Illinois pulls the shocker - Joe Robbins
Yet another week of college basketball where the no.1 ranked team in the country fell and upset were aplenty throughout the country.
The number 1 ranking in the country has turned into a revolving door, with this being the 5th straight week that the nation's top team has been beaten. With no team in the country separating itself from the rest of the pack this should make for one of the most exciting NCAA tournament's in recent memory. If you thought your bracket was hard to pick in the past, you haven't seen anything yet.
#4 Duke (21-2, 8-2): WIN v. N.C. State (98-85), WIN @ Boston College (62-61): Duke was able to avenge a loss last month against N.C. State with a dominant win. The Blue Devils overpowered the Wolfpack in the 1st half, racing out to a 58-37 lead at intermission. Mason Plumlee paced Duke with 30 points while Seth Curry added 26 in Thursday night's win. Things weren't quite as easy for Duke on Sunday night as Boston College threw everything they had at Duke, but the Blue Devils escaped Chestnut Hill with a victory. With the three teams ranked in front of them losing last week, it looks as if Duke could regain the no. 1 ranking that they held earlier this year. Plumlee again led Duke in the win over Boston College with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Whether they are ranked no. 1 or not this week, Duke still has to fend off challenges from North Carolina in Durham on Wednesday night before traveling to Maryland on Saturday.
#5 Kansas (19-4, 7-3): LOSS @ TCU (62-55), LOSS @ Oklahoma (72-66): After winning 18 straight games now Kansas is mired in a 3-game losing streak. TCU was 0-8 going into Wednesday night's game against Kansas, but they shocked the nation and picked up their first win ever in the Big 12. The Jayhawks really struggled from the field in Fort Worth, not scoring for the first 7 minutes of the game and shooting a season-low 30%. The only bright spot on Saturday for the Jayhawks was Jeff Withey getting a block against the Sooners to tie Greg Ostertag for the Kansas' record for blocks in a career with 258. Kansas won't have much time to right the ship as they have a rivalry game with Kansas State on Monday and a tilt with Texas at Allen Fieldhouse on Saturday.
Nebraska (12-12, 3-8): WIN v. Penn State (67-53): Nebraska earned their 3rd win in conference play this year on Saturday, the 2nd against Penn State in less than a month. The game wasn't pretty, with 73 free throws being shot between the two teams, but Nebraska used a 12-2 run to start the 2nd half to put Penn State away. The free throw line was the only place the Cornhuskers shot well from, as they shot only 33% from the field. Dylan Talley was the leading scorer from Nebraska with 16 points. A tough week awaits Nebraska with a trip to Indiana on Wednesday before returning to Lincoln to host Michigan State on Saturday.
Illinois (17-8, 4-7): WIN v. #1 Indiana (74-72), WIN @ #18 Minnesota (57-53): After starting off the season strong Illinois really struggled in the first half of Big Ten play, but now look to be working their way out of their slump with wins against two ranked teams last week. Illinois picked up their first win over a no. 1 ranked team since they defeated Wake Forest in 2004. Tyler Griffey's wide-open layup off an inbounds play with 0.9 seconds to go stunned Indiana. The Fighting Illini used some hot shooting from 3-point range to get the win on the road against Minnesota. Illinois hit 11 3-pointers while hitting only 7 shots from inside the arc in Sunday night's upset. D.J. Richardson led Illinois in scoring in both games with 23 points against Indiana and 13 points against Minnesota. Illinois will try and build off these wins on Wednesday at home against Purdue before making the trip to Evanston on Sunday night.
Purdue (12-12, 5-6): WIN @ Penn State (58-49), LOSS v. #12 Michigan State (78-65): The Purdue/Penn State game featured some exceptionally bad shooting, but Purdue pushed through it and was able to down the Nittany Lions. The teams combined to go 2-30 from 3-point, with Purdue failing to hit any of the 10 3-pointers they attempted. A.J. Hammons registered a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds. Hammons lived at the free throw line in the game, getting 11 of his 15 points from the charity stripe. Purdue actually shot 48% from the field but 14 turnovers were too much for the Boilermakers to overcome against the Spartans. Road games against Illinois on Wednesday night and Indiana on Saturday afternoon awaiting Matt Painter's team this week.
#3 Michigan (21-3, 8-3): WIN v. #10 Ohio State (76-74 OT), LOSS @ Wisconsin (65-62 OT): Michigan was on both the winning and losing ends of two overtime games last week. Tim Hardaway Jr hit 6 3-pointers and Michigan hit 14 3's as a team in the win against the Buckeyes. The Wolverines didn't have nearly as much luck from beyond the arc in Madison, only shooting 28% from 3-point range compared with 58% against the Buckeyes. Trey Burke was off from the field in the Kohl Center, hitting 8 of 21 shots from the field and scoring 19 points. Burke and company make the short trip to East Lansing on Tuesday night before returning to Ann Arbor to entertain Penn State on Sunday.
