Thursday, February 23rd
Illinois Fighting Illini 66, Northwestern Wildcats 62
BoilerUp89: A game of runs. Illinois had 8-0, 17-3, and 11-0 runs. Northwestern had 10-1, 13-2, and 12-0 runs. When they say basketball is a game about momentum, this is the game they are talking about.
Boo Buie had 35 points. Terrence Shannon Jr. came off the bench to score 26 points. A late offensive rebound helped the Illini to secure the victory.
Michigan Wolverines 58, Rutgers Scarlet Knights 45
BoilerUp89: Two teams headed in opposite directions. Rutgers looked like a tournament lock but now they sit at 17-11 (9-8). If they end up at 18-14 going into the tournament, are they really making the field? The Purdue and Northwestern road wins are nice, but I don’t know that those carry them enough with the non-conference they had.
Michigan suddenly sits at 16-12 (10-7) and appears to be rounding into form. late in the season once again.
The Wolverines trailed 13-3 eight minutes into the game. They pulled back into a narrow lead at the half and several long scoring droughts by Rutgers in the second half allowed them to pull away. Hunter Dickinson and Cliff Omoruyi mostly cancelled each other out (13 points/11 rebounds v. 10 points/10 rebounds) while the Michigan starting guard duo combined for 30 points to Rutgers guards’ 20.
Penn State Nittany Lions 75, Ohio State Buckeyes 71
BoilerUp89: Penn State got a run for their money, but Jalen Pickett played thru some foul trouble on his way to putting up a 23 point, 4 assist night with 8 of 11 shooting. As a team the Nittany Lions went 10 of 19 from three missing about as many threes on the night as Ohio State did on the final possession of the game (with 25 seconds left and down four, OSU started chucking threes, missing, getting the offensive board, and repeating the process).
Saturday, February 25th
#24 Michigan State Spartans (17-10, 9-7) at #53 Iowa Hawkeyes (17-11, 9-8), 11 am, ESPN
BoilerUp89: Word came down from the B1G offices that Rutgers will not juggle their schedule to allow for MSU to make up their game with Minnesota. It’s not all bad news for Michigan State (they avoid the potential Minnesota loss which could crater their seemingly safe tournament bid), but its disappointing nevertheless.
As a result, this game features two teams trying desperately to get to 10 or 11 conference wins but fast running out of opportunities. Iowa has been unable to shoot the last two games while Michigan State is coming off their best game of the season. Something to consider: Iowa hasn’t lost at home since playing Eastern Illinois in December. All their ugly looking losses since then have come on the road.
#229 Minnesota Gophers (7-19, 1-15) at #109 Nebraska Cornhuskers (14-14, 7-10), 2:30 pm, BTN
BoilerUp89: Hoiberg will attempt to secure his job going into next season with a victory in this game. The Cornhuskers have won 3 straight and still have a slight chance to avoid Wednesday in the BTT. A win here would pull them just one game behind at least three teams (and possibly four) with a week to play.
#27 Indiana Hoosiers (19-9, 10-7) at #4 Purdue Boilermakers (24-4, 13-4), 6:30 pm, FOX
BoilerUp89: Big rivalry game in West Lafayette this weekend. In the first matchup, Purdue’s 16 turnovers doomed them as did falling into a 15 point hole at the half. Although Purdue came back and had an opportunity to win late in Bloomington they couldn’t quite get over the hump. If they avoid turnovers and digging a hole early, I like Purdue’s chances to turn the tables on Indiana in this one.
Two subplots in this one: TJD vs. Edey in the B1G/national player of the year race. TJD probably needs to both win the head to head battle and the game to seriously challenge Edey in those races. With Northwestern’s loss to Illinois on Thursday, Purdue can clinch a share of the Big Ten regular season title and eliminate Indiana from that race with a win.