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B1G Basketball Weekend Recaps - Big Ten wins the Crossroads Classic

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The other interesting games were cancelled or, in Nebraska’s case, lost.

NCAA Basketball: Crossroads Classic-Butler at Purdue Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Different sport, but congratulations to the wisconsin Badgers’ volleyball team as they won a national title this weekend. It would be nice if Purdue could win a national title in any sport one of these days.

Following Finals week, the Big Ten had just five of your favorite programs - plus Iowa - in action this weekend due to cancellations.

Final Edition of the Crossroads Classic:

The Crossroads Classic has been a great event for 11 years now featuring the four premier basketball programs in Indiana (sorry, Indiana State).

Unfortunately, due to Indiana and Notre Dame desiring more home games*, this event has now come to an end. As someone who believes teams should be playing more of their fellow in-state programs, not less, I’m saddened that the Crossroads Classic has now died.
*This is their stated reasoning—although I’m guessing it has more to do with recruiting and not wanting to a) elevate Butler as an equal or b) give Purdue a free marketing opportunity in Indianapolis.

#3 Purdue Boilermakers blow out Butler Bulldogs 77-48

Syndication: The Indianapolis Star
Interesting defense and shooting form
Michelle Pemberton/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK

Jaden Ivey tied a Purdue record for most made 3 pointers in a game without a miss with 6 and Purdue took control of this one about midway thru the first half. Trevion Williams returned to the starting lineup for the first time this season, but it was the benched Zach Edey that had the better game out of the two Boilermaker centers with 14 points and 11 rebounds compared to Williams’ 10 and 6. Williams also picked up 4 fouls - something he has had trouble with historically when he starts games.

Purdue won the rebounding battle by a comfortable margin as usual and their shooting percentages returned to their outstanding numbers that they were exhibiting regularly prior to the previous two games against Rutgers and North Carolina State. The encouraging part of this game though was that Purdue played some defense and held Butler to just 48 points.

Indiana Hoosiers grind out a win over Notre Dame Fighting Irish 64-56

NCAA Basketball: Crossroads Classic-Indiana at Notre Dame
The intensity of in-state games on display
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

This isn’t the best Indiana offense I’ve ever seen, but Coach Woodson has them playing really solid defense and that’s been enough to carry them against a lot of opponents this season. Notre Dame followed this script and the Hoosiers held them to just 36.2% from the field and only 4 of 22 from three. Notre Dame was able to tie the game up with about seven minutes to go, but then the Hoosiers clamped down defensively and held the Irish scoreless for about four minutes to pull away.

Trayce Jackson-Davis did Trayce Jackson-Davis things (17 points and 12 rebounds) and Woodson appears to be shortening the bench as just 7 guys played more than 4 minutes. If the Hoosiers can get Xavier Johnson to stop taking so many three (2 of 9 in this game) or make more free throws (14 of 22) they will be a very dangerous team in B1G play.

Other Games:

Illinois Fighting Illini make lots of threes and beat up St. Francis (PA) Red Flash 106-48

NCAA Basketball: St. Francis (PA) at Illinois
Good solid defense, no foul here
Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The Illini made a program record 18 three pointers in this game, controlled the boards, and generally showed that the Red Flash couldn’t compete with them. Cockburn, Plummer, and Grandison were the only Illini in double figures.

Michigan Wolverines pull away early, keep pulling away late over Southern Utah 87-50

NCAA Basketball: Southern Utah at Michigan
The Thunderbirds had no answer for Dickinson
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Wolverines never trailed in the one and were up by 29 at the half. Dickinson and 22 points and 11 rebounds. Devante Jones was a very encouraging 3 of 3 from deep and added two additional fields to score 13 to go with 6 assists.

Iowa Hawkeyes collect quality win over Utah State Aggies 94-75

NCAA Basketball: Utah State at Iowa
This is a good pick, but Keegan Murray should really close that gap down when he runs off of picks.
Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

K. Murray had 52 points in this one as the Keegan and Kris contributed 35 and 17 respectively. Iowa had two big runs that were the difference in this one. A 16 to 1 run that spanned either side of halftime and a 20 to 3 run midway thru the second half that took what was an 11 point game and put it out of reach.

Utah State probably isn’t getting an at large bid this year, but they are a solid team—they beat Oklahoma—so this is a good game for the Hawkeyes tournament resume.

Nebraska Cornhuskers fail to collect harvest, experience points shortage against Kansas State Wildcats 58-67

NCAA Basketball: Kansas State at Nebraska
What is Eduardo Andre trying to accomplish here?
Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Nebraska’s losing streak grew to 5 games and Bruce Weber got to 1-1 against the Big Ten this season as the purple Wildcats edged out the Cornhuskers. Verge and McGowens had 21 and 14, but didn’t get much help for the rest of the team and McGowens was rather inefficient in his scoring.

The Cornhuskers just seem to lack shooting on their roster. Their season 3 point shooting percentage of 25.2 now ranks 353rd out of 358 Division 1 teams. I’m thinking maybe they shouldn’t be shooting 29 of them a game.

COVID Cancellations and Postponements:

COVID is once again upon us and presenting issues as we enter late December. By my count, 23 Division 1 men’s basketball programs have currently suspended all team activities due to positive tests within their programs. Be smart and take care of yourselves and your families everyone.

Northwestern Wildcats - DePaul Blue Demons

The only Big Ten team with a cancelled game this weekend that wasn’t the responsible party, the Wildcats did not go out and schedule another opponent. As talked about on OTE, there weren’t a lot of options available on short notice if Northwestern wanted to keep a home game.

I don’t see a great opportunity for this one to be rescheduled, so we will see if Northwestern schedules a replacement game at some point. My guess is not unless they are somehow on the tournament bubble but lose on Thursday in the Big Ten tournament and want to schedule another game that Saturday—maybe against a non-Gonzaga WCC team that also needs a resume boost late in the year.

Ohio State Buckeyes - Kentucky Wildcats

This game definitely won’t be rescheduled and made up since Kentucky went ahead and scheduled a replacement game against North Carolina. Ohio State’s next game against Tennessee Martin has also been cancelled and all team related activities have been suspended.

No word yet on whether Ohio State will be able to play against New Orleans on the 28th.

Pennsylvania State Nittany Lions - Virginia Commonwealth Rams

Penn State deserves a lot of credit for scheduling TWO away games at Atlantic 10 opponents this season. As someone who grew up watching A10 basketball, more power conference teams need to play at these schools.

Sadly, this second one at VCU will not be played due to COVID issues within the Penn State program. Penn State has also gone ahead and cancelled their upcoming game against Quinnipiac. The earliest they will return to play at the moment is Delaware State on the 29th.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights - Rider Broncs

Rider is another missed opportunity in the nickname department. They should clearly be the Rider Riders. As for this game, it was postponed late in the process due to positive tests within the Rutgers program.

Rutgers tentatively plans to reschedule this game before the start of Big Ten play—potentially December 31. But first, Rutgers needs to be able to field enough players with negative tests and no contract tracing. Rutgers’ upcoming games against Central Connecticut (December 23) and Maine (29th) are also in question.

Poll

Who had the best weekend?

This poll is closed

  • 55%
    Purdue
    (46 votes)
  • 25%
    Iowa
    (21 votes)
  • 19%
    Other
    (16 votes)
83 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Who had the worst?

This poll is closed

  • 39%
    Huskers
    (35 votes)
  • 43%
    Any of the canceled games
    (38 votes)
  • 17%
    I actually had a terrible weekend
    (15 votes)
88 votes total Vote Now