The Big Ten continued to be unpredictable as ever last week, with a couple of losses at the top that helped to keep the leaders from breaking away from the pack. After their recent stumbles, Ohio State and Wisconsin won their games last week to add some more intrigued into the Big Ten standings. Illinois was finally able to end their month-long losing streak, while Northwestern couldn't keep their winning ways going, dropping a game they probably should have won over Nebraska. While Ohio State's non-conference portion of the schedule isn't doing the Buckeyes' resume any favors, the tough Big Ten is helping to take away some of that sting.
Marquette (13-10, 5-5): WIN v. Butler (69-62):
Marquette was able to avenge a loss at Butler in overtime last month, scoring a 69-62 win over the Bulldogs on Saturday. Butler led 25-23 at the break and actually held a 43-33 lead with 13:03 left before the Golden Eagles started their comeback. Todd Mayo was instrumental in helping Marquette earn the victory, hitting seven field goals after halftime to finish with 17 points in the game off the bench. The Golden Eagles were helped by the 20 turnovers that Butler committed in the game, 11 of which were steals by Marquette. Now Marquette will try and put together a couple more wins this week when they travel to Seton Hall on Tuesday before hosting Xavier on Saturday.
Maryland (14-10, 6-5): LOSS @ North Carolina (75-63), WIN v. Florida State (83-71):
Maryland opened up the week with a loss in Chapel Hill that wasn't much of a contest, but closed the week by taking out their frustrations on Florida State in much friendlier confines. North Carolina opened the game by scoring the first 12 points on their way to an early 19-3 lead. Maryland was able to pull within three points before another Tar Heel surge gave them a 39-27 lead at half. The Terrapins weren't really able to cut into the lead in the second half, giving North Carolina their 14th win in the last 18 games against Maryland. Dez Wells was the high scorer for the Terps in the loss, putting in 18 points.
The Terrapins were able to shake off the loss quickly behind Seth Allen's career-high 32 points. The previous high for Allen was 21 points, but he had that at halftime as Maryland finished the first 20 minutes up 46-29. Allen was lethal from three-point range in the game, hitting seven of his 10 attempts. Dez Wells added 15 points and six assists. Up next is a very tough week for Maryland with road contests at Virginia on Monday and Duke on Saturday.
Notre Dame (12-12, 3-8): LOSS @ #1 Syracuse (61-55), LOSS v. North Carolina (73-62):
The first year in the ACC for Notre Dame got rougher last week with losses to Syracuse and North Carolina. The Fighting Irish were hoping to catch Syracuse on a hangover off their thrilling victory over Duke, but Syracuse had other plans. Trevor Cooney tied a Syracuse record with nine three-pointers on his way to a career-high 33 points as the Orange were able to down the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame was able to pull within 43-40 with just over eight minutes left in the second half, but that is as close as they would get in the game. Garrick Sherman scored 16 points and grabbed eight rebounds for Notre Dame.
Mike Brey's team looked like they might be able to end their slide early on against North Carolina in South Bend, as they led by as many as nine points early in the first half before the Tar Heels were able to rebound to take a 27-23 lead into halftime. Carelessness with the basketball was the downfall of Notre Dame, who finished the game with 17 turnovers. Zach Auguste was the only Notre Dame player of the nine that saw playing time that didn't commit a turnover in the game. Garrick Sherman was again the high-scorer with 17 points for Notre Dame, who has now dropped eight of the last 10 games. This week Notre Dame will try and put together a turnaround when they host Clemson on Tuesday before going on the road to face Boston College on Sunday.
Purdue (14-10, 4-7): WIN v. Minnesota (77-74 3 OT), LOSS @ Ohio State (67-49):
Purdue was able to snap a four-game losing streak with a triple overtime win over Minnesota on Wednesday night. There wasn't much pretty about the basketball game besides the play of A.J. Hammons. The Purdue big man had 20 points and 14 rebounds, included what turned out to be the game winning layup with 57 seconds left in the third overtime. If Purdue had been able to sink their free throws they might have not needed nearly as much extra time in this one. Terone Johnson missed two free throws with four seconds left in regulation that could've sealed the game, but instead Minnesota's Austin Hollins forced overtime with a buzzer beater. Johnson finished the game 0-6 from the line and Purdue only went 9-23 as a team.
