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B1G-ly Basketball Week 5 in Review: B1G Wins The Challenge!

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The Big Ten won the B1G-ACC Challenge. Now, before you accuse me of chanting “S-E-C,” I still hate most of our conference’s teams. I just hate the ACC more. Oh, and conference play started.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: DEC 04 Nebraska at Georgia Tech Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Your week 5 of Big Ten action saw a rare win in the 21 year long Big Ten-ACC Challenge. The conference now sits at 6-12-3 in the series. We’ll get into it in more detail in the recaps, but let’s all have a hand for Maryland finally getting a win as a Big Ten team. I guess they’re not a secret ACC mole after all?

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week, and RPI based on the date it was looked up over the course of the previous week and will likely be slightly outdated by time of actual make-up in the coming week ahead.

Finally, 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.

#6 Ohio State Buckeyes 9-0 (1-0)

NCAA Basketball: Ohio State at North Carolina
At least one Big Ten team can beat a team from North Carolina in the challenge for a change.
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Game 1

The Buckeyes clinched the decisive win for the Big Ten and got a huge upset when they stomped all over the #7 North Carolina Tar Heels at UNC Wednesday night 74-49. This was a close fight in the first-half, though low scoring, at 29-27 OSU in the lead at half-time. The Buckeyes went on to route the Tar Heals in the second-half, though the loss of Armando Bacot to a nasty ankle roll early in the game certainly hurt UNC in this one. The Buckeyes shot 39% from three, 80% from the charity stripe, and had a defensive rebounding advantage of 16 (48-32 total rebounding margin for OSU). 15 turnovers is concerning, but you have to get nit-picky in this one to focus on that. Duane Washington Jr. led Ohio State with 18 points.

Game 2

The Buckeyes easily dispatched Penn State to start conference play for their season, 106-74. This was the first time tOSU scored 100+ points in a conference game since their 102-62 win over Northwestern. However, it took until around the halfway mark of the second-half before Ohio State truly put this game out of reach for the Nittany Lions, and that was after Lamar Stevens fouled out. Regardless, the Buckeyes were shooting the lights out in this one, going 14-26 from three for 54%, went 81% from the free throw line on 37 shots, and shot 57% from the field. The Wesson brothers were the story of the day here, with Kaleb Wesson getting the double-double, leading the Buckeyes in scoring with 28 and rebounds with 10. Andrew Wesson was second in scoring with 15 points.

Week Ahead

The Buckeyes head to the Barn on Sunday to play Minnesota (97th in RPI) at 6:30 pm ET on BTN.

#3 Maryland Terrapins 10-0 (1-0)

Notre Dame v Maryland Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Game 1

Maryland finally won a game in the B1G-ACC Challenge as a Big Ten team!!! Hip-hip-hooray! The Terps knocked-out the Notre Dame Fighting Irish 72-51 in College Park Wednesday night. Not since the Lion of Lucerne has a Catholic institution met such utter domination! Ok, I jest, it wasn’t that bad of a beat down. Maryland only shot 40% from the field and 28% from three, which is not great. They had 18 assists, 10 blocks, and kept it to only 7 turnovers though. Jalen Smith led the team with his double-double of 16 rebounds and 15 points.

Game 2

The Terps managed to just barely escape an upset by Illinois at home Saturday night, eeking out the win 59-58 on a free throw. After losing the lead at the 18:53 mark in the first half, Maryland didn’t have the lead again until Anthony Cowan Jr. made a free throw with a mere :02 seconds left of game play. So all together, Maryland led Illinois for a whopping 27 seconds in this one, but they only truly needed the last two for the win. Given their 26% shooting from deep and 33% shooting from field goal range, Maryland clinched this narrow win on the back their 82% shooting from the free throw line. Well, free throw shooting and the combined 20 points of Anthony Cowen Jr. and the double-double 14 points and 13 rebounds by Jalen Smith.

NCAA Basketball: Illinois at Maryland
Anthony Cowan Jr. saves the day for the Terps with this three-pointer to tie it up late. He would go on to make a free throw with :02 left for the one point win.
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Week Ahead

Maryland heads to Happy Valley tomorrow night to play Penn State (54th in RPI), tip at 7 pm on ESPN2.

