20 games up, 20 games down. Another B1G conference season is in the books, Michigan State and Purdue were garbage and everyone else going down the standings was progressively more garbage. Let’s take a look at who particularly disappointed over the weekend before moving full steam ahead into tournament play.
#24 Maryland Terrapins 69 (nice), Minnesota Golden Gophers 60
DJ Carver: Did not watch, did trivia night instead. It was described to me as a very Turdgeon way to win by 9 points. This means we were up big and made fans stress and panic at the end as we attempted to derp the game away.
#9 Michigan State Spartans 75, #7 Michigan Wolverines 63
Andrew Krabappelski: You’d be forgiven if, watching Michigan-MSU 2, you thought ESPN was just re-airing the first matchup. Michigan came out hot, MSU looked out of sorts offensively, but it was close enough at halftime that Izzo’s adjustments again ground Michigan down and led to a comfortable win. Iggy Brazdeikis was the story early, but committed some really boneheaded fouls to remove himself from the game, which kept MSU in it. The second half was Winston replaying his Crisler Symphony of hesitation dribbles into an array of floaters and kickouts. I’ll admit I was very surprised Beilein didn’t have a better answer for MSU once again switching everything defensively, which resulted in the comical sight of Winston frequently matching up with Jon Teske, a thing which somehow did not disadvantage MSU.
Postscript: I’m sure Wolverine Nation is convinced that, because they aren’t normally called for fouls, it’s somehow incorrect that Brazdeikis sat his ass down for the last time with 5 minutes left. That’s what happens when you contest rebounds you already lost and make contact. But go ahead and enter it in the Compendium of Wolverine Excuses, because as we all know, Michigan never loses. They merely run out of time. We’ll just be over here raising this banner.
#11 Purdue Boilermakers 70, Northwestern Wildcats 57
MNWildcat: Northwestern was competitive with Purdue but ultimately couldn’t get it done. Vic Law got hurt when Carsen Edwards played a curious brand of defense involving sticking his leg out rather than moving his feet. We’re still the 14-seed; we were always going to be the 14-seed. Moving on.
Boilerman31: Purdue did what it needed to clinch its 24th B1G title. Carsen Edwards’ struggles away from Mackey continued, going 6/18 from the field, including chucking 3/10 from deep. The good news, he didn’t take two more shots. Purdue’s win percentage goes way down when he shoots more than 19 times. This was largely thanks to Matt Haarms and Nojel Eastern playing well enough that Carsen didn’t need to go into Heroball mode.
Side note: I hated to see Vic Law go down like that. He was a key piece of Northwestern’s emergence two years ago and was fun to watch.
Purdue is still very much a band of misfits that will frustrate many teams on any given night. It will be interesting to see what this team is capable of in tournament mode.
#21 Wisconsin Badgers 73, Ohio State Buckeyes 67 (OT)
MC ClapYoHandz: Wisconsin thoroughly dominated on both ends of the floor throughout this standard, regulation 33-minute game. That’s all. Nothing else to see here folks.
But for real, if you had told me that Khalil Iverson would go 10/14 on the day and this game would still go to overtime I wouldn’t believe you. At the eight-minute timeout someone handed the Badgers a binder and said, “Here, these are the 216 things you have to do, consecutively, to blow this lead.” And they were like “Yeah yeah thanks for the intel we’ll take it from here,” and then followed the binder religiously. Somehow a win still came of it.
And with that, guess what! Everyone’s favorite streak has risen from the ashes and Wisconsin has begun finishing top 4 in the conference again. Finally, some normalcy.
Perhaps the best moment of this one came from senior fan favorite Deivis Zemgulis:
Thumpasaurus: We’re still shitty. If you play a defensive scheme that tires everyone out early in the second half, it might behoove you to, I dunno, rotate in different players occasionally.
ZuzuRU: We forgot what defense is. And I think the Penn State game was still hurting. In fact, I think this whole season hurt because it was so close to being so much more and that painful concept showed up in this game.
Nebraska Cornhuskers 93, Iowa Hawkeyes 91 (OT)
StewMonkey13: I’ll have more on this in a stand alone piece, but this game wasn’t at all surprising. Iowa blew a 16 point lead in the second half. They played shitty defense and awful offense. They have 2 more games left this season.
BRT: I thought I knew the ending to this game. Nebraska, short-handed and discouraged, would hang around, maybe go on one final surge, and then fade down the stretch into a 10-15 point loss. Down 16 in the second half, all was proceeding according to script.
But the Husker seniors decided they simply were not going to let their last game at PBA be a loss. With 1:38 left, the Huskers were down by 7... and then decided they weren’t going to do that. Improbably, they forced the game into overtime, even as they lost their two best bigs to fouls, Isaiah Roby and Tanner Borchardt. Somehow, in 38 seconds, the Huskers scored 16 points.
Taking it to overtime would have been fairly impressive in and of itself given the shape of this team at the moment. But then, they went ahead and won on top of it all. For once, the shots fell when they needed to. You could feel how much this team wanted to make this victory happen, and they found a way to get it done.
Much will be made of Iowa’s failures here, and how it’s just another post-January fail for the Hawkeyes. Maybe so. But watching the final few minutes of this one and overtime, it’s hard to argue that this was the result of anything other than the Huskers simply refusing to lose another game, refusing to lose the seniors’ final game in Lincoln. It was an absolutely gutsy performance, resulting in a quasi-miraculous win for a team that was very, very short on miracles this season. What a great send-off for the seniors.
Which team should be most embarrassed with their performance over the weekend?
This poll is closed