Purdue couldn't build off that win though, as they fell to Ohio State 67-49 in Columbus on Saturday night. Unlike the Golden Gophers, Ohio State was able to hold Hammons in check, only allowing him to score 11 points in the game. Terone Johnson was able to hit a three-pointer to cut the lead to 48-45 in the second half, but that was the last threat that the Boilermakers would have in them, with the Buckeyes finishing the game on a 19-4 run. For a full recap of the game, check out the bow that Chuck put on the game after it went final. This week Purdue will have a little extra time to prepare for a home matchup against Indiana on Saturday.
Nebraska (12-10, 4-6): LOSS @ #10 Michigan (79-50), WIN @ Northwestern (53-49):
After barely falling to Michigan 71-70 in Nebraska last month, the result was nowhere near the same when the Cornhuskers visited Ann Arbor on Wednesday night. Nebraska never led in the game as Michigan jumped out to a 49-21 lead at halftime. Things only got worse for the Cornhuskers with Michigan extending their lead to 41 points before finishing the game with a 29-point victory. Michigan was able to hold Nebraska's leading scorer coming in Terran Petteway in check, only allowing him five points in the game. Shavon Shields scored 13 points to lead Nebraska.
Things didn't look like they were much better for Nebraska in the first half against Northwestern, but thankfully for the Cornhuskers Northwestern didn't possess the scoring pop that Michigan did. Nebraska was only able to manage a season-low 16 points in the first half, but they made the right adjustments at half to jump out to a 44-36 lead on the Wildcats. Northwestern woudn't go away quietly though, tying the game at 44 with under four minutes left in the game before the Cornhuskers closed the game strong. Petteway was able to bounce back from Wednesday's game to finish with 17 points and eight rebounds, while Walter Pitchford added 15 points. Nebraska will return home on Wednesday night to host Illinois before traveling back to the state of Michigan to take on Michigan State on Sunday.
#9 Michigan State (20-4, 9-2): WIN v. Penn State (82-67), LOSS @ Wisconsin (60-58):
Michigan State has continued to try and navigate the injuries they have been dealing with, and nearly were able to get through the week unscathed. Senior Keith Appling missed Thursday night's game against Penn State, but the Spartans were boosted by the return of Adreian Payne from a foot injury. In his first game since January 7th, Payne played 18 minutes and scored 12 points. The real story of the game though was the play of Kenny Kaminski, who scored a career-high 19 points in the easy victory. Michigan State used an early 11-0 run to jump out to a 22-8 lead. The win clinched the 14th season of 20 wins or more for the Spartans in the last 17 seasons. Also very productive in the win for Michigan State was Denzel Valentine, who notched a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
The Spartans got a huge contribution from Payne against Wisconsin, as the Dayton product put in 24 points in the loss, including hitting a three-pointer with 10 seconds left to tie the game. Michigan State had their chance at the end of the game, but Traevon Jackson drilled a jumper with two seconds left and a Travis Trice halfcourt heave nearly fell. Leading scorer Gary Harris really found life tough against the Badgers, going 3-20 from the field and only scoring six points in the game. The Spartans were again without Keith Appling, and had they had him they might have left Madison with a victory. This week Michigan State will get a pair of games at the Breslin Center, hosting Northwestern on Thursday before closing the week against Nebraska on Sunday.
#17 Iowa (18-6, 7-4): LOSS v. Ohio State (76-69), WIN v. #10 Michigan (85-67):
Iowa has had some trouble gaining any traction lately, and that trend continued last week when they dropped a game at home against Ohio State on Tuesday night before returning the favor for their loss to Michigan last month. The Hawkeyes really struggled from long range on Tuesday night against the Buckeyes, but nearly found a way to pull out a victory. Iowa only hit one of 14 three-pointers in the first half, but still found themselves with a 33-31 lead as the teams head to the locker room at halftime. The Hawkeyes didn't get much better from deep in the second half, finishing the game shooting a season-low 3-20 from three-point range. While Mike Gesell put in a season-high 16 points, Iowa didn't get their usual production from Roy Devyn Marble and Aaron White, who combined for only 18 points. AJ had a full recap after the game of the second straight road upset for the Buckeyes.
To make up for the cold shooting in the Ohio State game, Marble scored early and often to help the Hawkeyes jump out to an early lead that Michigan wouldn't be able to overcome. Marble scored 22 points in the first half on his way to 26 points in the game. Iowa had a couple players that were close to registering double-doubles, with Aaron White putting in 11 points and grabbing eight rebounds, while Mike Gesell scored 10 points and dished out eight assists. After their horrid shooting from distance against Ohio State, Iowa found their stroke against Michigan, hitting 10 of the 17 three-pointers they attempted. A rather light week awaits Iowa this week, with only a road game against Penn State on Saturday on the schedule.
