Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports
The Big Ten season is finally upon us, with 2 games being contested this afternoon to open up conference play.
Ohio State's opponents had a mostly light week last week due to the Christmas holiday. Most teams only played a game over the weekend while a couple teams got a little extra rest and didn't play at all. The Big Ten schedule this season should be full of excitement with 6 teams currently ranked in the top 25.
Washington (8-5): LOSS @ UConn (61-53): UConn shut down Washington's leading scorer C.J. Wilcox, who had scored 20 points in 7 of the Huskies last 8 games, holding him to 5 points on 2-12 shooting. Washington can't win under Lorenzo Romar in the Eastern Time Zone, falling to 2-13 under him. One of those losses was earlier this year as Ohio State beat Washington in Uncasville, CT. Washington returns to the west coast this week, going to Pullman to play Washington State on Saturday night.
#1 Duke (12-0): WIN v. Santa Clara (90-77): Duke had some preoblems with Santa Clara, trailing 45-41 with about 16 minutes left in the 2nd half before ultimately pulling away at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Seth Curry scored a season-high 31 points and Mason Plumlee added another double-double with 22 points and 13 rebounds in the victory. The Blue Devils have one more non-conference game left against Davidson on Wednesday before diving into ACC play against Wake Forest on Saturday.
#6 Kansas (11-1): WIN v. American (89-57): The Jayhawks got a late present with a cakewalk against American University on Saturday. Kansas was deadly from 3-point range, hitting 15-24 from beyond the arc, in the romp at Allen Fieldhouse. Travis Releford led Kansas, going 5-6 from 3, to finish with 19 points. Kansas plays Temple on Sunday before starting Big 12 play next week.
Nebraska (9-4): WIN v. Nicholls (68-59): Nebraska went 10-10 from the free throw line in the last minute to wrap up a victory over Nicholls. The lead for Nebraska was down to 58-54 with a minute left before Nebraska really pulled away by hitting those free throws. Brandon Ubel paced Nebraska with 18 points. Big Ten play begins for the Cornhuskers begins on Wednesday as they come to Columbus before hosting Wisconsin on Sunday.
#12 Illinois (13-1): WIN v. Auburn (81-79): A week after suffering their first loss on the season Illinois got back to their winning ways, holding off Auburn in Chicago on Saturday. Tracy Abrams scored a career-high 27 points to help make up for Brandon Paul's 3-10 shooting. The Fighting Illini travel to Purdue on Wednesday before John Groce matches up against Ohio State in Champaign on Saturday afternoon for the first time since he has been a head coach.
Purdue (6-6): WIN v. William & Mary (73-66): In their first game in 11 days, Purdue downed William & Mary to reach .500 before Big Ten play started. Terrone Johnson was Purdue's leading scorer with 16 points while A.J. Hammons added 14 points. The Boilers face a tough start to Big Ten play, hosting #12 Illinois on Wednesday before traveling to #19 Michigan State on Saturday.
#2 Michigan (13-0): WIN v. Central Michigan (88-73): Tim Hardaway Jr missed the first game of his career with a ankle injury, but the Wolverines didn't really need him as they cruised by Central Michigan. Michigan got most of their scoring from 3 players, with Trey Burke leading Michigan with 22 points and 11 assists, Nik Stauskas had 19, and Glenn Robinson III had 20 points. This week Michigan starts off their Big Ten schedule on Thursday at Northwestern, and returns home to play Iowa on Sunday.
#19 Michigan State (11-2): Did not play last week: The Spartans close out 2012 as they travel to #11 Minnesota on Monday before hosting Purdue on Saturday in their first game of 2013.
Iowa (11-2): Did not play last week: Games against top-5 teams await the Hawkeves this week. #5 Indiana comes to Iowa City on Monday, before Iowa goes on the road to face #2 Michigan on Sunday.
Penn State (8-4): WIN v. Duquesne (84-74): D.J. Newbill scored a career-high 23 points and also had 12 rebounds as Penn State won their 4th straight game. At one point in the 2nd half Penn State led by 22 points before Duquesne closed the gap a little but still lost by double digits. The Nittany Lions only have 1 Big Ten game this week, visiting Wisconsin on Thursday night.
Wisconsin (9-4): WIN v. Samford (87-51): Five Badgers scored in double figures as Wisconsin had little trouble with Samford to close out their non-conference schedule. Frank Kamisky was the leading scorer for Wisconsin with a career-high 16 points. Next up for the Badgers is a home game against Penn State on Thursday before hitting the road to play Nebraska on Sunday.
#5 Indiana (12-1): WIN v. Jacksonville (93-59): The Hooisers got their best game of the season from Jordan Hulls, who went 6-9 from 3-point range and had 20 points to beat a overmatched Jacksonville team. Due to foul trouble Cody Zeller played only 19 minutes but still found a way to score 16 points. Indiana closes out 2012 on Monday with their Big Ten opener at Iowa.
Northwestern (9-4): Did not play last week: Having not played since Decemeber 23rd, Northwestern plays again Thursday versus Michigan, and then travel on Sunday to #11 Minnesota.
#11 Minnesota (12-1): Did not play last week: Minnesota opens up Big Ten play with 2 home games, Monday against #19 Michigan State and Sunday against Northwestern.