Sunday, February 19th
Northwestern Wildcats 80, Iowa Hawkeyes 60
MaximumSam: The Poindexters left no doubt in this one. They were up double digits at the half and were up by as many as 23. It was a team statement that they are in sole possession of second place in the conference. Things don’t let up, though - they now go on the road to Illinois and Maryland. For Iowa’s part, they couldn’t get anything going from deep (3-24) and drop back into the mushy middle.
BoilerUp89: Iowa started the game something like 1 of 16 from three before banking a second one right before the buzzer for halftime. They stopped chucking as many of them in the second half, but forgot that defensive stops are important to stage a comeback.
Then Fran had a meltdown, got thrown out of the game, and his son Patrick also picked up a technical just a little later. No word on why Conner didn't get one out of solidarity.
Nebraska Cornhuskers 70, Maryland Terrapins 66
MaximumSam: You can’t let the Cornhuskers hang around. Despite losing by 8 with seven minutes left, Nebraska came back to force OT and the win. Powered by Keisei Tominaga (20 points) and Derrick Walker (23), Nebraska has now won four of their last five. They are now 14-14 and have a shot at finishing with a winning record for the first time under Fred Hoiberg.
BoilerUp89: Tominaga is the most fun player in the conference. While Nebraska probably won't be getting an at large bid even if they win out (the strong non conference schedule was nice, but you do have to win a couple of them), they find themselves battling for avoiding Wednesday in the BTT.
Road Maryland (wins against Louisville and Minnesota only) is not the same as home Maryland (losses only against UCLA). Seems like it might be a problem come tournament time but the Terrapins do have a 2-1 site record.
Purdue Boilermakers 82, Ohio State Buckeyes 55
MaximumSam: The most interesting thing about the Buckeyes lately is that you could have financed an addition to your house betting against them during their latest losing streak.
BoilerUp89: Zed Key was held out of this one and Ohio State didn't have an answer inside. Edey had his usual production (although he was inefficient, missing a lot of shots) but Gillis had 10 rebounds, Kaufman-Renn had his best game of conference play and the Boilers doubled up OSU in rebounding.
Most importantly though, the win means Purdue has a winning record against every B1G basketball program for the first time since I was in school when the Matta era Buckeyes took the lead in that series. Although Purdue will lose this statistical achievement when USC and UCLA join, here's hoping they maintain it until then.
Monday, February 20th
#229 Minnesota Gophers (7-17, 1-13) at #38 Illinois Fighting Illini (17-9, 8-7), 8 pm, BTN
MaximumSam: Terrence Shannon, Jr. is still in the concussion protocol as of yesterday, so not sure of his availability. Probably not something that matters against the hapless Gophers. I usually skip over Minnesota but today we will take a deeper dive.
The Gophers stink. At #229 on Torvik and 1-13 in the conference, they are very bad. But we all knew that coming in, so the question is whether there is any hope for the future. As far as I can tell, everyone on the team is eligible to return. They have two four star freshmen coming in, as well as possible returns of Parker Fox and Isaiah Ihnen, who missed the year due to injury. After two years of roster turmoil, the potential is here to return a veteran and experienced team. They desperately need shooters - Jamison Battle chucking a million threes at a 29% clip isn’t going to cut it. If they can hold the team together and develop or find a shooter (Braedon Carrington?), the Gophers might stop being a doormat next year.
misdreavus79: Oh there’s a game today? That’s cool. Keeps me busy since I have to work like a peasant.
BoilerUp89: To add on to MaximumSam, the Gophers need reinforcements - primarily outside shooting. They are getting some pieces but a transfer perimeter shooter would be very helpful. And while everyone is eligible to come back, that doesn't mean they will. This is the transfer portal era so the Gophers have to stave off defections too.