#11 Michigan State Spartans 6-3 (1-0)

Game 1

Hey, look, another huge let-down against the #10 Duke Blue Devils 87-75! And on the night that Draymond Green had his jersey retired to the rafters where the 2 final four, 3 Big Ten title, and 1 Big Ten Tournament banners hang during his time at MSU. This game was ugly on all fronts for the Spartans. They couldn’t shoot (42% from the field, 25% from three, 65% from charity). They couldn’t pass the ball (14 turnovers, but felt like 400). They, despite having more fouls called on Duke (21 to 14), just got blatantly screwed time and again by quite possibly the worst officiating crew I have ever seen in my life. The refs aren’t why they lost, so don’t think I am saying that, it just sucked watching Loyer get stepped on and called for a foul, a goal-tending my dead grandma would have blown the whistle on because it was still that clear to anyone watching, and numerous examples of Duke lowering their shoulder in what is a charge that never gets called.

Anyways, this team has a lot of issues right now even beyond their personal grief they have to deal with in the spotlight. Typical Izzo scenario, though. Xavier Tillman led the team with 20 points, and Marcus Bingham Jr. saw great (but too few) minutes with 13 points. Cassius Winston still remains in feasible striking distance of becoming the first player in the history of college basketball to score 2k points and dish out 1k assists.

Game 2

A banged up Spartan squad missing Rocket Watts now escaped an upset minded Rutgers squad 77-65 Sunday night in East Lansing. There wasn’t much here for MSU to hang their hat on it felt like, but 81.5% shooting from the free throw line, an 8 point margin in rebounding against a strong rebounding team, and 17 team assists aren’t nothing at least. Cassius Winston led the Spartans with 23 points, and is now only 46 assists away from beating out Mateen Cleaves for the all-time Big Ten/MSU career assist record.

Rutgers v Michigan State Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

Week Ahead

The Spartans head to [future Big Ten Tournament site, I guarantee it] shiny Little Caesars Arena on Saturday, December 14 to take on the Oakland Grizzlies (84th in RPI) at 12 pm ET on ESPN2. This isn’t the typical Greg Kampe squad of late, and talk about a coach who should have been poached long ago, but the Grizzlies almost always play a close one in this in-state series.

Purdue Boilermakers 6-3 (1-0)

(24 AP votes)

NCAA Basketball: Virginia at Purdue Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Game 1

Purdue got a big home win over the reigning double-dribble champs, the #5 Virginia Cavaliers 69-40 Wednesday night in Mackey Arena.

In typical Virginia fashion, I hope you didn’t tune-in for this utter abomination of a game masquerading as basketball with a half-time score by the Cavs of only 17 points. They had a scoring drought of over 9 minutes, which was as many points as they had from the 12:53 mark until 3:45. Virginia, some credit to Purdue’s defense here and some to UVA just being utter garbage on offense, shot a paltry 17% from three, and 37% from the field. It’s like the Cavs offense is the transmission in a Ford Focus or something this season so far, just shuts down in neutral for long stretches on the highway! In contrast, Purdue shot 52% from three and 45% from the field. Sasha Stefanovic led the Boilermakers with 20 points.

Game 2

Purdue opened Big Ten play with a 58-44 win over Northwestern. Despite only shooting 39% from the field and 23% from three, the Boilermakers managed to eek out the 14 point win margin in the end. Sasha Stefanovic led the team with 14 points, while Matt Haarms scored 12.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: DEC 08 Northwestern at Purdue Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Week Ahead

The Boilermakers come to Lincoln on Sunday to take on our Cornhuskers (217th in RPI) for a 4 pm ET tip on BTN.

Iowa Hawkeyes 6-3 (0-1)

Game 1

The Hawkeyes went on the road to lovely upstate New York squeezed out some fresh glasses of victory (I’ve got a lot of dad jokes like this, and I’m sure it what keeps you coming back in droves to read these) over the Syracuse Orange 68-54. Iowa really put Syracuse on the juicer in this one, squeezing out a narrow margin on the boards 37-36. Luke Garza had monster game with 23 points, while Jordan Bohannon chimed in with 17.

