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B1G-ly Basketball Week 6 in Review: Conference Play Is Here (Fleetingly)

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Conference play is here for a moment, and then the moment will be gone the next decade. Enjoy the fleeting moments of upsets and punching out refs while they lasts.

NCAA Basketball: Maryland at Penn State
A rare packed lower bowl got to enjoy Penn St. knocking off their rival, the undefeated #3 ranked Maryland Terrapins!
Matthew O’Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Your week 6 of Big Ten action was a smorgasbord of upsets and home teams refusing to lose. If you like fun basketball, then this past week was for you. If you don’t like basketball, then why are you even here? Finally, depending on how MSU at Northwestern goes, all 14 teams might end early conference play tied for first if home teams go 14-0. How crazy is that?

As a reminder, all AP rankings listed are based on previous week, and RPI based on the date it was looked up over the course of the previous week and will likely be slightly outdated by time of actual match-up in the coming week ahead.

Again, the order of teams in the recap is now updated to what will remain a mixture of conference standings thus far along with my own power poll influence at times until we have more games to base them off of.


#4 Maryland Terrapins 10-1 (1-1)

NCAA Basketball: Maryland at Penn State Matthew O’Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Game 1

Maryland went to the mausoleum that is the Bryce-Jordan Center in Happy Valley and acted like they were in the lair of Medusa. 20 turnovers, 16 team fouls with Jalen Smith fouling out, and 33% shooting from the field doomed the Terps to their first loss on the season, falling 76-69 to their rival Penn State. The Terps only had the lead twice, by one point for around a minute of game play both times early in the first half. And the reason for this is easy enough to see if you look at their misses on the shot chart:

Maryland rallied late and pulled within 3 with 5:58 to go in the game, but Penn State rallied and pulled off the home upset complete with the half-full arena’s 8.6k fans storming the court. Jalen Smith managed a double-double before fouling out, scoring 12 and grabbing 11 boards. Anthony Cowan Jr. led the team with 16 points, and Eric Ayala scored 15.

Week Ahead

Maryland plays Thursday night at the #22 Seton Hall Pirates, tipping off at 7 pm ET on FS1.


#3 Ohio State Buckeyes 9-1 (1-1)

Game 1

The Buckeyes were the talk of the country, playing the strongest basketball of any team out there. Well, then they traveled to Minneapolis, the game was played, and they lost to Minnesota 84-71. Paltry 38% shooting from the field, while losing the rebound battle 40-28, and having both the Wesson’s in foul trouble was a good recipe to get burned. EJ Liddell led the Buckeyes with 14 points.

NCAA Basketball: Ohio State at Minnesota Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

Week Ahead

The Buckeyes play Tuesday night at home against the Southeast Missouri State Redhawks (329th in RPI) at 7 pm ET on BTN. Then on Saturday they will face the #8 Kentucky Wildcats in Las Vegas at 5:15 pm ET on CBS.


#16 Michigan State Spartans 7-3 (1-0)

Game 1

The Spartans drove down I-96 to Detroit to take on in-state foe the Oakland Grizzlies. This is not in any way a vintage Greg Kampe team, and it sure showed in their blowout loss 72-49 to Sparty in shiny, almost brand new Little Caesar’s Arena (now filled with brand new black seats to avoid showing empty crowds). The awful 21% shooting from three kept this from being a bigger blowout. I suppose what was the fun thing about this game was the big minutes we got to see from Connor George (MSU volleyball coach’s son), along with fun great closing minutes from Steven Izzo (Tom Izzo’s son) and Jack Hoiberg (Nebraska’s Fred Hoiberg’s son). Aaron Henry led the Spartans with 10 points, while Husker fans might be interested to know Hoiberg scored 3.

NCAA Basketball: Michigan State at Oakland Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Week Ahead

The Spartans finish out opening conference play Wednesday night at Northwestern (222nd in RPI), tipping off at 8 pm ET on BTN. Home teams are 13-0 so far in opening conference play, leaving the conference tied up at 1-1, except for MSU at 1-0 and NU at 0-1. Will we enter January with the Big Ten all tied for first place? Then on Saturday the Eastern Michigan Eagles (97th in RPI) come to East Lansing for a 7 pm ET tip on BTN.


