What is going on with the Big Ten? Nebraska has now won five straight games and have put themselves on the bubble for a possible NCAA Tournament bid. Meanwhile, Wisconsin has rebounded from their slide last month and might be the best team in the Big Ten right now. To cap it all off Michigan won their second meeting with Michigan State this year and took sole possession of first place in the Big Ten. But knowing the Big Ten, give it a week and the conference will probably have done another 180.
Marquette (16-11, 8-6): LOSS v. #11 Creighton (85-70), WIN @ DePaul (96-94 OT):
The week started off on a down note for Marquette, as they ran into the buzzsaw that is Doug McDermott and the Creighton Blue Jays. With his 25 points in the game, McDermott moved into 11th place on the NCAA's all-time scoring list. The closest that Marquette was able to pull within was 64-59 in the second half, before a 10-2 Creighton run really put the game out of reach. Todd Mayo scored 13 points and Deonte Burton added 11 points, but it wasn't enough to help the Golden Eagles keep their three-game winning streak going.
It didn't take Marquette long to get back on the winning track though, but it did take them five extra minutes againDePaul on Saturday afternoon. This was the fourth game of the year that Marquette has played that has required overtime. The Golden Eagles held a 56-42 lead with 15 minutes to go in the game, but a 12-1 run helped the Blue Demons to close the gap in the game. Then with Marquette up 82-79, Blilly Garrett Jr hit a three-pointer with 2.6 seconds left to tie the ball game. Derrick Wilson proceeded to hit a 75-foot shot as time expired, but it the prayer was waved off as it was ruled that Buzz Williams had called for a timeout. In overtime Davante Gardner took over, scoring seven of his team-high 22 points in the extra session. Todd Mayo contributed 19 points and Jamil Wilson had 18 points and nine rebounds in the victory.
Having found their stride after a rough start to the season, Marquette will take on two teams this week that they have already have overtime tilts with this season. On Thursday night Marquette will host a Georgetown team that they defeated in overtime back in January, while on Sunday the Golden Eagles will travel to play Villanova, who they dropped an overtime game to last month.
Maryland (15-12, 7-7): WIN v. Wake Forest (71-60):
Having suffered losses to Virginia and Duke the previous week by a combined 10 points, Maryland was able to end their two-game skid with a victory against Wake Forest on Tuesday night. The win marked the sixth straight loss this year for Wake Forest, and the eighth straight victory that the Terrapins have been able to secure over the Demon Deacons. The key contributor in the victory for Maryland was Nick Faust, who scored a career-high 20 points off the bench. Wake Forest had pulled to within 36-35 after trailing at halftime 30-25, but a 16-3 run by the Terrapins erased any doubt in the result in the matchup. Charles Mitchell supplemented Faust's 20 points with 12 points and seven rebounds.
Now Maryland will need a strong finish in the regular season and ACC Tournament to have any chance of even getting onto the bubble to get to the NCAA Tournament. Monday night the Terrapins will have a chance to improve their resume when they host a suddenly struggling Syracuse team. After facing the Orange, Maryland will get their fair share of orange this week when they travel to Clemson on Sunday.
Purdue (15-12, 5-9): LOSS v. #13 Michigan State (94-79), LOSS @ Nebraska (76-57):
It was a rough week last week for Purdue as they suffered two blowout losses. The week started with Purdue getting to watch Michigan State hit three-pointers from pretty much everywhere in Mackey Arena. The Boilermakers tried their best, but weren't able to keep pace with the onslaught from the Spartans. Kendall Stephens hit four of the seven three-pointers that Purdue hit in the game on his way to 19 points off the bench. Ronnie Johnson added 17 points for Purdue, and was the only starter for the Boilermakers to reach double figures.
When the Boilermakers hit the road on Sunday things got even worse, as they weren't able to find their shooting stroke in Lincoln. Purdue only hit 30% from the field and suffered a couple droughts of six minutes or more without hitting a field goal. The only Purdue player to hit double figures in scoring in the game was Bryson Scott, who scored 13 points in 23 minutes off the bench. The Boilermakers trailed 34-25 at halftime and the second half was more of the same for Matt Painter's team.
This week will get even tougher for the Boilermakers, with a home game against Michigan on the schedule for Wednesday followed by a road trip to Iowa on Saturday night. While Purdue's chances at the NCAA Tournament are all but gone aside from winning the Big Ten Tournament, they still could create some havoc with a couple upsets to close out the season.
