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A weekend of (mostly) B1G conference play in the books, NET rankings released. What did we learn?

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Iowa could be on the rise, reports of Northwestern’s demise have been exaggerated, and...wait, Minnesota’s still here???

Syndication: Journal-Courier Nikos Frazier / Journal & Courier / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Big Ten played basketball! Did we have fun?

Let’s find out.

Friday, December 3

#2 Purdue Boilermakers 77, Iowa Hawkeyes 70

BoilerUp89: Purdue won despite not playing all that well. Turnovers and the Iowa 3/4-court press allowed Iowa to get back into the game after Purdue had opened up a 19 point lead.

The Boilermakers got the win because they outrebounded Iowa 42-30 and played some decent defense resulting in them holding Iowa’s shooting percentages way below their season averages. This game gave Purdue plenty of things to work on and taught them some lessons without a loss. I’ll tip my cap to Iowa, take the win, and move on.

Stew: Iowa was without Keegan Murray, without a doubt the best player on the team, and one of the best in the country. Despite that and generally just a terrible matchup, overall, the team fought and scrapped and managed to drag Purdue down into the muck, the only way for Iowa to compete in this game. Without Keegan Murray Purdue focused on frustrating Bohannon and running him off the 3pt line very effectively, so Iowa had to turn towards the rest of the team for contributions, and they all chipped in. Tony Perkins, Patrick McCaffery, and Kris Murray all contributed double digit points with Aron Ulis, Joe Toussaint, and Josh Ogundele (!!) each contributing 7. On Ogundele, this was the first time as a Hawk he really got extended run and he actually looked the part. Great stuff to see.

Illinois Fighting Illini 86, Rutgers 51

Thumpasaurus: I was in the house for my first home game in damn near ten years. The full force of a packed SFC was truly magnificent to behold, as was the Orange Krush-led campaign to bully aspiring Big Ten villain Paul Mulcahy right off the floor. Mulcahy did indeed suck as much as the crowd told him he did, scoring 4 points on 11 shots and doing little else of note.

With Andre Curbelo out, Frazier and Williams handled the ball and acquitted themselves quite well. Alfonso Plummer put up 24 and a healthy Jake Grandison put up 16 off the bench. Where the Illini really shone was on defense. Omar Payne had 11 very good minutes on defense to spell Kofi, and the two combined for 23 rebounds. The big man had another double double grabbing 11 defensive boards. He’s no longer the leading scorer in the nation, but fortunately for him, Iowa’s up next.

The ‘Gers shot a miserable 14 for 51 from two point range and did exactly what they’ve done under Pikiell, which is to bank on the refs’ unwillingness to actually call a lot more fouls on one team than the other. Frustrated with their own shittiness, rugster kept trying to fight the Illini under the hoop, but it was a fruitless effort. This is why they never win on the road, and now that resgurt hopps has made the tournament and isn’t cute anymore, he can piss off with this goon-ass style of basketball. He brought that goon shit into Champaign and left with his worst loss at rugster.

The Illini aren’t dead just yet, folks.

RU in VA: I’ll be the Yang to Thump’s Ying here - the headline is NOT “Illinois is awesome”. It’s most certainly “wow, Rutgers sucks this year”.

Falling in line with similar losses to low mid-majors the season, it seems like the Knights have really lost a grip on how to play this year. There’s a ton of known talent on the roster, but it just seems like they’ve engaged cruise control for some reason.

But then again, Geo Baker and Ron Harper have engaged the draft process the past two years and have always come back to ‘the Banks. I guess that screams volumes.

And, to Thump’s last paragraph, like - WTF is this coaching staff doing? I hammered a bunch of third graders about taking mid-range 2s on Saturday as a girls basketball coach. Either complete the layup or take the three. Shots from the elbow irrationally make me upset. Just don’t. Especially if you’re horrible at shooting, like the rugsters. Shit, now I’m doing it.

Gone is that pesky team that would drive the lane 30 times a game and draw 20 fouls. Your new RU team will be chucking up 51 bricks a game. Watch a rerun of Seinfeld, or something. Don’t tune in.

Saturday, December 4

Indiana Hoosiers 68, Nebraska Cornhuskers 55

Jesse Collins: I was oddly busy on Saturday and saw exactly zero seconds of the game as is OTE tradition. Since we weren't all that close, I'm gonna assume my boy Keisei was just too tired to will us to the win.

This team continues to have a rough road to success and will get beat by teams with pulses...

BRT: I was multi-tasking while this one was on, so I have relatively little to say, but when I turned on the game, Nebraska was up 14-4. “That’s cool,” I thought, “and it will never last.” Indeed, it did not. In spite of being helped by an early Hoosier commitment to turning the ball over, Husker shooting was ice cold by halftime, and Indiana was up by four. Nebraska’s rebounding remained unimpressive, and they were out-rebounded by Indiana 41-32. They were also unable to force Indiana into many fouls, and shot only five free throws the entire game (compared to Indiana’s 17 attempts).

