Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports
Another wild week in Big Ten conference play last week with some close games and a few upsets.
Right now the Big Ten looks to be the best conference in the country. Aside from a couple teams at the bottom, every game in the conference is tough and you never know what you are going to get with each game. The rest of the season should hold more of the same, if not get even better.
Washington (12-6, 4-1): WIN v. Colorado (64-54), LOSS v. Utah (74-65): After beating Colorado on Wednesday night to improve to 4-0 in Pac-12 play, it looked as if Washington was going to move to 5-0 in the Pac-12 for the first time since 1984 with winless Utah coming into Seattle. The Utes gave the Huskies a surprise, winning their first conference road game as a member of the Pac-12. Washington travels just south to Oregon this week, playing the Beavers on Wednesday and the Ducks on Saturday.
#3 Duke (16-1, 3-1: WIN v. Georgia Tech (73-57): At halftime against Georgia Tech, the Blue Devils were trailing by 1 but shot 53% from the field in the 2nd half to pull away from the Yellow Jackets. Duke, who is still playing without Ryan Kelly, was led by 24 points from Seth Curry and 16 points and 13 rebounds from Mason Plumlee. The Blue Devils travel to ACC-leader Miami on Wednesday before returning to Cameron Indoor to play Maryland on Saturday.
#4 Kansas (16-1, 4-0): WIN v. Baylor (61-44), WIN @ Texas (64-59): Kansas kept rolling along, winning their 14th and 15th straight games on the season. Ben McLemore continued his strong play this season, scoring 17 points against Baylor and 16 versus Texas. The win against Texas wasn't easy as the Jayhawks had to rally from an 11-point 2nd half deficit to pull out the win. Kansas travels to play in-state rival Kansas State on Tuesday and welcomes Oklahoma into Lawrence on Saturday.
Nebraska (10-9, 1-5): LOSS v. Purdue (65-56), WIN @ Penn State (68-64): The week got off to a rough start, but ended on a good note for Nebraska. The Cornhuskers dropped their first game of the week to Purdue, and were without forward Brandon Ubel for a second straight game. All that changed on Saturday with Nebraska picking up their first Big Ten win on the year and getting Ubel back on the court. Shavon Shields went 10-11 from the floor with 29 points in the win over Penn State. This week Nebraska has a couple of home games, hosting Illinois on Tuesday and Northwestern on Saturday.
#23 Illinois (14-5, 1-4): LOSS v. Northwestern (68-54): In what was a surprise, Illinois lost at home to Northwestern on Thursday night by 14 points. The lone bright spot in the game for Illinois was the 21 points from Brandon Paul. After a 12-0 start to the season, John Groce's team has now dropped 5 out of their last 7 games. Next up for Illinois is a road game versus Nebraska on Tuesday before a tough test at home versus Michigan on Sunday.
Purdue (10-8, 3-2): WIN @ Nebraska (65-56), WIN v. West Virginia (79-52): With two wins last week, Purdue has now won three games in a row for the second time this season. In both games last week Purdue had four players score in double-figures. Terone Johnson led Purdue with 18 points against Nebraska, while D.J. Byrd scored 17 points to pace Purdue in the easy non-conference win over West Virginia. Purdue heads to Ann Arbor on Thursday to play Michigan before returning to West Lafayette for a Sunday matchup against Iowa.
#5 Michigan (17-1, 4-1): WIN @ #9 Minnesota (83-75): After suffering their first loss on the year to Ohio State, Michigan got back on the winning track Thursday night against Minnesota. The Wolverines registered 13 steals against the Golden Gophers and Tim Hardaway Jr was the high scorer for Michigan with 21 points. On deck is Purdue on Thursday night at home and a trip to Champaign to play Illinois on Sunday for Michigan.
#18 Michigan State (16-3, 5-1): WIN @ Penn State (81-72), WIN v. #11 Ohio State (59-56): Earlier in the day on Wednesday Branden Dawson and Adrian Payne got into a altercation but it didn't seem to slow down the Spartans as they later beat Penn State. Payne actually set a career-high with 20 points against the Nittany Lions. With their two wins this week the Spartans have now won 5 games in a row and will try and extend that when they travel to Wisconsin on Tuesday and Indiana on Sunday.
Iowa (13-5, 2-2): WIN v. Wisconsin (70-66): Iowa jumped out to a 20-point lead in the 1st half before holding on in the 2nd half to hand Wisconsin their 1st Big Ten loss on the season. Aaron White was the leading scorer for the Hawkeyes with 17 points in the game. Iowa will be on the road this week, playing in Columbus on Tuesday night and then at Purdue on Sunday night.
Penn State (8-10, 0-6): LOSS v. #18 Michigan State (81-72), LOSS v. Nebraska (68-64): Penn State failed to get their first Big Ten win last week as they dropped both of their home games. The Nittany Lions hung tough in both games but just couldn't do enough to get a victory. Jermaine Marshall played well in both losses, scoring 29 against Michigan State and 18 against Nebraska. Penn State might have a hard time gaining their first conference win this week with a matchup at Indiana before coming back home Saturday against Ohio State.
Wisconsin (13-5, 4-1): WIN @ #2 Indiana (64-59), LOSS @ Iowa (70-66): Wisconsin continued their dominance over Indiana, winning their 11th straight in the series on Tuesday night in Bloomington. Tom Crean still has not beaten Bo Ryan since he took over the Hoosiers in 2008. Ryan Evans scored 13 points in Tuesday night's win. The rest of the week wasn't so go, as Iowa handed Wisconsin their 1st conference loss of the season on Saturday night. Wisconsin has a couple home games this week as they'll try to rebound on Tuesday versus Michigan State and on Saturday against Minnesota.
#2 Indiana (16-2, 4-1): LOSS v. Wisconsin (64-59), WIN @ Northwestern (67-59): After rising back to number 2 in the country, Indiana continued to struggle against Wisconsin and will likely drop a few spots in the rankings. Cody Zeller registered a couple double-double last week with 23 points and 10 rebounds in the Wisconsin game and 21 points and 13 rebounds in the win versus Northwestern. This week Indiana has home games versus Penn State and Michigan State on the schedule.
Northwestern (11-8, 2-4): WIN @ #23 Illinois (68-54), LOSS v. #2 Indiana (67-59): Northwestern split a pair of games last week against ranked teams. The win versus Illinois wasn't so much of a shock that they won, but more of a shock in how dominate they were against the Illini. Reggie Hearn scored 20 points in the win against Illinois and competed hard against Indiana, scoring 22 points. The Wildcats have another game against a ranked team when they welcome Minnesota on Wednesday before traveling to Nebraska on Saturday.
#9 Minnesota (15-3, 3-2): LOSS v. #5 Michigan (83-75): The Golden Gophers have now lost all three of their games this year to teams ranked in the top 10. Minnesota couldn't overcome Michigan's hot shooting from the field and came up short at home on Thursday. Austin Hollins did all he could with 21 points for the Golden Gophers but it wasn't quite enough. Road games await Minnesota this week with trips to Northwestern on Wednesday and Wisconsin on Saturday.