hakeem Hart should see spot minutes to rest the guards and there is your rotation!
Andrew K: Incredibly, the better his roster, the worse off he is.
DJ: Yes, you are so right. But don’t worry, we get a 7’2” guy back in January so he has even more to tinker with. Ugh, he needs to go, but that’s such a slippery slope on being so much worse.
And then it got better!
DJ: Are. You. Kidding. Me.
Mark Turgeon: "Guys, we've played six [games] in 13 [days.] That was a tough stretch for us, okay? So we haven't really had a lot of practice time — and I'm not making excuses, better team won — but we have like five plays that we can run."— Andy Kostka (@afkostka) December 11, 2019
Five plays? What in the actual fuck. Fire him. Now. What D1 coach has only five plays installed?
Stew: Is Maryland’s offense really mostly set plays?
DJ: Well, I’m really not sure what you’d call our offense. Ideally we are playing dribble drive in transition, so concepts would work.In reality we are still too slow up the floor to play like that so we need set plays. It appears Turgeon doesn’t have many, which explains Anthony Cowan, Jr iso-ball all the time.
I dunno, I’m sure some of this is overreaction to losing yet again at penn state when we should win the game but also the players reflect him. There was zero urgency out of Ayala to get up the floor with the ball with under two to go. I’m also so tired of starting so ridiculously slow. The team ultimately reacts when he switches to zone or press. Might consider starting in that to get them going.
There also seems to be a fundamental lack of understanding of what the offense is. Sometimes they play fast and in transition and it’s beautiful. Other times they walk up the floor and play iso-ball and it’s god awful go watch unless they’re hitting shots.
Indiana Hoosiers 57, UConn Huskies 54
MNW: Did you watch this game? I’m so sorry. There’s a 1-800 number you can call at the bottom of this article to get some help immediately.
Candystripes: As someone who did watch this game, MNW’s not really wrong here. This was an ugly display of basketball that Indiana happened to come out on the right end of. The major highlight, if you’re an IU fan, was that Rob Phinisee finally got out on the court for some real minutes. He’s been struggling with injury for most of the year, and any progress on that front is something to be cheered.
MNW: It helps when Geo Baker actually has a good night (22 points on 9/18 shooting), rather than a clang-and-bang kind of night. Rutgers absolutely dominated the glass (37.8% oreb versus 10.3% allowed), and an efficient night from Kobe King couldn’t make up for almost everyone else for the badgers playing like ass.
The Knights used lots of heavy ball pressure on the badger guards, including just waiting for them to in-bound it to the corner guy against that 1-2-1-1 press. The badgers had no answers for it.
Stew: rutger is bad, but you can see what they’re trying to do, and I kinda dig it.
Boilerman: Has Wisconsin won in the RAC yet? 1-2 since they joined the B1G. Not great, Badgers. Make it 1-3.
MC ClapYoHandz: No D’Mitrik Trice and no Nate Reuvers makes for a tough experience. I know they were out there, but they didn’t play.
Illinois Fighting Illini 71, #5 Michigan Wolverines 62
Despite having a near meltdown when Illinois briefly looked like it was going to give the game back to the Wolverines (at one point Kipper Nichols was the target of his ire), Thump and the Illini prevailed and handled it nicely. And, mostly, this happened:
I don’t think you are supposed to do that pic.twitter.com/8NQ3z637a5— Bryan Mac (@Bry_Mac) December 12, 2019
Thump: Kofi Cockburn basically did a much more serious version of the time Carlos Boozer punched an official in the nuts on a fistpump.
Stew: He’s gonna be a problem.
Thump: God, I thought he was gonna need at least a year to adjust. He’s not gonna be here past this year if this keeps up.
Andrew K: I don’t know how much Illinois runs P&R with him but if the answer is more than not at all, he’d be a fringe lottery guy. Teams will see Clint Capela.
Stew: Not sure what his skill set is, but he looks a bit like Bruno Fernando. Like most centers look a bit stretched out, but he looks like a dude who’s 6’5” and put together, but he’s just bigger.
Iowa Hawkeyes 84, Iowa State Cyclones 68
Luka Garza got a tooth knocked out and scored 21 points on 8/13 shooting, CJ Fredrick pitched in 11 points on three triples, and outside a big night from Tyrese Haliburton, Iowa State looked like it wanted no part of the Hawkeyes, even on their home court. It’s Iowa’s first win in Ames since 2002, and the Hawkeyes now have the top-rated offense in Kenpom.
Oh, and Jordan Bohannon did this:
Shine on, state of Iowa. Shine on.
Stew: It’s a Hawkeye state! It’s fairly rare to get a win on the road in a tough environment. Indeed the Big Ten is 10-0 in favor of home teams thus far. So getting the first win at Hilton in 16 years is pretty great.
Joe Wieskamp and Luka Garza led the way, while Joe Toussaint and Connor McCaffery were capable distributors and played real, actual defense.
But the story, despite some pedestrian numbers, is Jordan Bohannon. He hasn’t looked most of the season so far following his hip surgery over the summer. And while he played the villain to the Cyclone crowd, closing out the game with some free throws and blowing a kiss to the arena, it also certainly looked and felt like he was playing in his last game of the season. This is almost certainly for the best. He’ll be back next season to break Jon Diebler’s conference 3 point record.
Creighton: The Hawkeyes appear to be much, much, much better than I was mentally preparing myself for this season. They’ve beaten the defending NCAA tournament runners-up, have a transitive win over Louisville, and the three teams they’ve lost to have a combined record of 27-3.
It’s a shame that Bohannon will most likely be shut down for the rest of the season, but he clearly hasn’t been playing anywhere near 100%. It’s going to hurt the depth of Iowa’s rotation more than anything. Time to give Joe Toussaint a lot more minutes and see how far Luka Garza can take a team that will now be missing two starters for the rest of the year.
Best mid-week win?
This poll is closed
Penn State over Maryland
Illinois Cockburns Michigan upside the head
Iowa dispels Hilton Magic
Indiana scuffles past UConn
Rutgers clangs and bangs wisconsin