If you like good news, well, what a time to be alive for you. But there were a few bright spots for the Huskers (who were also no doubt still nursing some physical and mental hangovers from the 4OT event against NC State a few days earlier.) Though they only attempted five free throws, they made four of them—still a marvelous stat for any Husker fan to observe given the Huskers’ putrescence in that area for... years prior to this. They also stole the ball nine times from Indiana, which was nice.

Happily for the Huskers, they get to coast through this week with... *checks notes* ... shit. There will be no coasting. #24 Michigan and #21 Auburn are on the docket, so uh, yeah.

Buffkomodo: Your friendly neighborhood dragon thought this game started at 7 and had no intention of watching. I went to take a nap around 1:30-2 ish and discovered Indiana was playing and promptly tuned in. I watched about 5 minutes in the second half before I fell asleep for a hot minute, and woke up with 8 left to play.

It appears as though I missed the parts of the game that gave you all heartburn. The turnover bug is certainly something that must get fixed but I’m not sure you can fix it without replacing your guards or style of play. Loose play results in loose players and loose players that aren’t NBA prospects tend to turn it over at a higher clip. That’s not a cry for the structure of Archie-ball, it’s just my opinion of how basketball works. What can be fixed is some of the terrible, no good, very bad decisions XJ makes. Surely Kopp can develop some consistency.

That's really all my criticisms. You won a game in which you held a B1G opponent to 55 points after digging 10 point early deficit to get out of. This team has grit and grime, and boy they are fun to watch. Woody is super likable, TJD is just stud. I’m considering naming a second little Komodo Race. Let’s see what happens against those pesky badgers before I make any statements on how I think this year will end.

#24 Michigan Wolverines 72, San Diego State Aztecs 58

MaximumSam: Good looking win against a quality Aztec team. Michigan had looked pretty rickety coming in, so this helps the cause. Caleb Houstan was perhaps the story of the game, going 4/5 from three and generally being good on both ends of the court, as one would want from your top recruit.

#23 Wisconsin Badgers 89, Marquette Golden Eagles 76

Kind of...: There were a few moments where it was annoyingly clear that Shaka Smart’s vision for Marquette has a chance of working.

Fortunately, those moments were all in the first half.

Marquette’s half court defense was, to be polite, atrocious, as the Badgers hit 10 threes AND shot 57% from two. Johnny Davis continued to make believers (right @MNW?), Brad Davison chipped in 20 (on only 12 FGA) and Chucky Hepburn continues to show rapid improvement at PG. His on-ball defense on the last possession of the first half should go on teaching videos. It would be nice if spots 6-8 in the rotation were a little more consistent, but it’s hard to complain about where the team is at, especially given preseason expectations.

MNW: I’ve thought Johnny Davis was decent!

The cheating-ass state school won again. We’ll pray for you heathens. AMDG.

#22 Michigan State Spartans 81, Toledo Rockets 68

Green Akers: MSU ran out to a 20-point halftime lead and then visibly checked out, which let Toledo cut it to single digits a few times. They’re getting excellent balance, and at least showed themselves capable of reducing the turnovers somewhat. The more I see of Jaden Akins, the more I want to see of him, but it’s a crowded backcourt right now.

I...still don’t know what the solution is with Joey Hauser. The home crowd was noticeably more supportive, but he’s still a massive liability on both ends, and he’s not going to get friendly words on the road. The Spartans can’t play Malik Hall 40 minutes at the 4, but Izzo won’t try anyone else there, presumably kibitzing about defensive matchups or something, but the problem is Hauser can’t guard anybody anyway, so what does it matter if he’s the correct size?

Sunday, December 5

Northwestern Wildcats 67, Maryland Terrapins 61

Kind of...: Nice road win for NW. For Maryland, the stench of Turg may hang over the team all year.

MNW: We learned that Northwestern, with Chase Audige, should contend for the NIT.

Coming back from a hip injury after missing the Wildcats’ first three games, Audige provided the “fuck you” spark that Northwestern has been missing, scoring 14 points on an inefficient-but-needed 7/17 (0/4 3pt) night from the field, not being afraid to mix it up on defense (4 rebs), and getting back-to-back baskets ahead of the under-4 timeout to help the ‘Cats open up a lead. He’s a more cocksure ball-handler who can keep Ryan Greer out of pressure scoring situations and make up for when Boo Buie scuffles, like he did today.

Northwestern’s youth—Julian Roper II, Casey Simmons, and Ty Berry—form a nice little rotational troika, none shooting a ton (Berry can, of the bunch) but all playing tough defense and trying to get out in transition. Robbie Beran wasn’t a liability—8 points and 7 boards is about what we can ask from him—and F Elyjah Williams brings energy and a B1G-ready body off the bench.

Oh, and since I’ve listed all other of Northwestern’s 10 substantial contributors, I can stop burying the lede—Pete Nance fucking finally took over a game down the stretch. A little hook in the lane over a Terps big man gave the ‘Cats a five-point lead, then what I thought was an ill-advised long two made it 7 at the two-minute mark before Audige got a steal and layup to make it 9 and put the game away.

