TTUN has been rollin' so far this year - Gregory Shamus
The Big Ten schedule kicked off last week and the first week has already given us a few surprises.
Eyebrows had to have been raised with Purdue defeating Illinois last week, and then having Illinois turn around and destroy Ohio State on Saturday. It seems as if the cream of the Big Ten is Michigan followed but Indiana and Minnesota. The conference season is young though and there could be many shifts from now until the end of the season.
Washington (9-5, 1-0): WIN @ Washington State (68-63): Washington jumped out to a 21-4 lead against in-state rival Washington State and never looked back, holding on for a 68-63 win in Pullman on Saturday night. Aziz N'Diaye finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds in a winning effort for the Huskies. Washington finishes out their 4-game road trip with games at Cal on Wednesday night and Stanford on Saturday this week.
#1 Duke (14-0, 1-0): WIN @ Davidson (67-50), WIN v. Wake Forest (82-60): In their final non-conference game of the season, Duke went into halftime tied with Davidson 29-29. The Blue Devils opened the 2nd half on a 12-0 to discard the Wildcats. In their ACC opener Saturday Ryan Kelly put in a season-high 22 points and Quinn Cook added a career-high 14 assists as Duke cruised past Wake Forest. This week features a home date with Clemson on Tuesday before making the short trip to Raleigh on Saturday afternoon to battle #23 N.C. State for the Blue Devils.
#6 Kansas (12-1): WIN v. Temple (69-62): Temple was looking to upset their 2nd top-10 team in the past month but Kansas used a late surge to down the Owls. Jeff Withey just missed out on a triple-double, finishing with 8 points, 11 rebounds, and 9 blocks. The Jayhawks open Big 12 play this week, welcoming Iowa State into Allen Fieldhouse on Wednesday before traveling to Texas Tech on Saturday.
Nebraska (9-6, 0-2): LOSS @ Ohio State 70-44, LOSS v. Wisconsin (47-41): Last week could be the beginning of a long Big Ten conference schedule for the Cornhuskers. Nebraska failed to break 45 points in both games they played this week, and things won't get any easier this week with trips to Ann Arbor on Wednesday and East Lansing on Sunday.
#11 Illinois (14-2, 1-1): LOSS @ Purdue (68-61), WIN v. #8 Ohio State (74-55): The Fighting Illini split their first 2 games of Big Ten play, losing to Purdue on Wednesday night before dismantling Ohio State on Saturday. Illinois' poor shooting from the field in West Lafayette proved to be their down fall, as they shot only 35.6% from the field. A big home game versus #9 Minnesota is on deck for Illinois Wednesday before they travel to Wisconsin on Saturday.
Purdue (7-7, 1-1): WIN v. #11 Illinois (68-61), LOSS @ #18 Michigan State (84-61): Down the stretch D.J. Byrd hit three 3-pointers and finished with 15 points to help propel Purdue to the home upset of Illinois. Terone Johnson led the Boilermakers with 25 points in the winning effort. Purdue was thinking upset again on Saturday, trailing by 2 early in the 2nd half before a 28-7 run by Michigan State erased those thoughts. Home games against Ohio State on Tuesday and Penn State on Sunday await the Boilermakers this week.
#2 Michigan (15-0): WIN @ Northwestern (94-66), WIN v. Iowa (95-67): So far this season Michigan has looked downright scary, having little problems in their first 2 Big Ten games this year. Trey Burke has been playing like a serious National Player of the Year candidate, with 23 points against Northwestern and 19 points and 12 assists against Iowa. Glenn Robinson III added 20 points and 10 rebounds against the Hawkeyes. Michigan should have another easy matchup in Ann Arbor versus Nebraska on Wednesday before traveling to Columbus on Sunday for a showdown with Ohio State.
#18 Michigan State (12-3, 1-1): LOSS @ #9 Minnesota (76-63), WIN v. Purdue (84-61): The Spartans lead the Gophers 59-54 with under 10 minutes left on New Years Eve, but couldn't hold off Minnesota, eventually losing by 13 points. Michigan State rebounded on Saturday behind Gary Harris' 22 points to earn their 1st Big Ten win on the year. A Thursday road game against Iowa before returning home Sunday to face Nebraska is what is on the schedule this week for Michigan State.
Iowa (11-4): LOSS v. #5 Indiana (69-65), LOSS @ #2 Michigan (95-67): Iowa had visions of upsetting Indiana in Iowa City on New Years Eve, but shooting 3-17 from 3-point range didn't help to make those visions a reality. Things went from bad to worse for the Hawkeyes, playing a good 1st half on Sunday, but still finding themselves down by 11 to Michigan at halftime. The deficit only increased in the 2nd half, as Iowa started off the Big Ten season 0-2. The Hawkeyes will try to rebound on Thursday against Michigan State before they hit the road to challenge Northwestern on Sunday.
Penn State (8-5, 0-1): LOSS @ Wisconsin (60-51): Penn State was within 1 with under 3 minutes to play but Wisconsin went on a 11-2 run to end the game to give the Nittany Lions a loss in the only game they played last week. Jermaine Marshall led Penn State with 19 points in the losing effort. Up next is the rare 3 conference game week for Penn State. Indiana and Northwestern come into Happy Valley on Monday and Thursday before a trip to Purdue on Sunday closes out the week.
Wisconsin (11-4, 2-0): WIN v. Penn State (60-51), WIN @ Nebraska (47-41): The 2 wins last week weren't pretty, but they still count as wins for Wisconsin. Ryan Evans is proving himself to be the best player for the Badgers, registering 13 points and 9 rebounds against Penn State and 10 points and 15 rebounds against Nebraska. The Badgers only game this coming week is a home matchup with Illinois on Saturday afternoon.
#5 Indiana (13-1, 1-0): WIN @ Iowa (69-65) Cody Zeller scored 15 of his 19 points in the 2nd half, as Indiana snapped a 4-game losing streak in Iowa City. This week gives Indiana a road trip to Penn State on Monday night before they entertain Minnesota in Bloomington on Saturday.
Northwestern (9-6, 0-2): LOSS v. #2 Michigan (94-66), LOSS @ #9 Minnesota (69-51): The good news for Northwestern is they got Reggie Hearn back for the Minnesota game, after he missed the previous 2 games due to a ankle injury. That was about the only good news the Wildcats got this week as they ran into two really tough teams to start out their Big Ten schedule. Northwestern will try and right the ship this week with a game at Penn State on Thursday before coming back to Evanston on Sunday to welcome Iowa.
#9 Minnesota (14-1, 2-0): WIN v. #18 Michigan State (76-63), WIN v. Northwestern (69-51): Minnesota started 2013 the same way that they ended 2012, pulling away in the 2nd half of both their victories last week. In Sunday's game against Northwestern, Austin Hollins hit 5 3-pointers in a 4 minute stretch to really clinch the victory for the Gophers. Now ranked #9 in the country, this is Minnesota's highest ranking since they went to the Final Four in 1997. Minnesota will have their work cut out this week if they want to keep that high ranking, with road matchups with Illinois on Wednesday and Indiana on Saturday.