With both Nebraska and Northwestern coming off of disappointing road losses, you'd figure both squads would be fired up to prove the haters wrong. Instead, we got a couple of slow starts that took the home crowds out of the games early. Could the underdogs bounce back in their second halves?
Game of the night: Wisconsin at Nebraska
Just when you thought Nebraska had more than a snowball's chance to reach the NCAA Tournament again, Tim Miles's crew went out and scored 13 points in the first half for the second time in a row. The Huskers shot just 21 percent before the break, but held Wisconsin to 27 points to at least make a game of this one. The Badgers held Nebraska at bay for most of the second as well, but the Huskers fought back and managed to pull within five points when Terran Petteway hit a three-pointer with just over a minute to play.
Still, it was too little, too late, and Wisconsin hit its free throws to pull away, 65-55. Same Dekker matched a career high with 21 points, and Frank Kaminsky put up a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds. Nebraska got 21 points from Petteway, but he needed 23 shots to get there. Shavon Shields was the only other Husker in double figures with 12 points.
Wisconsin is now 22-2 overall and 10-1 in conference play. That represents the program's best start in history.
Michigan State at Northwestern
Boy, this one got out of hand pretty quickly. During a nine-minute stretch in the first half, Michigan State hit six three-pointers and went on a 22-0 run. The Wildcats were hanging in there at the beginning, but when the dust cleared, Sparty was on top 38-13 and we had nothing but garbage time to look forward to in the second half.
That was bad for Northwestern, but at least Tre Demps looked good. The junior went 8-for-12 from the field for a game-high 20 points. Unfortunately, the rest of the 'Cats managed just 24 points, with Michigan State cruising to a 68-44 victory. Although Tum Tum Nairn started this game, it was Travis Trice who led the Spartans with 16 points. Denzel Valentine racked up 14 points and eight assists, while Branden Dawson picked up 10 rebounds but fell three points shy of another double-double.