Nebraska (16-10, 8-6): WIN v. Penn State (80-67), WIN v. Purdue (76-57):
The run that Nebraska is on must feel like quite the magical run from Tim Miles and company. The Cornhuskers have now won seven of their last eight games and are doing their best to earn themselves a NCAA Tournament bid. Nebraska started off the week with a win over Penn State that saw Terran Petteway go for 26 points and Shavon Shields compliment that with 13 points. The win marked the first time since joining the Big Ten back in 2011 that Nebraska had been over .500 in conference.
The Cornhuskers were able to put some more cushion on that .500 mark with a win over Purdue on Sunday. Petteway bettered his mark from early in the week, going for 29 points against the Boilermakers. Nebraska used a 26-8 run in the second half to really put a statement on the victory, and keep the roll that the Cornhuskers have been on since opening Pinnacle Bank Arena open. Nebraska improved their record to 13-1 at their new digs with the victory. Shavon Shields added a double-double for Nebraska with 18 points and 10 rebounds in the victory.
Now Nebrasks will have to hit the road in their first game this week when they travel to Illinois and will try to sweep the regular season series with the Fighting Illini. Saturday will see the Cornhuskers return home to try and improve on their home record when they host Northwestern.
#13 Michigan State (22-6, 11-4): WIN @ Purdue (94-79), LOSS @ #20 Michigan (79-70):
The week for Michigan State got off to a ridiculous start against Purdue, with the Spartans hitting 13 three-pointers in the first half in West Lafayette. For the game Michigan State ended up hitting a school-record 17 three-pointers in the victory. Gary Harris and Adreian Payne were the main threats for Michigan State from the behind the arc in the game with the duo combining for 10 three-pointers. Gary Harris hit six three-pointers to tie his career-high, which came against Purdue last year. Harris finished the game with 25 points, while Payne ended up with 23 points in the game. Payne helped the Spartans get off to strong starts in both halves, hitting eight of the first 10 for the Spartans in the first half to go along with the first eight points for the Spartans to start the second half.
The Spartans came back down to earth against Michigan on Sunday, and suffered their second loss of the season to their in-state rival. Harris was again strong for the Spartans to go with 21 points, but Michigan State didn't get quite as much out of Adreian Payne, with the big man only putting in 12 points. The Spartans led 36-34 at half and was right there with Michigan before a 13-0 Wolverine run sealed the fate for the Spartans. Keith Appling played for the third straight game after dealing with a wrist injury, but he clearly is still showing the effects of it as he only took four shots and scored six points in the game.
The good news for Appling is he'll have some time to rehab his wrist injury since Michigan State has some extra rest this week. The Spartans will host Illinois on Saturday as they'll try to keep close with Michigan at the top of the Big Ten standings.
#15 Iowa (19-7, 8-5): LOSS v. #16 Wisconsin (79-74):
Iowa was supposed to play two games last week, but their week got off to a strange start when their game at Indiana was postponed just hours before tipoff was scheduled due to a piece of metal falling from the ceiling at Assembly Hall. The postponement now forces Iowa into a jam packed week this week, but we'll get to a rundown of who the Hawkeyes have on tap in just a bit.
Saturday afternoon saw Iowa trying to extract a little revenge against Wisconsin, who defeated the Hawkeyes in a hotly contested matchup last month in Madison. This meeting had the same intensity as the one in Madison, and came right down to the wire. The Hawkeyes were thrown a curveball before the game when it was determined that Melsahn Basabe wouldn't start the game due to the flu, and would only go on to play a minute during the game. In Basabe's place was Zach McCabe, but the Hawkeyes didn't get much on the offensive end from the regular reserve, as he didn't put up a point in 19 minutes on the floor.
As usual for Iowa, the big contributor on the offensive end was Roy Devyn Marble. For the game Marble scored 21 points and dished out 11 assists, but what he might be remembered for in this meeting is a crucial turnover late. Marble was stripped by Frank Kaminsky with under 30 seconds to go and the Badgers up 73-72. Wisconsin went on to hit their free throws late, and Iowa wasn't able to get any closer. Josh Oglesby scored a season-high 17 points for Iowa and his jumper with 1:01 left momentarily put Iowa up 72-71. The loss marked the third loss at Carver-Hawkeye Arena for Iowa in their last four games there.