Minnesota (16-8, 5-6): LOSS @ Purdue (77-74 3 OT), WIN v. Indiana (66-60):
The week started off with an ugly loss at Purdue, but Minnesota was able to rebound on Saturday and get a much needed win against Indiana at home. The good news for the Golden Gophers is that they got Andre Hollins back for the first game since he left the January 22nd tilt against Wisconsin due to a ankle injury. The return of Hollins wasn't able to translate into a win, but Minnesota has nobody to blame but themselves for the loss. While Austin Hollins did drill a buzzer beater to force overtime, the performance by the Golden Gophers was pretty futile. In each of the first two overtimes Minnesota was only able to score four points, while in the third a shot clock violation led to the game winning basket by Purdue with 57 seconds left. Maurice Walker did his best to try and help Minnesota win with 17 points and six rebounds while DeAndre Mathieu added 15 points.
The Golden Gophers made their fans sweat on Saturday night against Indiana, struggling in the first half against the Hoosiers. Indiana led by as many as 11 points in the first half before settling on a 36-30 halftime lead. Minnesota continued to claw their way back in the second half, eventually taking their first lead of the game at 50-49 with less than 11 minutes to go in the game. The Golden Gophers were able to capitalize on 11 turnovers in the second half by the Hoosiers, eventually scoring the six-point victory. DeAndre Mathieu scored 16 points in then game, 10 points in the second half, while Walker gave Richard Pitino's team 14 points and eight rebounds off the bench in the victory. Minnesota will get back on the road this week, traveling to Wisconsin on Thursday before finishing the week at Northwestern on Sunday.
Illinois (14-10, 3-8): LOSS v. Wisconsin (75-63), WIN @ Penn State (60-55):
Illinois' struggles continued early in the week, but they ended the week on a high-note, finally snapping their losing streak with a victory over Penn State. After losing to the Badgers by 25 points in Madison last month, Illinois was able to keep things a little bit closer in Champaign on Tuesday night. Rayvonte Rice scored 24 points and grabbed nine rebounds for an Illinois team that only trailed 49-46 with only 10 minutes to play, but that would be the closest that they would get the rest of the game. A big difference in the game could be seen in the bench points between the two teams. Wisconsin was able to get 19 points from their bench, while Illinois has struggled to find contributions from their reserves, only getting five points in this contest.
The Fighting Illini was able to get a little more contribution from their bench against Penn State, getting 17 points in the victory, but the big story was a team member that normally came off the bench who got the start in this one. Kendrick Nunn scored 11 of his 19 points in the second half to held Illinois snap their slide. The last Illinois win came in early January over Penn State, but the Fighting Illini almost found a way to throw the victory away with their shooting struggles. Illinois led 49-45 with just under 13 minutes to go, but they didn't score again for another six minutes. Penn State wasn't able to capitalize on the scoring drought which kept Illinois in it, and Tracy Abrams hit a three-pointer with 22 seconds left to give Illinois a little bit of separation on the scoreboard at 57-53. The Fighting Illini only went 19-49 from the field, but they have to be more than happy to be winners for the first time in over a month. This week will see Illinois travel to Nebraska for a Wednesday night game before hosting Ohio State on Saturday night.
Penn State (12-12, 3-8): LOSS @ #9 Michigan State (82-67), LOSS v. Illinois (60-55):
Coming into the week Penn State had a three-game winning streak, but visions of extending that were dashed pretty quickly as Michigan State jumped out to an early lead in their Thursday night contest. Michigan State held a 46-30 halftime lead and were never really threatened by the Nittany Lions at the Breslin Center. Tim Frazier scored 22 points and D,J, Newbill added 17 for Penn State, and were the only two Nittany Lion players that reached double figures in the game in scoring.
It was a day of personal achievement for Frazier and Newbill Illinois on Sunday, but that wasn't able to translate into a victory for Penn State. Frazier became Penn State's career leader in assists by dishing out the 601st in his career, and added 11 points. The Nittany Lions had their chances, holding Penn State scoreless for over six minutes in the second half, but only found themselves with a 52-49 lead with 6:30 to go. D.J. Newbill paced Penn State with 19 points, but they weren't able to hold onto their late lead. Much like against Michigan State, Newbill and Frazier were the main source of offense, and didn't get much help from the rest of the team. If Penn State wants to put together another winning streak like their recent three-game one they'll need some more support offensively for the duo. This week Penn State will visit Indiana on Wednesday night before trying to score an upset against Iowa in State College on Saturday.
