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Know your enemy of your enemy: how Ohio State's opponents fared the week of 12/3

With most schools having their final exams either last week or this coming week, it means that conference play is just around the corner.

Brandon Paul had the last laugh
Brandon Paul had the last laugh

For the most part games involving Big Ten teams went as expected, but there was a few surprises last week. Northwestern winning in Waco, and Illinois winning in Spokane were nice surprises. I can't say the same for Purdue as they lost on the road to Eastern Michigan. Nebraska and Minnesota joined Illinois as Big Ten teams that have beaten USC so far this season. The Buckeyes have 2 games this coming week as they try and keep their level of play high for when Kansas into Columbus before Christmas.

Washington (4-4): LOSS v. Nevada 76-73: On Saturday the Huskies rallied from an 18-point deficit in the 2nd half to take a 1-point lead, but couldn't hold on against the Wolf Pack. C.J. Wilcox was the leading scoring for Washington with 21 points. The Huskies will try to rebound this week when they play at Western Athletic Conference member Seattle on Thursday and return home to face Jackson State on Saturday.

#2 Duke (9-0): WIN v. Temple 90-67: This game was played at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, NJ. The Blue Devils had 4 players in double figures as they had little problem with Temple. Seth Curry was 5 for 9 from 3-point range and had 23 points to lead Duke. Mason Plumlee continued his strong play so far this season with 16 points and 14 rebounds. Duke doesn't return to action until 12/19 when they host Cornell.

Savannah State (5-4, 0-1): On Wednesday night Savannah State comes into Columbus to play the Buckeyes. The Tigers haven't played since they lost 55-45 at home to Norfolk State. Forward Rashad Hassan was named MEAC preseason player of the year and is averaging 13.2 PPG so far this season. After facing the Buckeyes, Savannah State will to Marquette to play the Golden Eagles on Saturday.

UNC-Asheville (2-6): WIN v. Montreat (85-51): Ohio State's opponent this Saturday has faced a number of major conference teams so far this season. UNC-Asheville has lost to N.C. State, Tennessee, and Providence by a combined 14 points in the first month of the season. The Bulldogs notched a easy win over NAIA school Montreat on Saturday. A game against Division II Lenoir-Rhyne is scheduled for Wednesday before the Bulldogs come to Columbus. Senior forward Jeremy Atkinson leads the Bulldogs with 18.9 PPG and 7.9 RPG.

#9 Kansas: (7-1): WIN v. Colorado (90-54): Kansas continued their mastery of Colorado on Saturday as the Buffaloes haven't won in Lawrence in 29 games. The Jayhawks have won 46 of 47 games against their former conference mates since 1991. Ben McLemore paced the Jayhawks with 24 points and Jeff Withey was strong on the defensive end with 5 blocks. Belmont comes into Allen Fieldhouse this Saturday.

Nebraska (6-2): WIN v. USC (73-61), LOSS v. #16 Creighton (64-42): Ray Gallegos hit a career-high 6 3-pointers to account for 18 of his 20 points as Nebraska won their 4 straight game against USC on Monday night. The week didn't end as well as it started as Creighton won in Lincoln for the first time since 2004. The Cornhuskers had no answer for Doug McDermott, who had 27 points. Nebraska travels to Eugene to face Oregon on Saturday.

#13 Illinois (10-0): WIN v. Western Carolina (72-64), WIN @ #10 Gonzaga (85-74): In their first game of the week, Illinois had trouble with Western Carolina. With under 6 minutes to go, the score was tied at 54 before the Fighting Illini eventually won by 8. Western Carolina turned the ball over 21 times in the game to help seal their fate. Illinois looked a lot more impressive on Saturday night as they went to Spokane and beat the Zags. Brandon Paul had a game like he did when the Buckeyes went to Champaign last year. Paul finished with 35 points to keep Illinois unbeaten under former Buckeye assistant John Groce. Illinois returns home to face Norfolk State on Tuesday and Eastern Kentucky on Sunday

Purdue (4-5): WIN v. Lamar (72-39), LOSS @ Eastern Michigan (47-44): Purdue started off the week strong with an easy win over Pat Knight's Lamar team before falling in Ypsilanti on Saturday. Eastern Michigan had lost earlier in the week to Syracuse by 36 before returning home to stun Purdue. Terone Johnson led the Boilermakers in scoring in both games as Purdue continued their up-and-down start to the season. On Saturday Purdue travels to face in-state opponent #22 Notre Dame.