Now the Hawkeyes will play three games in the Big Ten this week, and with the final first round bye in the Big Ten Tournament still in play, they can't afford any losses. Tuesday night will see Iowa travel to Minnesota to take on the Golden Gophers. A quick turnaround will have the Hawkeyes off to Indiana on Thursday night to make up the postponed game from last week. The week will then come to a close with a return to Iowa City for a matchup wtih Purdue on Saturday.
Minnesota (17-11, 6-9): LOSS v. Illinois (62-49), LOSS @ #24 Ohio State (64-46):
With two losses last week it looks like Minnesota's NCAA Tournament bubble might have popped. The Golden Gophers have only themselves to blame though, since they jumped out to first half leads in both games last week before second half collapses. Minnesota jumped out 14-3 on Illinois on Wednesday before heading into the break with a 27-24 lead. Things only went downhill from there as Minnesota was the victim of a 22-8 run from Illinois to start the second half and pull away. Andre Hollins scored 15 points to lead Minnesota, but the Golden Gophers could've used some offense from Malik Smith, who went 0-6 from beyond the arc.
After losing their last six games in Columbus, Minnesota looked to have Ohio State on the ropes heading into halftime as they held a 28-18 lead. That lead didn't last long into the second half though, with Ohio State posting a 17-0 run early in the second half to take the lead for good. Hollins again led Minnesota with 13 points, while Deandre Mathieu added 12 points in the loss. AJ recapped Ohio State's victory on Saturday night if you might be looking for more information on Ohio State's comeback.
If Minnesota has any hopes of making the NCAA Tournament they probably have to win out in the regular season as well as put together a couple wins at least in the Big Ten Tournament. The Golden Gophers will try and get that started this week when they host Iowa on Tuesday before traveling to Michigan to face the Wolverines on Saturday.
It looked like recent trends were going to hold true for Illinois early when they fell down 14-3 against Minnesota on Wednesday night. But, in the final 11 minutes of the first half Illinois was able to outscore the Golden Gophers 21-13 to pull within 27-24 at the break. Not only did the Fighting Illini finish the first half strong, but they started the second half on a 22-8 run to only add to the recent struggles for Minnesota. Kendrick Nunn hit five three-pointers in the game on his way to tie his career-high with 19 points, including 10 points during that second half run that extended the Iliinois lead to 11 points. Nnnana Egwu pitched in with a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds to help the Fighting Illini to only their second win in the last 10 games.
Illinois doesn't have much time to improve their seeding before the Big Ten Tournament, but they could throw a wrench in the plans of a couple teams this coming week. Illinois will welcome a surging Nebraska team on Wednesday before heading to East Lansing to square off with Michigan State on Saturday.
Penn State (13-14, 4-10): LOSS @ Nebraska (80-67):
After winning three straight games last month, Penn State has fallen back on hard times, losing four of their last five games. The only contest the Nittany Lions played last week will probably turn out to be one that they'll have wanted to forget as soon as the clock struck zero at Pinnacle Bank Arena. The Nittany Lions entered the second half already down 39-27, and things only got worse from there. Brandon Taylor was ejected with just over 15 minutes left in the second half as he picked up his second technical foul, this one for being involved with an altercation with Nebraska's David Rivers. Then from there head coach Patrick Chambers picked up a technical as well, and even 17 points each from D.J. Newbill and Tim Frazier couldn't save Penn State.
Now Penn State will have some tough tasks ahead of them if they are hoping to at least move back to the .500 mark on the season. The Nittany Lions will host Ohio State on Thursday evening before Wisconsin will visit the Bryce Jordan Center on Sunday. While their record may not be great, teams playing Penn State can't afford to take them lightly, or else Newbill and Frazier have enough leadership to help them pull the upset. Just ask Ohio State about that.