Wisconsin (19-5, 6-5): WIN @ Illinois (75-63), WIN v. #10 Michigan State (60-58):
After coming into the week having lost five of six games, Wisconsin was able to return to the victory column last week, scoring wins over Illinois and Michigan State. After falling to Ohio State at home last Saturday, Wisconsin hit the road and scored a win over Illinois in Champaign on Tuesday night. The Badgers held a 36-30 lead at halftime, and saw Illinois pull within three with 10 minutes to go before putting some distance on the Fighting Illini on the scoreline. Ben Brust and Sam Dekker each had 16 points for Wisconsin, while Traevon Jackson and Nigel Hayes each added 14 points to the victory cause.
Against Michigan State on Sunday, Wisconsin almost fumbled away the lead, but were able to get a game-winning jumper from Traevon Jackson with 2.1 seconds left in the game. The Badgers won despite committing 14 turnovers in the game, which was nearly six above their season average. At halftime the Badgers took a 30-22 lead into the locker room and actually held a 10-point lead in the second half before Michigan State charged back to tie the game late. Nigel Hayes had 14 points off the bench to lead Wisconsin, while Jackson's game-winner gave him seven points in the game. The son of Ohio State great Jim Jackson also added five rebounds and eight assists for the Badgers. This week will see Wisconsin try and extract some revenge for some earlier losses when they host Minnesota on Thursday before traveling to Ann Arbor to face Michigan on Sunday.
#10 Michigan (17-6, 9-2): WIN v. Nebraska (79-50), LOSS @ #17 Iowa (85-67):
It was a tale of two games last week for the Wolverines, with an easy win against Nebraska opening up their week, followed by a loss to Iowa where the score wasn't competitive for most of the game. Zak Irvin came out of the gates firing for Michigan in their win over Nebraska, hitting three straight three-pointers in the first half on his way to score all 16 of his points in the game in the first 20 minutes. The Wolverines were able to win easily despite Nik Stauskas only taking three shots from the field during the game. Stauskas did contribute in other areas, racking up eight assists to go along with five rebounds. Glenn Robinson III scored 23 and Caris LeVert also scored 16 points to power Michigan, who led by as many as 41 in the second half, to victory.
The Wolverines got a taste of their own medicine against Iowa, as Roy Devyn Marble came out firing early to help Iowa secure a 43-29 lead at halftime. Caris LeVert scored 22 points and Zak Irvin added 19 points, but it was no match for an Iowa team that put on a show for their fans in Iowa City. The biggest difference from this meeting to the first one in Ann Arbor last month was the performance of Stauskas, who only scored 10 points on Saturday after tying a career-high with 26 points last month. Michigan will face a couple tests this week when they travel to Ohio State on Tuesday night before hosting Wisconsin on Sunday.
Northwestern (12-12, 5-6): LOSS v. Nebraska (53-49):
Coming into Saturday's matchup with Nebraska, Northwestern had won four of their last five, but they didn't have quite enough against the Cornhuskers. The teams played a very ugly first half that saw the score after 20 minutes sit at 22-16 in the Wildcats' favor. Northwestern surrendered the lead in the second half and saw Nebraska jump out to a 44-36 before a 8-0 Wildcat run evened up the score. Nebraska ended up holding off a Northwestern team that has been a surprise lately. JerShon Cobb scored 14 points for the Wildcats, and Drew Crawford scored 13 points but did commit five turnovers in the loss. Northwestern will now travel to Michigan State on Thursday night before hosting a Minnesota team that they beat a couple weeks ago on Sunday in Evanston.
Indiana (14-9, 4-7): LOSS @ Minnesota (66-60):
After handing Michigan their first loss of the Big Ten season last Sunday, Indiana wasn't able to string any wins together, falling to Minnesota on Saturday night. It looked like that might not be the case early, with the Hoosiers leading by as many as 11 points in the first half before a second half comeback by Minnesota did in Tom Crean's team. Yogi Ferrell scored 14 points for Indiana, but his performance seemed tame after what he did against Michigan. Ferrell was only 2-9 from behind the arc, after barely missing against the Wolverines. Noah Vonleh continued his strong freshman season with 12 points and 12 rebounds to notch another double-double. The Hoosiers held the lead throughout the game before the Golden Gophers took their first lead at 50-49 with less than 11 minutes left. Indiana didn't quite have the finishing kick which sent them to another loss in what is looking like a rebuilding season in Bloomington after their losses to the NBA following last season. This week Indiana hosts Penn State on Wednesday night before traveling to square off with in-state foe Purdue on Saturday.