Yours truly in the Carrier Dome Sept. 2015 for LSU-Cuse. I don’t recommend the venue for anything other than crappy 70’s era stadium nostalgia for how not to build them.

Game 2

The Hawkeyes traveled to Ann Arbor and came up just short against Michigan, losing 103-91. It’s not a surprise given Iowa shot a mere 20% from three, and only 47% from the field. It was all Luke Garza on offense for the black and gold as he scored 44 points. Of note for Garza is he is now the highest-scoring opposing player in formerly bird shit filled arena history, also known as Crisler Arena. After him, Connor McCaffery was the second leading scorer with 12 points.

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

Week Ahead

The Hawkeyes host Minnesota (63rd in RPI) on Monday night at 8 pm ET on BTN. Then they head to the Iowa State Cyclones (149th in RPI) Thursday night for an 8 pm ET tip on ESPN2. This Thursday is also my birthday. All I wanted was a win over Duke, so that’s completely ruined it and I have no interest in tuning in for this match-up of El-Assico on the hardwood.

#4 Michigan Wolverines 8-1 (1-0)

NCAA Basketball: Louisville Press Conference
Not according to the NCAA folks
Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Game 1

Michigan proceeded to prove why they were absurdly over-rated as the #4 team by tanking at the KFC Yum! Center against the #1 Louisville Cardinals. Michigan lost every category in this one except fouls (16-14). The paltry shooting of 26% from the field and 16% from three was a sight to behold (if you made the mistake of actually watching this game). Just take a look at the missed shots on their shot chart:

Jon Teske led the Wolverines with his double-double, and was the only player to crack double-digits on the roster with 18 points and 10 boards.

Game 2

Michigan opened up their ammo cabinet and completely emptied it of birdshot Friday night, beating the Hawkeyes 103-91. Iowa managed to keep it competitive for the first six minutes of game play, but never got closer than 8 after the ensuing Michigan run. The Wolverines had lots of free throws off Iowa’s 22 fouls, and capitalized on them at a clip of 85%. They also shot 42% from three, going 10-24. Franz Wagner led the team in scoring with his career high 18 points. Zavier Simpson and Jon Teske both scored 16, and Isiah Livers scored 14.

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

Week Ahead

Michigan plays Illinois (80th in RPI) Wednesday at 9 pm ET on BTN. Then Saturday the #10 Oregon Ducks come to town for a 12 pm ET tip-off on CBS.

Wisconsin Badgers 5-4 (1-0)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: DEC 04 Wisconsin at NC State
That’s a sad looking Badger.
Photo by Jaylynn Nash/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Game 1

Wisconsin traveled to Raleigh to take on the N.C. State Wolfpack (162nd in RPI), but the normally feisty rodent got mauled by the larger mammal 69-54. The Badgers kept it close throughout the first half, heading into the locker room only down 2. However, cold shooting plagued them too much and they fell behind big while shooting 22% from three, 38% from the field, and only 47% from the free throw line. Despite winning rebounds, and keeping turnovers at only 9, the inability to get a bucket killed them in this one. Aleem Ford led the team with 13 points.

Game 2

Wisconsin saw a visit from the undefeated Indiana Hoosiers Saturday afternoon, and saw fit to send them away with their first loss in blowout fashion 84-64. Fun facts about this one, the 20 point margin isn’t even close to the largest conference win margin by Wisconsin. That margin belongs to two games against Indiana, both of which were 42 point blowouts occurring in 1911 and 1940. The game in 1911 had a final score of 51-9. This also keeps Indiana’s losing streak alive in the Kohl Center, where the Badgers have only ever lost one game at home to them, their first against the Hoosiers on January 25, 1998. Only 4 turnovers, 89% shooting from the free throw line on 18 attempts, and 40% shooting from three were the reasons for the 20 points difference in score in this one. Kobe King led Wisconsin with 24 points, while Nate Reuvers had 20.

Week Ahead

The Badgers fly to New Jersey Wednesday to take on Rutgers (91st in RPI) in the RAC at 7 pm ET on BTN.

