Oofda. Lots of basketball played. Games coming down to the last possession. Maryland holds pole position in the conference championship race, with...Penn State?...hot on their tails.
Turtles have tails, right?
Bracketology at that link right above; twelve Big Ten teams still in the race for the NCAA Tournament. Lot of fun here.
Tuesday, February 11
#9 Maryland Terrapins 72, Nebraska Cornhuskers 70
BigRedTwice: It was a surprisingly exciting game! My prediction that DJ would be upset with Maryland’s performance was correct, but everything else was wrong. The Huskers went on the road against a ranked team, and performed... well? It was amazing.
They did fall behind by a pretty large margin, as is their custom, but somehow managed to hang around for the duration of the game. As the minutes ticked down, they stunned the Maryland crowd—which had been unforgivingly chanting “Air Ball” whenever the Huskers had the ball since minute two or three of the game—into blessed silence. A couple of uncharacteristic missed free throws by Maryland (I swear Nebraska is contagious with these) gave the Huskers hope until the very end.
Unfortunately, they couldn’t quite pull it off—it would have been such a triumph for a long-suffering team! It also would have served Maryland right, because they probably looked right past Nebraska. But hopefully it was an inspiration to the Huskers anyway, and perhaps will spur them to greater heights when they return to Lincoln.
#13 Penn State Nittany Lions 88, Purdue Boilermakers 76
Boilerman31: Penn State couldn’t miss. All the balls bounced their way. Purdue decided to play like shit.
Now, if you’ll pardon me, I’m going to knock myself over the head with a crescent wrench. I’m sure it’ll feel better than that crap basketball game I watched.
Aaron Yorke: Unbelievable result as the Lions jumped out to an early lead with hot three-point shooting and held on with clutch free throw shooting. The Lions have had good shooting games before, but getting shots from Jamari Wheeler and Izaiah Brockington on the road was shocking.
Hopefully this is the game that makes Pat Chambers realize that Seth Lundy is a dude who can be counted on in big spots despite his youth.
Michigan State Spartans 70, #22 Illinois Fighting Illini 69
Thumpsaurus: Well, Illinois came out very confused, with Giorgi Bezhanishvili bricking threes and everyone shooting poorly f￼rom outside. Ayo Dosunmu rallied the troops in the second half to erase a 20 point deficit, with some pretty weird officiating quirks thrown in, and then it was a back and forth one point battle. MSU got a second chance dunk because THREE DUDES tried to block a layup and nobody went for the rebound, but with 7 seconds to go, here comes Ayo!
Then, the worst ending to a basketball game I can remember ensued. A missed shot would have been heartbreaking, but that’s just how it goes sometimes. Instead, Ayo never got the shot up because he slipped where they’d had their timeout a minute ago and his knee bent in several unnatural ways and he crumpled to the floor like Derrick Rose in the playoffs. It was dead silent.
By some miracle, there’s no structural damage to the knee. If the young man who’s given Illini fans hope for two years thinks it’s in his best interest to skip the rest of the year to make sure his knee is stable for the NBA draft, more power to him. He’s given so much to us already. I have a feeling, however, that he’ll return as soon as he’s 100%. He skipped the draft last year because he wanted to leave a legacy here....and also improve draft stock but the first thing is still real!
Still, a gut wrenching end to a game.
Andrew Kraszewski: The Spartans opted to go all MSU Night Shyamalan and played a fantastic first half, followed by an asstastic collapse after halftime powered in large part by Eppley exiling Winston to the bench with a couple of dicey calls.
The collapse and escape are the splashy impression from this game, but if Rocket Watts’ breakout signals he’s the one who will be a reliable third banana to Winston and Tillman, the stress will have been entirely worth it.
Wednesday, February 12
Thumpasaurus, the Upton Sinclair of rugster: welp, rugster’s impotence can be explained by a couple stats: 8 points scored by the frontcourt, 0 points for starting guard Mitch McConnell and only 28 rebounds. This is well short of what rugster aspires to in the Seth Pickaxe era. A late rally with some outside shooting was too little too late, as rugster just couldn’t stop the Wessons. Back to Hackensack to take on the Fighting Illini, unless they’re too scared to enter the RCA
MNW: Northwestern laid a complete egg at home against Michigan, not bothering to find Eli Brooks in transition or the half-court offense or really any time, not bothering to stop Jeff Jackson Simpson off the dribble, and generally (finally) looking like they’re ready for this season to be done. It appears the collapses against Purdue and Rutgers have finally broken this team’s spirit.
I mean, honestly, what do you do at this point? Miller Kopp, per GTom, is getting heavy treatment before games and is muddling through while attempting these bizarre 15-foot contested jumpers. Boo Buie is rushing because there is no player on this team that can create their own fucking shot. Ryan Young is getting swallowed up inside by bigger and better players like Jon Teske and Pete Nance is a complete non-factor.
So celebrate Jared Jones, I guess. 12 points, 4 boards, some semblance of a jump shot from the big man? Hell yeah. Great hair, too. Good for the kid.
I care about a team that is 6-17 (1-12 B1G), that Nebraska is about to pass in the Kenpom rankings (130 vs 131), and that appears to have finally given up. I am the idiot in all of this.
Thursday, February 13
Indiana Hoosiers 89, #21 Iowa Hawkeyes 77
Stewmonkey13: Not exactly sure how Iowa didn’t lose by 20+.
It seemed a lot like the Purdue game all over again, and on top of it, Iowa lost CJ Fredrick in about 25% into the game. Iowa losing CJ Fredrick hurts a TON. It’s duck tape and bailing wire as it is with Jordan Bohannon, Jack Nunge, and Pat McCaffery all out for the year, already. Then Cordell Pemsl gets stupid and suspended. So walk-on Riley Till was going to have to play meaningful minutes.
So when Fredrick went down that meant Iowa had to play another walk-on, Austin Ash, for a long stretch of meaningful minutes. On top of that, Indiana couldn’t miss (11/21 from 3).
I’m not sure this is a fade like we’ve seen in the past, it was a tough road game against a desperate team, and Iowa didn’t struggle at all against UNL. However, if Fredrick is out for an extended time (and it sounds like it was a bad injury), then I’m just not sure how much more this team can give.
Who had the worst week?
This poll is closed
Illinois loses Ayo, a basketball game
Iowa loses Frederick, a basketball game
Purdue takes a beating at home
Northwestern gives up
Anywho, lots of basketball still to be played. Some of it even matters! Here’s your hoops thread for the rest of the day. Schedule below, previews coming tomorrow morning. Bracketology here. Happy Valentine’s Day, etc., etc.