Woo! The B1G went 5-0 on the 2nd day of Feast Week. These games included a win over a ranked opponent (Houston), three former B1G coaches whom many of us miss having around (Bring Back Tom Crean Indiana!), and a couple of Tigers. Just don’t look at the actual game flow for these (exception being Indiana) as they weren’t all that pretty. Northwestern and Illinois get a bronze level participation trophies from Hotels dot com and Roman. Wisconsin will go for the win in the Maui Jim Las Vegas Invitational on Wednesday.
In non-B1G news, #1 Gonzaga obliterated #2 UCLA - which means so long as Purdue doesn’t stumble against Nebraska-Omaha they could be looking at the #2 spot in the rankings - or maybe even #1 if Duke beats Zaga (although I’m pretty sure Duke would just leapfrog Purdue because the poll voters are bad people). Below are your recaps. Previews later. In honor of Tom Crean, post your favorite Tom Crean gifs in the comments.
Wisconsin Badgers 65, #12 Houston Cougars 63
BoilerUp89: Wisconsin got off to a hot start against the 12th ranked Cougars and only trailed by 2. Wait, no ... it was Jonathan Davis that only trailed Houston by 2. At the half, the score was Houston 20, Davis 18, rest of Wisconsin 22. Davis would end up with 30 points, 4 steals, 2 blocks, and 4 rebounds.
After doubling up Houston in the first half, Wisconsin went back into their typical point/minute offense and tried to bleed clock for an entire half. This resulted in several excellent air balls by Brad Davison and a Houston comeback. Sadly for Iowa fans, when Houston got a rebound with 6 seconds and only down 2, their player forget about the clock and attempted a pass instead of a shot as time expired. Former Indiana coach Kelvin Sampson sat on his timeout and continued the long tradition of Indiana coaches losing to Wisconsin basketball.
Next up: undefeated and slower tempo team than the Badgers, St. Mary’s Gaels for the Maui Jim Las Vegas Invitational
Kind of...: Let’s count the ways UW’s win yesterday was encouraging.
- UW beat the #12 team in the country on a neutral court. Won’t hurt in March.
- Davis’s performance makes it easy for some random committee to conclude that the home loss to Providence (w/o Davis) can be safely discounted. Won’t hurt in March.
- More importantly, UW is actually ahead of schedule. Steven Crowl is still developing, and Brad Davison can be a streaky shooter, but, if you can squint, you can see a starting lineup with three scoring options. Tyler Wahl continues to round out his Swiss Army knife game, and Chucky Hepburn, while not lighting the world on fire, is contributing very good defense, and playing just fine for the first true freshman to start game 1 since Devin Harris.
Finally, Greg Gard clearly has confidence going 10 deep. The Badgers are unlikely to challenge for the conference title, or even a double bye, but among teams picked in that 6-12 range, they’ve certainly looked better than most.
Northwestern Wildcats 78, Georgia Bulldogs 62
BoilerUp89: Boo Buie and Pete Nance continued to good things in this one and today they got some support from their teammates as Ryan Young and Ty Berry chipped in 17 and 10 points respectively. The Wildcats did their best Badgers impression in the 2nd half and watched their 20 point halftime lead slowly shrink to ten. But then Georgia had a 5 minute scoring drought and that was the end of Tom Crean’s hopes to beat Northwestern once more.
The Wildcats take 3rd place in the Roman Legends Classic. Clearly, the Wildcats forgot they were representing the Legends division.
MNW: It’s really been nice to see Buie and Nance continue their good play through Northwestern’s dates with power conference teams—while Boo still comes and goes on the perimeter and Nance tends to only take games over for 10 minutes or so, becoming just another lanky Robbie Beran at points, the ‘Cats look more complete than in 2020-21.
We learned the fun stats in the first half that Northwestern has two of the conference’s five highest scorers per 40 minutes played: Nance, and...
...center Ryan Young. HELL yeah.
Look, the ‘Cats aren’t BACK or anything—this was expected, 1-1 with a wire-to-wire loss to Providence and a convincing win over Georgia (yes, even though there was the 4-minute second-half swoon, it was only 4 minutes rather than the 8 it would’ve been last year).
But it looks like the addition of a third scorer, particularly from the perimeter and with the ability to slash into the lane a little, looks like just what the ‘Cats need.
...and it’s almost time for Chase Audige to make his return from injury.
#14 Illinois Fighting Illini 72, Kansas State Wildcats 64
BoilerUp89: Kofi Cockburn and Alfonso Plummer carried the rest of the Illini to a victory against old Illini head coach Bruce Weber. Cockburn had a double-double with 23 points and 13 rebounds. Plummer went a fantastic 7 of 9 from 3-point range.
The rest of the Illini struggled shooting on offense. Outside of Cockburn and Plummer, Illinois went just 10 of 28 from the field. Illinois had 18 turnovers compared to Kansas State’s 4 and went 50% from the free throw line. The Illini take home a disappointing 3rd place finish in the Hall of Fame Classic Presented by Hotels.com.
Indiana Hoosiers 70, Jackson State Tigers 35 (-25 spread)
Buffkomodo: Jackson State is not good. No real lessons can be learned from this beatdown except I don’t foresee Rob Phinisee getting time back from Lander any time soon. My only observation is that Indiana was 27th technically speaking in the polls last week, they won out and dropped for no reason. I’m not upset by it, but i’d be interested in your thoughts on that situation. If it’s “oh the big ten isn’t good,” then don’t talk because I know.
Nebraska Cornhuskers 79, Tennessee State Tigers 73
BoilerUp89: Nebraska tried their best to ruin the night, but in the end Bryce McGowens would hit 5 free throws in the final 70 seconds to secure the victory. This was a back and forth affair in which Tennessee State had two scoring droughts. Their second one started with 6 minutes to go and lasted until the two minute mark which allowed the Cornhuskers to pull ahead and get the win.
McGowens, Wilcher, Verge, and Walker all had decent nights for the Cornhuskers (Walker was a perfect 7 of 7 from the field). Verge had a double-double with 18 points and 10 assists. Opposing player Dedric Boyd came off the bench for the Tigers to score 23 points with a 6 for 11 performance behind the arc to help keep the Tigers in the game.
Who had the best start to Feast Week?
This poll is closed
literally anyone else
Who had the worst?
This poll is closed
Rutgers, with a loss to Lafayette
Nebraska continues to struggle