Penn State Nittany Lions 9-2 (1-1)

(5 AP votes)

Game 1

The Nittany Lions got a huge win over conference rival Maryland 76-69 Tuesday night. It was their first win over an AP top 5 team since February 2016. The Nittany Lions were hot from three, going 7-19 for 37%, while getting 19 assists, 10 steals, and 10 blocks. This one was almost never in doubt, as Penn State led 40-30 at half. Despite a late rally to pull within 2 by the Terps, Penn State kept it on ice down the stretch. Lamar Stevens and Mike Watkins both got double-doubles in this one. They each scored 15 points, while Watkins pulled in 11 rebounds to Stevens 10.

NCAA Basketball: Maryland at Penn State
The small crowd of Bryce Jordan got to rush the court after the win, and they just about managed to fill it and leave the stands completely empty.
Matthew O’Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Game 2

Penn State wanted ‘Bama, and they went on to beat the Alamaba Crimson Tide in Happy Valley in front of a 51% capacity crowd 73-71. The Nittany Lions trailed at halftime 40-34, but went on to outscore Bama 39-31 in the second-half. Despite only shooting 30% from three, 37% from the field, and committed 16 turnovers, Penn State got the win in the end. Lamar Stevens got another double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Curtis Jones also scored 18, and Myreon Jones scored 17.

NCAA Basketball: Alabama at Penn State Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Week Ahead

The Nittany Lions will host the Central Connecticut Blue Devils (346th in RPI) Friday night at 6 pm ET on BTN.


Iowa Hawkeyes 8-3 (1-1)

Game 1

The Hawkeyes got a blowout win over Minnesota Monday night in Iowa City 72-52. Hot shooting from deep at 48% definitely helped, along with keeping turnovers down to 8. Jordan Wieskamp led the Hawkeyes with 23 points, while Luke Garza got a double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Jordan Bohannon was scoreless, but tallied 10 assists.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: DEC 09 Minnesota at Iowa

Game 2

Iowa won El-Assico on the hardwood, getting the 84-68 win in Aimes Thursday night. The Hawkeyes also shot 90% from the free throw line, going 18-20. Luke Garza led the team with his double-double of 21 points and 11 boards. Wieskamp scored 13, and Christian McCaffery and Bohannon both scored 12.

Iowa v Iowa State Photo by David K Purdy/Getty Images

Week Ahead

The Hawkeyes welcome the Cincinnati Bearcats (79th in RPI) to Carver Hawkeye Arena Sunday at 9 pm ET on BTN.

Special News

We are sad to hear/announce Jordan Bohannon will be undergoing surgery and sitting out the rest of the season while pursuing a medical redshirt (or at least the redshirt is assumed). Bohannon is an exciting player to watch and we wish him the best in his surgery and recovery while hoping to see him return next season. After all, a player with this kind of class is somebody we can all get behind, even if he wears the Iowa uniform.


Indiana Hoosiers 10-1 (1-1)

(13 AP votes)

Game 1

Indiana traveled to Madison Square Gardens Wednesday night to take on the Connecticut Huskies in the Jimmy V Classic, and left with a 57-54 win. Despite only shooting 15% from three, 37% from the field, and narrowly losing the rebounding battle 37-34, the Hoosiers still got the win in a game that tipped off at almost 10 pm ET (for college basketball, this is getting plain outrageous at this point). Joey Brunk and Al Durham led the Hoosiers with 9 points apiece, while Justin Smith and Trayce Jackson-Davis both scored 8 each.

NCAA Basketball: Connecticut at Indiana Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Game 2

Indiana escaped the Cornhuskers Friday night in overtime, 96-90. Trayce Jackson-Davis led the Hoosiers in both scoring and rebounds, getting a double-double off 25 points and 15 boards. Justin Smith also tallied a double-double, finishing second in both categories with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

NCAA Basketball: Nebraska at Indiana
Indiana Hoosiers forward Trayce Jackson-Davis (4) saves a ball from going out of bounds against the Nebraska Cornhuskers during the second half at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Week Ahead

Indiana will play host to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (173rd in RPI) Saturday at 12 pm ET on ESPN.