Indiana Hoosiers 8-1 (0-1)

(13 AP votes)

Game 1

Like my Uncle Bobby Knight above (kidding, no relation), you may throw a chair if somebody tried to argue that Indiana prior to this week had actually played anyone noteworthy yet. Well, they finally did when the #17 Florida State Seminoles rolled into Bloomington and lost 80-64. This one was competitive at times, with FSU taking the early lead, but losing it for good around the 14 minute mark in the first half. FSU rallied in the middle of the second half to get within three points twice, but couldn’t hold on. Despite 18 turnovers, the Hoosiers cruised to their win largely on the back of 56% shooting from the field and 47% from three. Trayce Jackson-Davis led the team with 15 points and Justin Smith scored 14.

Florida State v Indiana Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Game 2

Indiana headed up to Madison Saturday to take on Wisconsin, and came home without their undefeated record intact. That’s really the overly polite way of putting this one, honestly, as the Hoosiers got blown out big time in this one. This keeps Indiana’s losing streak alive in the Kohl Center, where they have only ever won one game, their first one there played on January 25, 1998. The stats don’t make a ton of sense on matching the score exactly, as Indiana kept turnovers manageable with 12, lost the rebounding battle by one, and shot 36% from three, all respectable stats. However, their 42% shooting from the field is what really did them in, especially compared with the Badger’s hot shooting. Al Durham led Indiana with 17 points.

Week Ahead

Indiana will get a visit from the Connecticut Huskies (98th in RPI) Tuesday night at 9 pm ET on ESPN. Then our Huskers get Scott Frost’s wish and play at Indiana with an 8 pm ET tip on BTN.

Penn State Nittany Lions 7-2 (0-1)

(9 AP votes)

Game 1

The Nittany Lions ensured the Big Ten would get at least a tie in the B1G-ACC Challenge with their 76-54 rout of the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. Despite shooting a paltry 18% from three, and only 44% from the field, Penn State managed to use second change points off of 17 offensive rebounds to hammer away at the rim. Overall they out-rebounded Wake 52-33. Mike Watkins hauled in 16 rebounds and Myreon Jones led the team with 22 points.

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

Game 2

Penn State traveled to Columbus and left with a blowout loss to the Buckeyes, 106-74. However, I would argue the final score was more deceptive of how this game was going for most of game play. Penn State never held the lead, but they staying within striking distance until around halfway through the second half. And that timing marks around when Lamar Stevens fouled out after a controversial technical foul at the 13:26 mark. Stevens 50% shooting from the field and 1-3 shooting from three out of the game spelled doom for any chance of a PSU comeback. Overall Penn St. only shot 35% from three and 42% from the field, lost the rebounding battle 37-25, and turned the ball over 11 times. Izaiah Brockington led the team with 19 points, and after that Lamar Stevens was second in scoring with 11 despite sitting out more than half of the second half after fouling out.

NCAA Basketball: Penn State at Ohio State
Lamar Stevens fouling out saw the Buckeyes finally open up the lead to a total blowout in the second-half.
Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Week Ahead

The Nittany Lions will host #3 Maryland Tuesday night at 7 pm ET on ESPN. Then they play host to the Alabama Crimson Tide (217th in RPI) Saturday at 2 pm ET on BTN.

Illinois Fighting Illini 6-3 (0-1)

Game 1

Illinois hosted the Miami Hurricanes (31st in RPI) but came up just short (with no help from the refs on a bad call late to ensure no real chance of forcing OT) 81-79. Illinois won the battle at the boards 32-23, and shot 35% from three. However, the Hurricanes were hot from both the field, 59%, and from three, 56%. No double-double for him, but Kofi Cockburn did lead the team with 23 points.

Miami v Illinois
CHAMPAIGN, IL - DECEMBER 02: Isaiah Wong #2 of the Miami (Fl) Hurricanes drives to the basket against Kofi Cockburn #21 of the Illinois Fighting Illini at State Farm Center on December 2, 2019 in Champaign, Illinois.
Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Game 2

Illinois traveled to College Park Saturday, and almost pulled off the upset over the #3 ranked Maryland Terrapins to start their conference season. However, despite leading by 8 to 10 points for more than half of the game, and as much as 15 at one point, the Illini couldn’t hang-on for a full 40 minutes and fell behind with :02 seconds left to lose 59-58. This was a real heart breaker for Illinois as they should have gotten the big upset here even in-spite of their 13 turnovers and abysmal 21% shooting from three. Trent Frazier led the team with 13 points.