#12 Michigan State (20-4, 9-2): WIN v. #18 Minnesota (61-50), WIN @ Purdue (78-65): Injuries have been trying to slow down the Spartans lately but Tom Izzo's bunch have been able to play through them. Keith Appling and Adreian Payne missed some of the Minnesota game due to injury while Branden Dawson played but was dealing with a sprained ankle and Gary Harris dealt with back spasms. Travis Trice missed both games last week for the Spartans due to a head injury. Minnesota led the Spartans by a bucket at half but a strong 2nd half was enough to push the Spartans past the Golden Gophers. 13 steals and good shooting from the free throw line propelled Michigan State to a road win against Purdue on Saturday. The Spartans hit 20 of 24 free throws and were in control for most of the game against the Boilermakers. Michigan State has now won 9 of 10 games and will try and keep that game going in the huge matchup against Michigan on Tuesday night before heading to Lincoln on Saturday to play Nebraska.
Iowa (15-9, 4-7): LOSS @ Wisconsin (74-70 2 OT), WIN v. Northwestern (71-57): Iowa was able to battle back from a late 4-point deficit in Madison on Wednesday night but didn't have quite enough to help them win in double overtime. Wisconsin's typical smothering defense at home held Iowa to only 34% from the field in the 50 minutes of play. Mike Gessell was the leading scorer for the Hawkeyes on Wednesday night with 14 points in 42 minutes. Saturday's win against Northwestern allowed Devyn Marble to snap out of a slump he has been in since Big Ten play began. In his previous 3 games Marble had scored only 22 points and hadn't topped 20 points since scoring 27 points against South Carolina State on December 19th. This week Iowa will try to put together a winning streak at Penn State on Thursday before a afternoon matchup at home with Minnesota on Sunday.
Penn State (8-15, 0-11): LOSS v. Purdue (58-49), LOSS @ Nebraska (67-53): Nothing good has happened for Penn State since Big Ten play began and last week was no different for the Nittany Lions. Dreadful shooting continues to plague Penn State, as they shot 31% against Purdue, including 2-20 from 3-point range, and 29% in Lincoln on Saturday. The Nebraska game was especially ugly with 51 fouls being whistled between the teams. D.J. Newbill was the only offensive bright spot for Penn State with 17 points in each contest. It is looking more and more like Penn State might just go through conference play winless but they will try and avoid that this week at home against Iowa on Thursday before traveling to Michigan on Sunday.
Wisconsin (17-7, 8-3): WIN v. Iowa (74-70 2 OT), WIN v. #3 Michigan (65-62 OT): The Badgers may have needed some extra time in games last week but they were able to close in the end in both games at the Kohl Center. It was two typical Wisconsin games last week, it wasn't pretty but in the end they got the job done. Wisconsin matched Iowa's 34% from the field on Wednesday night but after blowing a late lead they found a way to win on Wednesday night. Ben Brust's magical heave at the buzzer forced overtime for the 2nd game in a row for the Badgers against Michigan. The Badgers then used the extra 5 minutes to grind out Michigan and send them home with a loss. Brust finished the upset of Michigan as Wisconsin's leading scorer with 14 points. Wisconsin now has a couple games against ranked teams this week with a Thursday night clash in Minneapolis against the Golden Gophers before Ohio State visits Madison on Sunday afternoon.
#1 Indiana (21-3, 9-2): LOSS @ Illinois (74-72), WIN @ #10 Ohio State (81-68): Indiana's second stint as the no. 1 team in the country will likely be short-lived after a buzzer-beater loss to Illinois on Thursday night in Champaign. The Hoosiers collapsed late in Thursday's game, as they had a 10-point lead with under 5 minutes to play but were stunned by a game-winning layup by Tyler Griffey. Indiana was able to rebound quickly with huge performances from Cody Zeller, Christian Watford, and Victor Oladipo against the Buckeyes. The victory on Sunday was the first by Indiana against a top 10 Big Ten team on the road in over 20 years. The Hoosiers will try and make their way to the top of the rankings this week with a home game on Wednesday night against Nebraska before in-state rival Purdue comes into Bloomington on Saturday.
Northwestern (13-11, 4-7): LOSS @ Iowa (71-57): A light week on the court didn't allow Northwestern to snap out of the slump they have been in lately. The Wildcats only had one game last week and after the loss they have now dropped 3 of their last 4 games. Reggie Hearn was the only Wilcat that cracked double-figures, as he put in 13 points on Saturday. Since conference play started, Northwestern had mainly alternated wins and losses before falling into the current skid that they are in. Northwestern will try and snap out of this week with a road game against Ohio State on Thursday and a Sunday night game in Evanston versus Illinois.
#18 Minnesota (17-7, 5-6): LOSS @ #12 Michigan State (61-50), LOSS v. Illinois (57-53): Going into last week it was looking as if Minnesota had recovered from their 4-game losing streak but after 2 losses last week it must look like that was false hope for Golden Gopher fans. Minnesota has really struggled shooting lately, as they have now dropped 6 out of their last 8 games. Minnesota has been strong on the glass, outrebounding both Michigan State and Illinois, but it hasn't translated to wins on the court. Senior Rodney Williams missed the Illinois game with a shoulder injury. After being ranked as high as no. 8 earlier this season, it now looks like Minnesota will drop out of the rankings after last week's losses. Minnesota will try and recover at home versus Wisconsin on Thursday before traveling to Iowa City to square off with the Hawkeyes on Sunday.