Sunday, January 9th
Maryland Terrapins 80, Ohio State Buckeyes 73
BoilerUp89: Ohio State was without Zed Key for this one and that’s all she wrote. Maryland has struggled with more physical post defenders, but Key’s backup is a true freshman and was limited to 12 minutes. Without Key patrolling the defensive interior or a reliable backup, Maryland was able to get back to what worked for them in the early part of the non-conference and score 34 points in the paint. The Terps also had 14 offensive rebounds.
The Buckeyes actually shot pretty well (9 of 19 from three) to give themselves a chance, but were outrebounded by 14 and their defense was mostly of the fouling variety which gave the Terrapins 33 free throw attempts. For Maryland, Jahmir Young dropped 30 points - 13 of those from the free throw line - to lead the way. All five starters scored in double figures.
MaximumSam: The Bucks looked out of sorts all game. Felix Okpara was in constant foul trouble so they often put Eugene Brown at center. Defensively, they were a mess and had more fouls than rebounds while giving up 1.2 points per possession. Great win for Maryland, though, as they had looked D.O.A. the past month, mostly due to terrible offense. Five guys in double figures and Jahmir Young going for 30 helps the cause.
MaximumSam: Here I was, singing the praises of Rutgers of all teams, just to have them lose at home to Iowa. Payton Sandfort was the hero - he’s been struggling mightily shooting the ball but dropped 22 on on 8 shots to lead all scorers. Iowa jumped on them early and was on pace for 100 after ten minutes, which is not Steve Pikiell approved.
BoilerUp89: The Wildcats led by as many as 17 and still held a 13 point advantage with just over 4 minutes to go. A furious Hoosiers comeback got the game to within 4 before they threw up a half court buzzer beater to give us the final score.
Without two starters, the Hoosiers became just the Trayce Jackson-Davis and Jalen Hood-Schifino show on offense. TJD had 18 and JHS had 33. TJD was forced into playing all 40 minutes. Boo Buie led the Wildcats with 26 points. Much of the work by the Northwestern offense was done at the free throw line (19 of 28).
While Race Thompson and Xavier Johnson were out and the Hoosiers were missing their offensive contributions, its not like the roster is lacking in other play makers. The Hoosiers still had 4 top 30 prospects that played in this game. The bigger issues were the defense which let Northwestern get to their spot time and time again and the 16 turnovers. Indiana is talented enough that they shouldn’t be making those mistakes even without Thompson and Johnson.
BoilerUp89: Penn State came out on fire in the first half shooting 6/12 from 3 while the Boilers were having some mild issues with turnovers. That resulted in a halftime lead of 37-31 for the Nittany Lions. In the second half, Purdue changed up their defense and stopped switching on Jalen Pickett and kept Ethan Morton on him. That combined with some timely shooting for Purdue and continual post feeds to Zach Edey helped the Boilermakers start the second half on a 25-7 run thru the first nine minutes and secure the victory.
Zach Edey led all scorers with 30 points and added 13 rebounds, 3 blocks, and 3 assists. Jalen Pickett led the Nittany Lions with 26 points, 9 rebounds, and 8 assists and did a good job putting the Purdue defense in binds. Braden Smith did a really good job of penetrating the Nittany Lions and then finding the open guy. A lot of the time that open guy was Zach Edey for dunks, but Smith found some open shooters as well and had 7 assists to go with 15 points.
Tuesday, January 10th
Michigan State Spartans (11-4, 3-1) at Wisconsin Badgers (11-3, 3-1), 6 pm, ESPN
BoilerUp89: First place is on the line in Madison. Will Tyler Wahl play? If he doesn’t, look for Michigan State to crash the offensive boards early and often to try and steal some extra possessions. Otherwise, this is a fairly even matchup. Both teams are shooting around 37% from three, struggling in the paint, and not getting to the free throw line very often.
Illinois Fighting Illini (10-5, 1-3) at Nebraska Cornhuskers (9-7, 2-3), 8 pm, BTN
BoilerUp89: Illinois had a nice bounce back win over Wisconsin. They will now travel to Lincoln which has been a source of ulcers for opposing coaches so far this season. Nebraska meanwhile is coming off a narrow road escape at Minnesota.
Nebraska’s best chance is to turn this one into a grind and keep the number of possessions low. That gives them an opportunity to hang around, let the crowd get into it, and have an opportunity to grab a victory if they make some shots. While Nebraska slows the game up well, Illinois is the second fastest tempo team in the conference and thrives off generating turnovers on defense. If the Illini can turn Nebraska over and make this a track meet, it’s unlikely that the Nebraska shooting came keep pace.