#3 Michigan (9-0): WIN v. Western Michigan (73-41), WIN v. Arkansas (80-67): Trey Burke continued his strong play to start the season as the Wolverines after off to their best start since 1996-97 when they started 8-0. So far this season Burke is averaging 7 assists a game, and hit his average on the nose in both Michigan victories. All 5 starters scored in double-figures as Michigan pulled away from the Razorbacks on Saturday. Michigan welcomes Binghamton on Tuesday before John Beilen gets to face his former employer West Virginia on Saturday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

#19 Michigan State (8-2): WIN v. Arkansas-Pine Bluff (76-44), WIN v. Loyola Chicago (73-61): The Spartans had a great start to the week, jumping out to a 14-0 lead on Arkansas-Pine Bluff. The lead was extended to 38-12 at half as Michigan State cruised to an easy victory. The 1st half on Saturday wasn't quite as good to the Spartans as they actually trailed Loyola of Chicago 32-30 at the break. Gary Harris took over in the 2nd half, scoring 14 of his 20 points after halftime to help Michigan State secure the win. Michigan State's lone game this week is on Saturday against Tuskegee.

Iowa (8-2): WIN v. South Dakota (87-63), WIN v. Iowa State (80-71): On Tuesday Iowa was just too much inside for South Dakota to handle. The Hawkeyes dominated on the boards 50-31 as they cruised to victory. Friday night's game provided a little more challenging, but the Hawkeyes beat Fred Hoiberg's squad for the first time since he took over in Ames. Strongsville native continues to lead Iowa in scoring and rebounding in only his sophomore season. Iowa plays another in-state foe, as they travel to face Northen Iowa on Saturday.

Penn State (5-4): LOSS @ La Salle (82-57), WIN v. Army (78-70): Penn State couldn't keep up with La Salle's hot shooting from behind the arc on Wednesday, and lost handily in Philadelphia. La Salle went 16-31 from 3-point range, while Penn State only went 3-12. On Saturday Penn State returned home and got back in the winning column, holding off Army. Jermaine Marshall and D.J. Newbill are doing their best to fill the void left by Tim Frazier, who is lost to injury for the season. Penn State has alternated wins and losses in their first 9 games of the season, and will face Delaware State in State College on Saturday.

Wisconsin (6-4): WIN v. Nebraska-Omaha (86-40), LOSS @ Marquette (60-50): Wisconsin dominated Nebraska-Omaha from start to finish as they cruised to victory in Madison on Tuesday night. The Badgers went from having 5 players score in double figures on Tuesday night to have nobody score more than 9 points as they lost to their in-state rival. Green Bay comes into Madison on Wednesday night, after which the Badgers don't play until next Saturday.

#1 Indiana (9-0): WIN v. Central Connecticut State (100-69): As expected, the Hoosiers had little trouble with Central Connecticut State on Saturday. Cody Zeller finished the game with 19 points and 19 rebounds and Christian Watford added 21 points. All did not turn out in Indiana's favor, as Austin Etherington fractured his kneecap and is out for the rest of the season. Etherington was only averaging 6.7 minutes per game, but the injury gives Indiana one less body to come off the bench if needed. The Hoosiers will return to action on Saturday they meet Butler in Indianapolis.

Northwestern (7-3): WIN @ Baylor (74-70), LOSS v. Butler (74-65): The Wildcats went into Waco on Tuesday and beat Baylor, who was just coming off a win at Kentucky last weekend. Northwestern had an 18-point lead in the 2nd half and held off a late Baylor rally. Reggie Hearn had 17 points and 10 rebounds to power the Wildcats to a victory on the road. Northwestern couldn't build of that win, as they were downed by Butler in Evanston on Saturday. The Wildcats are now off until next Monday when Texas State visits.

#14 Minnesota (10-1): WIN v. South Dakota State (88-64), WIN @ USC (71-57): Andre Hollins started the week hot for Minnesota, hitting his first 6 3-point attempts, as Minnesota continued their strong start to the season. By halftime, the Golden Gophers had doubled up SDSU 48-24 and cruised the rest of the way. The Golden Gophers went back on the road Saturday and handed USC their 2nd loss against a B1G team this week. The victory was the 500th in Tubby Smith's coaching career. On Tuesday Minnesota will be back home against North Dakota State.