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Big Ten Basketball Recaps, Reactions: Rutgers, Nebraska pull off home upsets

A Top 15 win for Maryland, an escape act for Michigan, and a facepalm for Iowa. The week that was in Big Ten basketball:

NCAA Basketball: Ohio State at Maryland Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Tuesday, January 7

#12 Maryland Terrapins 67, #11 Ohio State Buckeyes 55

BrianB2: Has Maryland righted the ship? Or is Ohio State officially falling off a cliff? As a Maryland fan, you all know I am assuming the latter. After all, we had 1 point six minutes into the game. Every time I think a Turgeon team can’t possibly start any slower than they did in the previous game, they go and do something brilliantly beautiful like that. If every team we face this season shoots 31% from the field despite getting open looks, we should be all set.

DJ Carver: I disagree with Brian here. Maryland starts slow, every game, but end up getting it together with solid defense. This time, Maryland played solid defense from the start so they were only down 6-1, 6 minutes in. Maryland continued their solid defense but heated up from the field to take the lead and never look back. Maryland’s a Top 10 defensive team and if they can keep that up, it’ll make up for their offensive ineptness to start games.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights 72, #20 Penn State Nittany Lions 61

In front of a packed house, with all the momentum behind them, Rutgers did the damn thing.

The Knights’ aggressive defense and rebounding have finally arrived to the point that it didn’t matter their shooting was its usual abysmal level—Ron Harper, Jr. got to the line repeatedly for the majority of his 22 points (a perfect 12/12 FT night), and Rutgers’ length and experience held off Penn State—paced by Myreon Jones’ stellar night but let down by an awful bench showing—to get a second signature win. Great for Steve Pikiell’s ability to recruit the East Coast against Seton Hall and Penn State, and setting up an actually-important showdown with Illinois.

My word.

Nebraska Cornhuskers 76, Iowa Hawkeyes 70

Stewmonkey13: Iowa played like they just lost an intense game in the sweltering heat of the Palestra, half the country away, just 3 days prior. Iowa played with some tired legs, and without C.J. Frederick couldn’t run UNL off the 3 pt line, while shooting a pathetic 4/33 from deep.

In a 6 point game, that’s more than the difference.

BigRedTwice: We won!!!! Iowa lost!!! Hahaha.

The Huskers had exactly the kind of game they needed to after their crappy performance against Rutgers. They had a plan, and played aggressively and annoyingly (to Iowa players) which might be a good game plan going forward in a conference where they will always be undersized. The Icelandic Terror, Thor Thorbjarnnasson (or something like that) had an incredible game, becoming a THORn in Iowa’s side (h/t to Creighton for that one).

As I heard at length after this one, Iowa was super injured so I guess it barely counts or whatever, but this still felt like a big step for the Huskers to carry out a plan successfully and to close a game. They’ve got a game against Northwestern next, and thus a chance to get themselves on a bit of a roll.

Wednesday, January 8

Indiana Hoosiers 66, Northwestern Wildcats 62

Candystripes: I paid no attention to IU-Northwestern, and from the sounds of it, the team didn’t pay too much attention to it either. Fortunately, they showed up in just enough time to make this a near-miss win instead of a postseason killing L.

MNW: When Northwestern erased a 10-point deficit before halftime and roared to a 10-point lead of their own after a Pat Spencer jumper with 12 minutes to go, you could’ve been forgiven for believing in this one.

When Indiana took a brief lead that Miller Kopp promptly answered with a go-ahead three with a couple minutes to go, you should’ve known how it was going to end.

Because then Northwestern went silent.

Ultimately there’s no real point in pointing fingers anywhere—the ‘Cats were once again unable to lock down the defensive glass (Indiana grabbed a stupid 15 offensive boards on 39 misses), Justin Smith and Trayce Jackson-Davis got into the lane and allowed themselves and Al Durham to make this a free-throw shooting contest, and the rest is history.

Someday they’ll win one of these.

Illinois Fighting Illini 71, wisconsin badgers 70

Thumpasaurus: In a game oddly reminiscent of the football version of this matchup, the Illini finally put to rest the unspeakably embarrassing 15-game losing streak to Wisconsin that survived John Groce’s entire tenure. I can’t stress this enough: Demetri McCamey started our last win against them.

All through the game Wisconsin seemed to have an insurmountable six point lead or so. The Illini found it difficult to close the gap due to factors such as some rather incredible officiating and a poor shooting night from Trent Frazier. Late in the game though, Alan Griffin closed the gap with the clutch three point shooting Illinois has sorely lacked.See if you can explain Alan Griffin. His skills are three point shooting and offensive rebounding. Underwood refuses to start him, instead preferring Da’Monte Williams’ skillset of on-ball defense and missing shots you can’t believe a D1 player could miss.

Anyway, Ayo Dosunmu capped off yet another efficient game with a three point dagger despite Davison hooking him as he dribbled to the top of the key. Fortunately for Davison, he will not miss any time with a pride injury because when you have no shame, your pride is invulnerable.

This team is finally figuring out how to offense again.

Thursday, January 9

#8 Michigan State Spartans 74, Minnesota Golden Gophers 58

Andrew K: Cassius Winston isn’t always a superhuman. Looking at his stat line against Minnesota, it’s easy to be impressed. But with just under 8 minutes, the shot clock dwindling, and Minnesota within 8, he pulled up for a 3 that felt like it put the game away. If that wasn’t the moment, there was the driving scoop, followed by a long pull up 2 heading into the U4, take your pick.

Thursday was also a reminder of exactly what Xavier Tillman is capable of, as he essentially matched Oturu’s production on sharper efficiency, and in such a way that MSU’s offense didn’t turn into iso ball on his possessions. Oturu’s a force on the block, but the shooters around him really came up short, especially with Marcus Carr exiled to Foulistan.

After a romp over Michigan that he clearly enjoyed, Izzo is probably pleased to have conceded offensive rebounds and unforced turnovers to grouse about. The homestand ends now, and it’s off to Mackey for presumably Purdue’s best game of the year.

#19 Michigan Wolverines 84, Purdue Boilermakers 78 (OT)

Boilerman31: Another Double OT game. Unfortunately for the Boilers, they were on the wrong side of this one.

Compared to the debacle in Champaign, I’ll take it. I was ready to write this game off when Matt Haarms went down but then Trevion Williams showed up. At one point, he had every Purdue field goal for over 17 minutes, finishing with 36 points and 20 boards. Isaiah Thompson also showed up, playing significant minutes and chipping in 14.

Fatigue will be a concern with Sparty coming to town Sunday, but this team showed some fight. I’ll take it.


Who had the best week in Big Ten hoops?

This poll is closed

  • 52%
    Rutgers upsets Penn State at home
    (58 votes)
  • 11%
    Maryland beats #11 OSU
    (13 votes)
  • 31%
    Illinois gets off the Kohl Center schnide
    (35 votes)
  • 3%
    Other (comments!)
    (4 votes)
110 votes total Vote Now