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There were OTHER games? Big Ten Basketball Weekend Recaps

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Honestly after the whole Juwan Howard thing this all feels so anticlimactic, but other basketball games DID happen.

MNWildcat

Basketball happened.

Maryland Terrapins 90, Nebraska Cornhuskers 74

This one was close at half, then you saw Maryland’s general talent level kick in and pull away from a tired Huskers team in the second half. Only other thing I’d note here was Danny Manning’s idiotic decision to leave Julian Reese on the court after Reese picked up a technical foul for two-arm shoving Bryce McGowens to the floor as the Husker tried to get up after Reese fouled him on a shot attempt. Reese should’ve been tossed and wasn’t, and then Manning left him on the court for some reason, before Reese finally fouled out while the Terps were well ahead and salting the game away.

This was dumb, bad, and indicative of why Manning won’t be the coach of Maryland next year. The Terps looked like a disorganized mess. Against Nebraska, at least, that’s still all it takes.

#12 Illinois Fighting Illini 79, #19 Michigan State Spartans 74

Green Akers: If, if, IF Tom Izzo took the right lessons away from this and goes back to the Walker/Hoggard combo in huge doses going forward, maybe a late season rally is still possible. But, once again, Joey Hauser’s unfathomably outsize role on this team cost MSU a deficit they couldn’t make up, as he lost Grandison time and time again to give no-impact “help” on Cockburn in the post. Everyone’s accountable for their mistakes on this team, except him somehow.

HWAHSQB: Underwood and the Illini have now won in every B1G arena in the last three years* which is a pretty impressive feat. Purdue is still the favorite for the conference title, but the Illini really needed this game to avoid an uphill climb.

Illinois has four players with a 40% 3pt shooting season which made me believe preseason that we would be immune to shooting droughts. Like most of my sports TAEKS, that was wrong. Against MSU however, it worked like I expected, where at least one guy was hot and we fed the hot hand in addition to feeding our big Jamaican superhero. After the rugster loss, the Illini got home at 2AM and Grandison went to the gym and shot for two hours. The extra work paid off as the Grandyman sank 6 threes despite (or because of) the alleged “defense” of Joey Hauser.

*I’m not convinced that Maryland and Rutgers are really in the B1G yet.

Iowa Hawkeyes 75, #18 Ohio State Buckeyes 62

Keegan Murray, Keegan Murray, Keegan Murray.

Iowa gets a good effort from him and a “not a hindrance” effort from the rest of the bench, and they could easily make it to the Round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament before succumbing to teams that are actually good.

Minnesota Gophers 77, Northwestern Wildcats 60

MNW: I’ve never seen a Northwestern team look as disinterested in, disjointed at, and ill-prepared for a basketball game as they did at Minnesota. I PAID MONEY TO GO WATCH THIS SHIT.

Take this picture, for example—a look at how Northwestern “attacked” Minnesota’s 4-1 junk zone defense: spreading its four wings/guards around the perimeter...

Pete Nance would ball-screen the interior guard, which wouldn’t fucking matter, because IT’S A GODDAMN FUCKING ZONE DEFENSE. When the other interior guard on the 1-4 pinched, the idea is to rotate the ball to Casey Simmons on the wing (he’s the one with the hair), who would then find the guard—Ryan Greer, #2 on the right—for a corner three or drive.

Here’s how that worked out:

A half-assed drive, time allowed for #24 on Minnesota to recover and close out Simmons, and the ball not getting to Greer for anything particularly good.

You’re screaming “Throw the ball to the post player!”, right?

On the very first Northwestern possession, Chase Audige tried to lob one over the defender (imagine #24 but with his hands up, and Audige at the bottom left serif of the M).

The defender leapt and caught it.

It was that kind of uninspired offensive play design, lazy ball movement, and comically inept passing that characterized Northwestern’s entire day. Eventually Nance would slip into the center of the zone, around the free throw line, where he’d go 50% from the field on half-contested floaters and jumps. Minnesota was content to let Northwestern do that, because they knew Nance wouldn’t go hard to the basket and Northwestern wouldn’t shoot their way out of the defense.

Chris Collins should’ve been left on the tarmac at MSP for how poorly he coached. Half the team—chief among the guards—ought to be benched for how unmotivated they looked in a game that was a must win if Northwestern was to keep alive any hope of the NIT. I deserve my money back another excellent beer from Urban Growler in St. Paul, which got me through the first half.

Now there’s nothing. Playing out yet another string in the Chris Collins era. Yet another empty—and probably losing—season that will culminate in a Wednesday play-in game at the Big Ten Tournament and yet another early trip home.

Oh, Luke Loewe decided he couldn’t miss from the field. Minnesota shot approximately 78% from three and 69% from the field. Don’t bother looking up those stats; they don’t matter, because Northwestern—outside the freshmen Casey Simmons and Julian Roper, the former of whom had a great game and both of whom are too young to know better—showed no interest in attempting to lower those numbers. Blow it all up, and start over again.

#5 Purdue Boilermakers 84, Rutgers Scarlet Knights 72

BoilerUp89: WOOO!

Rutgers v Purdue
Beat Sparty!
Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

#15 Wisconsin Badgers 77, Michigan Wolverines 63

Kind of...: My “even-a-caveman-would-focus-on-this” preview was spot on, and Hunter Dickinson had his way in the first half. Would UW adjust? No. And when they go outscored 7-2 to start the second, and trailed 38-33, it didn’t feel good. Fortunately, the magic 8-ball Michigan was using on the sideline came up “Try something new!” and Dickinson stopped getting touches. A nine-minute 23-3 “run” followed, and UW—mostly via Johnny Davis, of course—now led 56-41. The result was basically a formality after that.

Wisconsin has a trap game Wednesday @ Minnesota (Jahcobi Neath, who had some nice minutes off the bench Saturday will miss that one for some sort of suspension. I’ll check on that and get back to you all.) before heading for the bear trap that is Big Mike’s Arena on Saturday. Win both and the stage is set for Purdue to break their hearts in the Kohl Center next week. But they’re almost certainly not winning both.

#22 Ohio State 80, Indiana Hoosiers 69

Maryland Terrapins 67, Penn State Nittany Lions 61

The Terps got to the free throw line (15/19), the Nittany Lions didn’t (3/5). That’s more or less what I’ve got for you here—it was the usual awful chucking of the Terps, but Penn State was determined to match that in sloppy play with the ball (11 steals for Maryland!) and not getting enough from its supporting cast.

Why did I subject myself to this game?

Poll

Who had the best weekend?

This poll is closed

  • 25%
    Purdue
    (30 votes)
  • 16%
    Illinois
    (20 votes)
  • 27%
    Iowa
    (33 votes)
  • 5%
    Minnesota
    (6 votes)
  • 25%
    Maryland DID technically win two games...
    (30 votes)
119 votes total Vote Now

Poll

More importantly, who had the worst weekend?

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    Northwestern
    (10 votes)
  • 2%
    Indiana
    (4 votes)
  • 3%
    Michigan State
    (6 votes)
  • 88%
    Juwan Howard
    (157 votes)
177 votes total Vote Now

Bracketology and open thread for the midweek games coming soon.