NCAA Basketball: Illinois at Maryland
Kofi Cockburn only just missed yet another double-double with 9 points and 8 rebounds.
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Week Ahead

The Illini host now #5 Michigan Wednesday night at 9 pm ET on BTN. Then on Saturday the Old Dominion Monarchs (196th in RPI) come to Champagne for a 6 pm ET tip-off on BTN.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights 6-3 (0-1)

Game 1

Rutgers took on the Pittsburgh Panthers on the road Wednesday night and ended with a 71-60 loss. 20 turnovers really hurt the Scarlet Knights in this one. Montez Mathis, Ron Harper Jr., and Myles Johnson all led the team in scoring with 14 points apiece, while Harper and Johnson got double-doubles with Harper’s team high 14 rebounds and Johnson grabbed 10.

Game 2

Rutgers took on Michigan State in the Breslin Center and at times gave them a challenge, even taking a one point lead late in the first half. However, they left with the loss 77-65 in the end. Despite only shooting 29% from three, and 40% from the field, the Scarlet Knights still only lost in the end by 12. Akwasi Yeboah led the team with 17 points.

Rutgers v Michigan State Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

Week Ahead

Rutgers hosts Wisconsin (121st in RPI) Wednesday at 7 pm ET on BTN. Then on Saturday the #16 Seton Hall Pirates come to the RAC for a 4 pm ET tip on BTN.

Minnesota Golden Gophers 4-4

Game 1

Minnesota got an important win for the Big Ten Monday night, beating the Clemson Tigers 78-60. The Gophers kept turnovers down to 8, had a narrow 30-26 rebounding advantage, 5 blocks, and shared the ball well with 17 assists. Overall a solid night, and good shooting with 36% from three and 54% from the field. Marcus Carr led the team with 24 points and Daniel Oturu scored 21.

NCAA Basketball: Clemson at Minnesota Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

Week Ahead

Goldie heads to Iowa City to take on the Hawkeyes (77th in RPI) tonight at 8 pm ET on BTN.

Northwestern Wildcats 4-4 (0-1)

Game 1

NU got a blowout win over the Boston College Eagles 82-64. Hot shooting really led the way for the Wildcats, going 58% from the field, 45% from three, and 90% from the free throw line (9-10). While they had 14 turnovers, it didn’t matter in the end, especially given the 18 assists and 38-21 rebounding advantage. Miller Kopp led the team with 20 points.

Game 2

Northwestern headed over to Mackey Arena Sunday afternoon, but couldn’t get an upset against Purdue, losing 44-58. Bad shooting doomed this one as NU shot 29% from three and 34% from the field. Pete Nance led the Wildcats with 14 points.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: DEC 08 Northwestern at Purdue Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Week Ahead

Northwestern gets a visit from the SIU-Edwardsville Cougars (323rd in RPI) Sunday at 4 pm ET on ESPNU.

Nebraska Cornhuskers 4-5

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: DEC 04 Nebraska at Georgia Tech Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Game 1

Huskers fell to the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Wednesday night in the B1G-ACC Challenge matchup. Be sure to read the review here and listen to the recap on the podcast here if you haven’t yet.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: DEC 04 Nebraska at Georgia Tech Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Game 2

Nebraska supposedly played a game in Omaha Saturday against Creighton. However, I’m pretty sure they forgot the tip-off time and didn’t show up until the second half. Final was 95-76, but it didn’t really feel that close nor was it for large swaths of the game. You can read more on this one here.

Week Ahead

Nebraska heads to Bloomington to live out the Scott Frost dream of taking on the Hoosiers (45th in RPI) Friday at 8 pm ET on BTN. Quick turnaround has the Purdue Boilermakers (103rd in RPI) coming to Lincoln Sunday at 4 pm ET on BTN.