Look, it’s Maryland post-Turge firing. They’re a deeply flawed basketball team who need to get a lot of shit figured out if they’re sniffing any kind of postseason play. But a road win in the B1G is a road win in the B1G, and I’m not turning that down. Onward.

Minnesota Gophers 81, Mississippi State Bulldogs 76

WSR: STILL UNDEFEATED! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Take all the cowbells as a reward.

I’m quite a bit stunned by this one. I didn’t expect to win, and I certainly didn’t expect to lead wire-to-wire in Starkvegas. All of the starters got into double figures scoring, we got out-rebounded 42-27, and played an even more Iron Five-ish roster than normal with Sean Sutherlin out of the lineup. Charlie Daniels played 9 minutes for Eric Curry, but other than that the bench provided a whopping 5 minutes. The Gophers did their thing by being stingy with the ball (only 4 turnovers) and played solid defense (holding the Bulldogs to 31% from 3). I’m not sure if we’re every losing another game. I feel really bad for whichever schlubs we play on Wednesday night.

Ohio State Buckeyes 76, Penn State Nittany Lions 64

MaximumSam: Solid effort on the road for the Buckeyes. The story for this team is clearly versatility. Zed Key dropped 20 against Duke, and was a nonfactor in this game. Instead, Kyle Young was a big contributor both inside and out. The biggest concern was they almost stopped running offense when they went up big in the second half, letting Penn State back in the game.

For Penn State, they have things to work with. Seth Lundy is a dude, and they are playing awfully hard. Turnovers were again a problem - cutting down on bad errors would have led to a tight game.

misdreavus79: Stop me if you’ve heard this before —Penn State started pretty well, they even took a seven point lead, and then they started to turn the ball over and everything fell apart. By the time the Lions got their feet under them, they were down 22 points and just about done.

Credit them for fighting all the way back though, closing the deficit as low as six with about a minute left. But, with a chance to make it a two score game (or one score with a three) a turnover (drink!) gave the ball back to Ohio State, and that was the end of that.

I’m probably going to continue to say this until they’ve lost their 14th Big Ten game, but if Penn State is going to do well, they’re going to need to stop turning the ball over.

Where does the conference stand nationally?

Glad you asked! Here are a p

Sure, as we all predicted, there’s “Who knows?” Iowa and “Surely they’re rebuilding now” wisconsin in the NET Top 20.

Also Wyoming???

Anywho, looking at the Big Ten, and, uh—

—so you’re telling me Northwestern doesn’t get shit for that road win over Maryland? Then what’s even the point now?

Poll

Who had the best weekend?

This poll is closed

  • 38%
    Purdue
    (91 votes)
  • 14%
    Northwestern
    (35 votes)
  • 32%
    Minnesota
    (76 votes)
  • 14%
    wisconsin
    (34 votes)
236 votes total Vote Now

Poll

More importantly: Who had the worst?

This poll is closed

  • 74%
    Maryland
    (157 votes)
  • 18%
    Nebraska
    (40 votes)
  • 6%
    Someone else
    (14 votes)
211 votes total Vote Now

No idea if we have a preview scheduled later today. In case we don’t here’s your thread for the night’s hoops action:

{WBB} Penn State Nittany Lions at #10 Indiana Hoosiers

5pm | BTN

The Lady Lions are in a pretty bad freefall—they’ve lost 4 of their last 5—while the Hoosiers have only lost to #5 Stanford and #2 NC State by a combined 11 points (while beating #11 Kentucky by 21). Worth a watch to start the night, but Penn State doesn’t rebound well and Indiana should roll.

{MBB} Illinois Fighting Illini at Iowa Hawkeyes

6pm | FS1 | Iowa -3.5 | O/U 152

Should actually be a pretty fun matchup, up and down the court at a decent pace. It’s not January Illinois yet, so I’m likely to give the Hawkeyes the better chance here, but we’ll see if Keegan Murray is ready to go again.

Poll

Pick’em:

This poll is closed

  • 65%
    Iowa
    (85 votes)
  • 34%
    Illinois
    (44 votes)
129 votes total Vote Now

{WBB} Nebraska Cornhuskers at Minnesota Golden Gophers

7pm | BTN

Nebraska is 8-0 (NET #4) but has played nobody outside NET #37 Creighton, a narrow 67-62 win.

Minnesota is 5-3, a rollercoaster that likely settles somewhere around “mediocre” but can put up some points, as a 76-point outing in an 82-76 loss to NET #2 North Carolina showed.

All that said...this could be a nice little digestif tonight? Dare to dream.


Full schedule of the evening’s games below. Not much in the way of true Sickos action—the highest composite is only 560 (#220 Citadel hosting #340 NC Central)—but I’d tab a couple to be interesting to have on in the background later:

  • New Mexico State (KP 114) at New Mexico (245): 8pm, MWN
  • San Jose State (295) at Pepperdine (227): 9pm, WCCtv — hi, Tim Miles!