#16 Wisconsin (22-5, 9-5): WIN @ #15 Iowa (79-74):
After losing five of six games last month, Wisconsin has returned to the form that we saw from them in their first 16 games of the season. The latest victory for the Badgers came on Saturday when they went on the road and took down Iowa. Bo Ryan's team got off to a hot start in Iowa City, shooting 57% from the field in the first half as they jumped out to a 40-31 halftime lead. Iowa was able to close the gap in the second half, but that's when Frank Kaminsky took over for the Badgers. Kaminsky finished the game with 21 points, and hit the jumper to put Wisconsin up for good, followed by stealing the ball from Roy Devyn Marble with under 30 seconds to go. Kaminsky wasn't the only Badger to find success though, with Sam Dekker registering a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Wisconsin will host Indiana on Tuesday night before hitting the road to face Penn State on Sunday this week. The Badgers will be looking to keep their hot streak going so they can possibly make up some ground on Big Ten leaders Michigan and Michigan State.
#20 Michigan (19-7, 11-3): WIN v. #13 Michigan State (79-70):
After losing to Wisconsin by 13 points last Sunday at Crisler Arena, Michigan recovered nicely with a huge victory over Michigan State to take the lead in the Big Ten. The duo of Nik Stauskas and Caris LeVert proved to be too much for the Spartans in the second half. Stauskas poured in 21 of his 25 points after the halftime break, while LeVert added 23 points in the game. The key to the victory for the Wolverines was a 13-0 run in the second half after they trailed 52-51. After taking down the Spartans in East Lansing last month, this was just the second time in 15 years that Michigan has swept the regular season series with their in-state rival, with the last time being during the 2010-11 season.
Now Michigan will try and avoid any hiccups the rest of the regular season so they can earn the regular season Big Ten title to go along with the number one seed in the Big Ten Tournament. This week Michigan will take on Purdue in West Lafayette on Wednesday followed by returning to Crisler Arena to host Minnesota on Saturday.
Northwestern (12-16, 5-10): LOSS @ #24 Ohio State (76-60), LOSS v. Indiana (61-56):
The streak of failure that has been with Northwestern for years in Columbus continued on Wednesday night as they lost their 33rd straight matchup with the Buckeyes in the capital city. Things looked to be going good for Northwestern early when they jumped out to a 25-16 lead behind a 13-1 run in the first half. It didn't last for long though as Ohio State responded with a 21-8 run of their own to take a 37-33 halftime lead. A 9-0 run by Ohio State to start the second half followed and that pretty much dashed any hopes Northwestern had of an upset. The only real notable item that happened the rest of the game was the skirmish that led to LaQuinton Ross and Nikola Cerina getting ejected from the game. Drew Crawford scored 22 points for the Wildcats, and Tre Demps added 14 points. For more information on anything else that happened at Wednesday night's game check out the recap AJ posted after the game.
The slide for Northwestern continued on Saturday when they returned home but were defeated by Indiana 61-56. The Wildcats were short-handed in the game as they were missing second-leading scorer JerShon Cobb due to a foot injury, along with Nikola Cerina who was suspended for his actions in Wednesday night's game against Ohio State. Indiana jumped out to a 44-32 lead with 12:55 left in the second half, but Northwestern did show some fight, cutting the lead to 54-50 with 2:21 left. The Wildcats wouldn't be able to cut into the lead anymore, and went on to suffer their fifth straight loss. In his first start of the season Tre Demps went on to score 19 points to lead Northwestern, and Alex Olah posted 17 points and 11 rebounds for the struggling Wildcats.
This week Northwestern has only one game on tap, so JerShon Cobb will get some extra time to try and recover from his foot injury to try and Chris Collins' team snap their losing skid. The Wildcats will travel to Lincoln and Saturday and have to try and take down a hot Nebraska team.
Indiana (15-11, 5-8): WIN @ Northwestern (61-56):
After dropping a game to Northwestern in Bloomington last month, Indiana returned the favor and registered a five-point win on Saturday in Evanston. The Hoosiers had four players score 12 points each, and were able to hold off a late run by the Wildcats. Noah Vonleh scored 12 points and grabbed eight rebounds to barely miss out on another double-double, while Yogi Ferrell, Will Sheehey, and Troy Williams were the other ones to score 12 points. The win helped Indiana to snap a three-game losing streak that they were on coming into the game.
Due to a eight-foot piece of metal falling from the ceiling at Assembly Hall just hours before Tuesday night's game against Iowa, this week will test the endurance of the Hoosiers. On Tuesady night Indiana will head to Wisconsin to try and sweep the season series against the Badgers. Thursday night will see Indiana return to Bloomington to make up that game with Iowa from last Tuesday that was postponed, and to close out the week the Hoosiers will host Ohio State on Sunday.