Minnesota Golden Gophers 5-5 (1-1)

Game 1

Minnesota opened Big Ten play with a 72-52 road loss to Iowa Monday night. The Gophers managed just 25% shooting from three and 37% from the field. Daniel Oturu was a lone bright spot for the Gophers as he led the stat sheet with a double-double off 22 points and 12 rebounds.

Game 2

Goldie rebounded big time off their Iowa loss with a 84-71 home win over the previously undefeated Ohio State Buckeyes. Minnesota held Ohio State to just 38% shooting from the field, while winning the boards battle 40-28. They got 8 steals, but committed 16 turnovers. Still that didn’t matter with their 37% shooting from deep and 54% shooting from the field as they toppled the seemingly unstoppable Buckeyes. Marcus Carr went off for an insane 35 points to lead Minnesota in scoring. Daniel Oturu got another double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds.

NCAA Basketball: Ohio State at Minnesota Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

Week Ahead

Minnesota heads south to take on the Oklahoma State Cowboys (24th in RPI) Saturday at 5:30 pm ET on ESPN2.


Illinois Fighting Illini 8-3 (1-1)

Game 1

After a heart-breaking loss at Maryland last week by one point, Illinois opened a can of whoop-ass on Michigan Wednesday night in Champaign. The Fighting Illini got the home win 71-62 over Michigan, despite going 1 for 11 from three point land. That was good for 9.1% shooting from deep. Then again, Michigan went a mere 3 for 18 themselves, good for 16.7%. Kofi Cockburn got yet another double-double, leading the team with 19 points and ten rebounds. Speaking of rebounds, Illinois won the boards battle 44-28. Oh, and the officiating crew had to work down an official after Cockburn accidentally knocked one out of the game with a blow to the head.

Watching a ref crew of two try to cover a game both teams are running aggressive full court presses in was definitely an interesting experience you should regret missing.

Game 2

Illinois hosted the Old Dominion Monarchs on Saturday and got a 69-55 win. They jumped out to a 40-25 lead at the half, then went on cruise control and got out-scored 29-30 in the second-half. Three point shooting was good this time, going 7 for 20 from deep, and going 90% at the free throw line on 20 attempts. 17 turnovers and losing the rebounding battle 31-30 to an inferior opponent is concerning, though. Alan Griffin led the Illini with 15 points.

Week Ahead

The Illini head to Saint Louis for a neutral court braggin’ rights battle with the Missouri Tigers (122nd in RPI) Saturday at 1 pm ET on the SEC Network.


Rutgers Scarlet Knights 8-3 (1-1)

Game 1

Rutgers started off their week with a 72-65 win over Wisconsin. The Scarlet Knights won at the glass 40-26, had 8 steals, and managed to shoot a respectable, if not outstanding, 46% from the field. Geo Baker led Rutgers with 22 points.

Wisconsin v Rutgers Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Game 2

Rutgers got a huge upset home win over the #22 Seton Hall Pirates. Even with star Myles Powell playing in the first-half, Rutgers was dominating this one, heading into the locker room at halftime with a 36-23 lead. However, this had a scary moment as Powell went out with a concussion and missed the second half as a result.

Rutgers shot uncharacteristically hot in this one, going 8-19 from deep for 42%, and went 47% from the field. The Scarlet Knights also managed the blowout win despite an absurd 19 turnovers. Winning at the boards 46-29 definitely factored into this as well. Ron Harper Jr. led the team with 18 points.

Week Ahead

Rutgers hosts the Lafayette Leopards (178th in RPI) Sunday at 1 pm ET on ESPNU.


