Unlike previous Tuesdays in which we'd only have two or even one (thanks, Juno) Big Ten games to watch, this week gave us three exciting games to kick off the basketball week. One of them promised to be an exciting offensive matchup between Wisconsin's forwards and Indiana's guards. Would the Badgers hold serve or could the Hoosiers overcome them with long-range shooting?
Game of the night: Indiana at Wisconsin
Wisconsin won 92-78, but it wasn't even that close, as the Badgers once led by 31 points in the second half. You can create that kind of margin when the other team offers little interior resistance to your talented big men. Wisconsin dominated in the paint as well as the perimeter, with Frank Kaminsky, Sam Dekker, and Nigel Hayes combining to shoot 19-for-24 from the field. It was Kaminsky's third straight game with more than 20 points, the first time he's had a streak like that in his career. When the Badgers needed to kick it outside, Bronson Koenig was there to knock down 3-of-4 triples for nine of his 15 points.
Even with James Blackmon Jr. out with an ankle injury, Indiana kept pace early with some hot three-point shooting from Collin Hartman (3-for-4 for the game) and Nick Zeisloft (5-for-9). The entire starting five ended up in double figures, but Yogi Ferrell struggled by going 4-for-15 from the floor. With the way the defense was blown away in this one, just one performance like that was enough to do the Hoosiers in. Tom Crean's squad has now lost three off its last four games after a 5-1 start to Big Ten play, but Scott Manning says that Indiana fans shouldn't panic just yet.
Northwestern at Nebraska
There are nights when Terran Petteway can frustrate Nebraska fans with his wild shooting, but this was not one of them. The junior swingman went 8-for-16 from the field, including five three-pointers to score 28 points and lead the Huskers to a 76-60 victory. With the way Nebraska has struggled to score lately, you'd figure this one would be close throughout, but some surprisingly hot (63 percent) Husker shooting led to a 17-0 second-half run that put Tim Miles's club in a happy place.
Northwestern got another strong scoring night from Alex Olah (16 points) and four three-pointers from Scottie Lindsay, but it wasn't enough to power past a Nebraska squad that was experiencing one of its best offensive games of the season.
Rutgers at Illinois
Rayvonte Rice and Aaron Cosby continue to be out of action, but Illinois is keeping itself in the NCAA Tournament conversation with victories like this one. The Illini got a nice bounce-back game from Kendrick Nunn and held off Rutgers to win 66-54. Nunn was a ghastly 2-for-14 against Penn State, but with the Knights in town he went 7-for-15 from the field to lead everyone with 21 points. The Illini also got 15 points from emerging star Malcolm Hill and 13 off the bench from Ahmad Starks.
Rutgers didn't allow Illinois to get comfortable until the very end, but Eddie Jordan needs to find ways to get players other than Myles Mack and Kadeem Jack involved on offense. The two combined for 33 of the Knights' 54 points with Mack playing all 40 minutes. Rutgers got just four points out of its bench and has now lost seven straight games.