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Big Ten Basketball Recaps, Analysis, NCAA Tournament Speculation

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Rutgers leaps onto the bubble, Michigan State handles Indiana, and Illinois and Purdue survive game challengers at home.

NCAA Basketball: Rutgers at Wisconsin Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Rutgers Scarlet Knights 73, #14 Wisconsin Badgers 65

Kind of...: UW’s last three home games—getting drilled by MSU, tied with Minnesota 38 minutes in, 2 pt. win over PSU—should’ve been ample warning, but Thump wouldn’t listen.

Anyway, Rutgers has long, rangy defenders at many positions, Johnny Davis has been taking a while to get going lately, and Brad Davison is slumping. Put it all together, and things finally caught up to the Badgers. @Indiana is next. Unless there is considerably more urgency—and better shooting, including FTs—talk will soon shift to the possibility of a February fade.

Beez: The offense is struggling right now, and it’s about 25% FT problems and about 75% Davison problems. It’s one thing to just not score points—that happens. Players get shut down, don’t get clean looks, etc... It’s another to do what Davison’s been doing the past several weeks, which is shooting and shooting as if you’re routinely scoring 15, but instead you’re putting up like 2/9 shooting lines going 1/8 from 3. Davison is important and he needs to keep shooting because they can’t win without him, but he’s been responsible for just a TON of empty offensive possessions lately. What a weird year.

RU in VA: It was just Wisconsin’s turn this week.

#16 Ohio State Buckeyes 68, Michigan Wolverines 57

MaximumSam: An E.J. Liddell game, where he scored from all over the court and put a Michigan freshman in a locker. The Wolverines struggled to hit shots from anywhere farther than two feet, which limited their ability on a night where no one looked very good outside of Liddell.

#17 Michigan State Spartans 76, Indiana Hoosiers 61

BuffKomodo: Indiana once again played well enough at times to be in this, and even held a 2nd half lead only to go on a scoring drought and miss shots. The free throw line was anything but free, TJD was completely off and even at times bad, and Michigan State was just tougher and chippier. You could tell one program wanted to win and one program expected to win.

The refs deserve a blistering review as well as they were terrible both ways. The FOX announcers also rated that Borowski crew as “the best in the B1G” and that analysis is terrible. Bo and company should not be allowed to ref in the big dance. Period.

Back to the Hoosiers. I honestly don't know what to think. This loss hurts more considering the circumstances of the Northwestern loss. Had they won that game, this wouldn't feel as bad. There's still time left to get to 10 B1G wins and cement yourself in the big dance. Let's see what Indiana can do.

Green Akers: MSU finally found a more-dependable offensive formula in giving the starting PG nod to AJ Hoggard, but I actually think they’re better off keeping Malik Hall on the bench; if he comes into the starting lineup, this team will have virtually no punch available off the bench.

They’re still quite a ways from their ceiling, and will either need Max Christie to crash through his freshman wall or Gabe Brown to get out of his now-6-week-long shooting meltdown to get close to it. They have one game, and a roadie no less, to hit the max output they’ll need to even the ledger with Illinois on the 19th.

Minnesota Gophers 76, Penn State Nittany Lions 70

WSR: So that was nice. Eric Curry and Peyton Willis had themselves a night, combining for 50 of the 76 points. Curry’s 22 was a career high, while Willis led the Gophers with 6 rebounds and 10 assists. EJ Stephens and noted offensive talent Luke Loewe also hit double digits, and the Gophers did enough to get past a pesky PSU team in spite of Jamison Battle only getting 8 points on 3 of 7 shooting.

Fun night, see you Thursday in Hoopy Valley PSU.

misdreavus79: Another day, another game doomed by Penn State being unable to put two halves together. At this point, I would prefer they have to decent halves instead of one amazing half and a disastrous half. At least, that way, if they lose, I’ll know right away.

Other than that, I think Penn State actually played well overall here, and they had a chance to take the lead plenty of times in the last minute! It just so happened that, each time they got the ball, they found a way to turn it over. By the time they decided to not turn the ball over, the time on the clock and deficit were not conducive to a comeback.

I don’t expect Curry and Willis to score 50 points on their own on Thursday, but you never know!

#3 Purdue Boilermakers 62, Maryland Terrapins 61

Iowa Hawkeyes 98, Nebraska Cornhuskers 75

MNW: Two big offensive performances in a row for Iowa now. Of course, they're against Maryland and Nebraska clubs whose approaches to defense can be best characterized as "indifferent". The upcoming Michigan game will be the Wolverines fighting for their NCAA Tournament live, and at Michigan State...well...

The Hawkeyes hit shots and got a favorable schedule at the right time. I don't know I'm buying them, but it's survive and advance time, and that's what they've done against the worst in the conference.

Jesse: Having successfully avoided the 0-fer, Nebrasketball is now back to its previously scheduled awful play. It would be nice to be competitive before halftime against teams, but this was also an awful matchup and an obvious place for a letdown.

7-25 from deep isn't great. 15 turnovers is worse. Bryce McGowens looks exhausted and this team just needs this season to be over.

#13 Illinois Fighting Illini 73, Northwestern Wildcats 66

MNW: Northwestern dug itself a hole, struggled to overcome some bad shooting and decision-making from Chase Audige and Boo Buie, and got unexpected contributions from hot-shooting Ty Berry and scrappy-defending Casey Simmons. And they still lost. Sunrise, sunset.

Credit to Berry, Simmons, and the bowl of cream of wheat that is Ryan Young for trying to take the wind out of the Illini's sails. But man, did Illinois put itself in a great position to win in the second half, repeatedly pounding the ball inside to Cockburn and racking up the fouls and reset shot clocks on Northwestern.

II feel heartened by the comeback, disappointed that the Big Ten's "most experienced lineup" or whatever remains so cowed by a hostile Big Ten atmosphere. This was an expected loss, but at 12-11 (5-9 B1G) the 'Cats are running out of time to make ANY case for the postseason, which sucks.

Onto Purdue, where we'll watch for Matt Nicholson and Elyjah Williams to repeat their Mike Turner Memorial Foul Sponge performances and we'll see if the 'Cats can run the Boilers off the three-point line and drag this into the mud.

The answer is "probably not," but in a season where "quietly competent choke artists" is the standard...

He was a high school quarterback: I didn’t watch the game yet, but this is OTE, so I won’t let that stop me. I did watch last year's game in Champaign and sounds like this was identical to that one. Illinois gets 18 point lead with hot 3 point shooting. Check.

Illinois starts coasting but has double digit halftime lead. Check.

Northwestern chips away at lead in second half. Check.

Late run pulled Nern to within a single point. Check.

Illinois turns to All American to close it out. Check.

Final score 73-66. Check.

Yeah, I don’t need to watch the replay of this game since I already saw it last year.

Torvik has Illinois odds to win the B1G at 72.2 (share) and 44.3% (sole) after the happenings of the week.