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Down goes Sparty! Big Ten Men’s Basketball Weekend Recap

Were Brad Underwood’s antics “bush league” against Indiana? Full thoughts from the Illinois-Indiana donnybrook:

NCAA Basketball: Michigan State at Rutgers Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Northwestern Wildcats 87, Nebraska Cornhuskers 63

MNW: Backs to the wall if "save the Chris Collins regime" or "postseason play" are something they care about, the 'Cats came out with their hair on fire. In a game between two supposedly desperate teams, they were the only one who played like it.

We finally learned where Boo Buie and Chase Audige thrive (against bad defensive teams), as the latter gave us a chucker's 16 while the former FINALLY had the great game we've been rooting for: a season-high 27 on 6/11 3pt shooting. And, on a day where Robbie Beran looked lost again and Pete Nance was just fine, Northwestern's sixth man extraordinaire, C Ryan Young, had a workmanlike 12 and 6 against a disinterested Huskers frontcourt.

Northwestern is now 11-10 (4-8) and just a half-game back of Penn State to get out of the Wednesday games at the Big Ten Tournament. Up next are Indiana, a rough two-game set of Illinois and Purdue...and then their peers the rest of the way. We'll see if the 'Cats can continue to tap into that self-preservational streak.

#4 Purdue Boilermakers 82, Michigan Wolverines 76

BoilerUp89: Michigan played well, Purdue (well really just Ivey who was 0/6) shot poorly behind the arc, and yet despite this Purdue managed to stay in control of the game throughout the second half never allowing the Wolverines within one score in the last 16 minutes. A late attempt to get Purdue to turnover the ball over against the press was successful for a couple of possessions but then Purdue adapted to Michigan’s version of the press and was able to make them pay with some easy scores.

Dickinson had a tremendous scoring game going off for 28 points but was limited to only 2 rebounds. Purdue won the rebounding battle 32-22. Jaden Ivey, Zach Edey, and Trevion Williams were the only Boilermakers to score in double figures with 23, 13, and 19 points each. More importantly, Purdue shot 17 of 21 from the free throw line overcoming what has been an issue in the past few games. This all sets Purdue up for a huge week of basketball which could very well define the Big Ten portion of their season.

Oh and a couple of milestones were reached in this one. Purdue became the first Big Ten school to record 1000 conference victories and Matt Painter got his 400th career win (375 at Purdue, 25 at Southern Illinois). I’m sure Thumpasaurus and HeWasAHSQB will join me in hoping Purdue gets #1001 on Tuesday against the Illini.

#11 Wisconsin Badgers 51, Penn State Nittany Lions 49

Kind of...:

Rutgers Scarlet Knights 84, #13 Michigan State Spartans 63

Green Akers: It’s tempting to just write this one off as ‘well, if your opponent shoots like that at home, what are you gonna do’ but the problem is, MSU has two games in the last month and a half where they haven’t played like absolute crap. That they’ve stayed alive in the conference race nonetheless is testament to their own talent level and perhaps a dip in the middle class of the Big Ten this year, but the clock now ticks very loudly indeed if they intend to right themselves to get back in the conference picture and hit a crescendo as March approaches.

I don’t feel great about it, because you shouldn’t be vaguely wondering what a team’s identity is after 22 games.

RU in VA: Ha! I’d love to be in the chair wondering what my “team’s identity” is. It seems like Rutgers Basketball decides how to play based on their breakfast choices. Or a 20-sided die. Or whether the next Tik Tok video will be some wife nagging on her lazy husband. But I digress...

I watched this game constantly behind two or three people as we had dinner out after a day filled with kids’ basketball. They played and shot well, and looking at the shot chart, MSU pretty much solely shoots from the left side or the other corner. How much of that was Rutgers defense, I dunno. I also see a LOT of mid-range twos, the dumbest shot in basketball.

If you had to cover your eyes, WHO IS THIS TEAM:

  • Losses to Lafayette, UMass, and PSU
  • Wins against Purdue, Michigan, Iowa, and MSU.

Rutgers identity is basically “if we’re at home, we’re gonna win”. Doesn’t look good for OSU, Illinois, and Wisco coming up...

#18 Illinois Fighting Illini 74, Indiana Hoosiers 57

BuffKomodo: As much as a lot of us wished it weren’t true, there is a noticeable gap between Indiana and the top of the conference. TJD continues to struggle when challenged by the best bigs in the conference as most of his game consists of posting and overpowering mismatches or starting at 15’ out and just going Leroy Jenkins in the paint hoping something good happens. XJ was pretty decent but outside the first 8 minutes, everyone else was pretty much useless. I’m firmly on the “Bench Kopp and Stewart” train as they provide literally nothing, though Parker did hit a couple threes early.

Take nothing away from Illinois as they’re a damn good team, except Brad Underwood yelling at XJ for some reason in the first half was a punk move. Anywho, Illinois is my personal favorite for the regular season conference title right now. They’re hot at the time you need to get hot to win that.

HWAHSQB: With about 12 minutes remaining, Indiana was leading 46-42. Xavier Johnson drew an offensive foul on Trent Frazier and then proceeded to tell Frazier and the Illinois bench about it. It didn’t end well for him as Frazier would outscore the entire Hoosier team for the balance of the game and Illinois would end the game on a 32-11 run.

The 17 point final margin is Illinois’ largest victory against Indiana since 2011 and their largest margin at Some Assembly Required Hall since Bobby Knight and Lou Henson were roaming the sideline in 1988. This win was Illinois 18th road win in the last three seasons. Wisconsin is second with 13 and with only 4 road games remaining for each team, they can’t catch Illinois.

Brad Underwood deserves COY if they keep this up. They’ve run 9 different lineups and 9 of the top 10 minutes guys from the exhibition games have missed time this year. Granted, if Illinois had the back half of their schedule first, they likely would have picked up a lot more losses. It’s hard to play good basketball with no continuity, but they’ve managed it thanks to a veteran backcourt and excellent culture established by Underwood despite the turnover on his staff as well as on the court.

#16 Ohio State Buckeyes 82, Maryland Terrapins 67

MaximumSam: I had to listen to this one mostly on the radio. Not that it mattered much, the Buckeyes took a big lead and had a big lead for the whole game. Not the most interesting game in the world. What is interesting is trying to figure out why Maryland kind of sucks.

They should be good! The bench is thin, granted, but they have good players at every position. Eric Ayala nearly declared for the draft. Fatts Russell is a good point guard! Donta Scott and Hakim Hart are good players! At the end of the day, they don’t shoot straight enough to win, and I guess that’s the explanation. But this is a team far divorced from their on paper value compared to what their results on the court.

Iowa Hawkeyes 71, Minnesota Golden Gophers 59

WSR: **Sigh**

Did you know that Minnesota led at halftime? And we scored more than 18 points.


Best weekend?

This poll is closed

  • 47%
    (107 votes)
  • 41%
    (92 votes)
  • 4%
    (9 votes)
  • 7%
    Someone else
    (16 votes)
224 votes total Vote Now


More importantly: Worst?

This poll is closed

  • 41%
    Michigan State
    (84 votes)
  • 12%
    (26 votes)
  • 2%
    (6 votes)
  • 39%
    All involved in Penn State-wisconsin
    (80 votes)
  • 3%
    Someone else
    (8 votes)
204 votes total Vote Now