Purdue Boilermakers 6-4 (1-1)

(130 AP votes)

Game 1

Purdue came to Lincoln after taking the week off for finals, and left with a 14 point loss to the Huskers. The amount of shot attempts by Purdue is rather stunning. They attempted 79 shots from the field, and 35 from three. Out of that, they went 30% from the field and only 17% from three. This one was a real testament to the old saying that offense doesn’t travel. Trevion Williams led the Boilermakers with a double-double of 18 points and 16 rebounds.

Week Ahead

The Boilermakers have a quick turnaround after this one, traveling to Athens for a game at the Ohio Bobcats (75th in RPI) Tuesday night at 9 pm ET. Then on Saturday it’s an in-state showdown against the #18 Butler Bulldogs in Mackey Arena.


#5 Michigan Wolverines 8-3 (1-1)

Game 1

Michigan traveled to Illinois Wednesday night and left with their second loss in the last three games, falling 71-62. Paltry three-point shooting proved disastrous for the Wolverines as they went a mere 3-18 from deep. On top of that, the rebound margin was a pathetic 44-28. Jon Teske led the team with 16 points.

NCAA Basketball: Michigan at Illinois
Illinois Fighting Illini center Kofi Cockburn (behind) blocks a shot against Michigan Wolverines guard Zavier Simpson (3) during the second half at State Farm Center.
Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

Game 2

Michigan hosted the #10 Oregon Ducks in Ann Arbor Saturday, and ended it with their 3rd loss in 4 games in overtime. Oregon jumped out to a 31-23 lead at halftime on the back of elite three point shooting, finishing the game 8-16 from deep. Michigan crawled back in the second half to tie it up and force overtime, also getting shots from three on 9 for 21 shooting. Despite some bogus calls, in particular giving Michigan an in-bounds that clearly touched the Wolverines last in the waning seconds of OT, Oregon pulled out the win in this one. Franz Wagner led the team with 21 points.

NCAA Basketball: Oregon at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Week Ahead

Michigan hosts the Presbyterian Blue Hose (345th in RPI and 353rd in mascot coolness factor as it is based on old socks) at 12 pm ET Saturday on BTN.


Wisconsin Badgers 5-5 (1-1)

Game 1

Wisconsin traveled to Rutgers and left with the dreaded conference loss to Buttgers. The Badgers left New Jersey Wednesday night with a 72-65 defeat to our east coast Delaney tv experiment conference brethren. This was despite shooting 35% from three and 48% from the field. However, 14 turnovers and a deficit at the glass of 14 was enough to doom the Badgers to yet another basketball loss to Rutgers. Kobe King led Wisconsin with 18 points.

Week Ahead

The Badgers host the Milwaukee Panthers (302nd in RPI) Saturday at 5 pm ET on BTN.


Nebraska Cornhuskers 5-6 (1-1)

Game 1

Huskers fell in overtime to Indiana in Assembly Hall Friday night. If you haven’t yet, be sure to check out Patrick’s recap here. Yvan Ouedraogo also recorded the most rebounds in a conference game by a freshman for the Huskers since Dave Hoppen in 1983.

Game 2

Nebraska got a huge home win Sunday over Purdue in Lincoln. Be sure to check out the recap here.

Week Ahead

Nebraska welcomes the North Dakota Fighting Hawks (251st in RPI) to Lincoln Friday at 6 pm ET on BTN+ ($).


Northwestern Wildcats 5-4 (0-1)

Game 1

NU welcomed the SIU-Edwardscille Cougars to Evanston Sunday and got at 72-54 home win in return. Despite only shooting 16% from three and 61% from the free throw line on 28 attempts, the Wildcats managed a blow-out win over the Cougars. Ryan Young led the team with a double-double, scoring 25 and pulling in 12 rebounds. Pat Spencer added 15 points. The talk of the game, though, was the SIUE coach’s shirt selection.

Week Ahead

Northwestern hosts #16 Michigan State Wednesday night to finish the conference’s early December play at 8 pm ET on ESPN2. Then it’s a cross-town showdown at the DePaul Blue Demons (1 AP vote, 69th in RPI) home court at 8:30 pm ET on CBSSN.