And no damns were given. - Gregory Shamus
The ACC/Big Ten Challenge took center stage early this week with both the two power conferences battling to a 6-6 draw. Technically the Big Ten retained the Challenge title due to winning last year, and hasn't lost the Challenge since 2008.
While it is still very early in the college basketball season, it looks as if Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio State are the class of the Big Ten. Illinois won the Maui Invitational but also has had a couple close calls. Sparty always goes through their early season problems but will be in the thick of it by the end. Minnesota's only loss has come to Duke and they look like they could be a sleeper in the Big Ten this year, so far.
Each week I'll let you know how Ohio State's opponents this season fared during the previous week. You know, because we got to keep our enemies closer.
Washington (4-3): WIN v. Saint Louis 66-61, WIN v. CSU-Fullerton 74-72: On Wednesday C.J. Wilcox finished with 27 points to lead a short-handed Washington team over Saint. Louis. Bugged by injuries, the Huskies use 7 players on Wednesday and 8 on Saturday, as they had to come from behind to beat Cal State Fullerton. Wilcox hit 2 free throws with 3.6 seconds left to put Washington ahead. They had trailed 43-29 at the end of the 1st half. Nevada comes in to face Washington on Saturday.
#2 Duke (8-0): WIN v. Ohio State 73-68, WIN v. Delaware 88-50: As we saw on Wednesday, Duke rallied from a 8 point halftime deficit to beat Ohio State at Cameroon Indoor. Mason Plumlee put up double-doubles in both Duke victories this week. Duke has already defeated 3 teams that were ranked in the top 5 when they played, notching wins over Kentucky and Louisville before beating the Buckeyes. After 5 games in 9 days, Duke gets a little break before returning to action versus Temple on Saturday.
Long Beach State (3-3): WIN v. Loyola Marymount 73-70: Ohio State's opponent this Saturday has faced a difficult early schedule, with losses to North Carolina and Arizona already, that is only going to get tougher. LBSU will host Fresno State (LBSU already beat Fresno State on the road 69-61 this year) on Monday before traveling to Syracuse on Thursday and on to Columbus on Saturday. James Ennis is LBSU's leading scorer with 15.3 points per game.
#10 Kansas (6-1): WIN v. San Jose State 70-57, WIN v. Oregon State 84-78: On Monday Jeff Withey recorded the second official triple-double in Kansas school history with 16 points, 12 rebounds, and 12 blocks. Playing in Kansas City on Saturday, the Jayhawks held off a pesky Oregon State team behind 21 points from Ben McLemore. Former Big 12 foe #19 Colorado heads into Lawrence for a Saturday afternoon matchup.
Nebraska (5-1): WIN v. Wake Forest 79-63: Ray Gallegos and Andre Almedia scored 20 points each as Nebraska dispatched Wake Forest in the ACC/B1G Challenge. The Cornhuskers have home games this week against USC on Monday and #11 Creighton on Thursday.
#22 Illinois (8-0): WIN v. Georgia Tech 75-62: Illinois was trailing Georgia Tech 58-54 but finished the game on a 21-4 run to upend the Yellow Jackets. The Fighting Illini now have a 31 game non-conference home winning streak. On Tuesday Illinois plays Western Carolina before traveling to face #12 Gonzaga on Saturday.
Purdue (3-4): WIN v. Clemson 73-61, LOSS v. Xavier 63-57: D.J. Byrd hit 6 3-pointers in the first half to propel Purdue to a 42-22 halftime lead at half against Clemson. The Boilermakers didn't have as much luck from 3 in their matchup against Xavier as they went 0-17 from distance. It was the first time since 1992 that Purdue failed to register a 3. Purdue faces Lamar on Tuesday before head to Eastern Michigan on Sautrday.
#3 Michigan (7-0): WIN v. #18 North Carolina State 79-72, WIN at Bradley 74-66: Trey Burke was held scoreless in the 1st half against N.C. State on Tuesday night but made up for it with 9 assists. Burke finished with 18 points and a career high 11 assists. Nik Stauskas added 20 points on Tuesday and followed it up with 22 points on Saturday against Bradley in his 1st career start. The Wolverines host Western Michigan on Tuesday night and Arkansas on Saturday.
#13 Michigan State (6-2): LOSS at Miami (FL) 67-59, WIN v. Nicholls State 84-39: The Hurricanes started the 2nd half on a 14-2 run to put Michigan State in a hole they couldn't climb out of on Wednesday in the ACC/B1G Challenge. Keith Appling led the Spartans in scoring in both the loss, 15 points, and the win, 13 points. Michigan State found things a little easier against Nicholls State, jumping out to a 37-13 lead at half. Arkansas Pine-Bluff comes to East Lansing on Wednesday followed by Loyola Chicago on Saturday.
Iowa (6-2): LOSS at Virginia Tech 95-79, WIN v. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 88-59: Iowa had closed the gap to 57-54 with 12 minutes left in Blacksburg but immediately let the Hokies go on a 12-4 run and ultimately lost to Virginia Tech. Melshan Basabe came off the bench to score 17 points and a 20-0 1st half run powered the Hawkeyes to a victory on Saturday as they returned home on Saturday. Iowa welcomes South Dakota on Tuesday before in-state rival Iowa State comes to Iowa City on Friday.
Penn State (4-3): LOSS v. Boston College 73-61, WIN v. Pennsylvania 58-47: With the loss of Tim Frazier, Penn State has been looking for players to pick up the scoring slack. Jermaine Marshall and D.J. Newbill were the top scores in both games as the Nittany Lions split their games this week. Penn State travels to LaSalle on Wednesday before entertaining Army on Saturday.
Wisconsin (5-3): LOSS v. Virginia 60-54, WIN v. California 81-56: Wisconsin was doubled up on the boards 36-18 and shot only 38% from the field as they fell to Virginia in the ACC/B1G Challenge. California came into Madison on Saturday looking to go 7-0 for the first time since 1959 but were dominated by the Badgers. Ben Brust scored a season-high 22 points to lead Wisconsin.Nebraska-Omaha comes into Madison on Tuesday night before the Badgers head to Marquette on Saturday.
#1 Indiana (8-0): WIN v. #14 North Carolina 83-59, WIN v. Coppin State 87-51: In one of the marquee games of the ACC/B1G Challege Indiana used a smothering 2nd half defense to pull away from the Tar Heels. North Carolina went 1-20 to start the 2nd half as the Hoosiers pulled away. Victor Oladipo and Will Sheehey paced Indiana with 14 points each as Indiana dropped Coppin State to 0-25 against B1G teams on Saturday. Next up for Indiana is Saturday versus Central Connecticut State.
Northwestern (6-2): LOSS v. Maryland 77-57, LOSS v. Illinois-Chicago 50-44: Northwestern dropped their first 2 games of this season this week at home. Maryland scored on their first 10 possessions of the 2nd half to down their future conference foe. The Wildcats cost themselves the game against Illinois-Chicago by committing 16 turnovers and going 10-20 for the free throw line. A tough week awaits Northwestern as the Wildcats travel to Waco to take on Baylor on Tuesday before returning to Evanston to host Butler on Saturday.
#21 Minnesota (8-1): WIN at Florida State 77-68, WIN v. North Florida 87-59: After 3 games in 3 days at Atlantis over the weekend, Minnesota went into Tallahasse and scored a victory before heading back to Minnesota. Rodney Williams Jr. registered 14 points in both contests. The only loss Minnesota has suffered so far this season has been at the hands of Duke in the opening round of the Battle 4 Atlantis. The Golden Gophers have a home game Tuesday against South Dakota State before heading back on the road to face USC on Saturday night.