Thanksgiving may widely be known as a day for family and football, but college basketball is alive and active as well. The Big Ten had three games and, unfortunately, had one of its worst days so far this season.
Let’s take a look at what went down.
Game of the Night:
Despite entering the Battle 4 Atlantis with high hopes, Purdue now finds itself deep into the consolidation bracket after losing to Tennessee and Western Kentucky. Both losses were a relatively check for the Boilermakers, who were riding high after opening the season with such momentum.
And Thursday’s loss was far worse, as Purdue dropped a game to what projects to be an underwhelming Western Kentucky team. The Boilermakers struggled with fouling and got outshot from three-point range. The backcourt once again underwhelmed, as Ryan Cline, Carsen Edwards, and Dakota Mathias all finished with offensive ratings below 100.
Nonetheless, Purdue will have to hope this is just an early season slip up and will move forward to face Arizona on Friday. The Wildcats are another team that have struggled in the Bahamas and, as such, both squads desperately need a win.
Despite playing without Miles Bridges, Michigan State coasted to an easy win over what projected to be a semi-respectable DePaul squad. It was an impressive win for the Spartans assisted in large part from the 20-point performance of Matt McQuaid.
Along with McQuaid, Michigan State also saw some improved shooting from deep. The Spartans hit on 43.5 percent of the team’s looks from three-point range and sat around 1.06 points per possession. Michigan State also did a great job of slowing down DePaul’s offensive attack, holding the Demons to 0.76 points per possession.
Michigan State will now move on to face a rising Connecticut team on Friday. It should be another opportunity for the Spartans to grab a quality win.
-UCF Knights 68, Nebraska Cornhuskers 59
If fans were still hopeful about the Huskers, most of that ended on Thursday night as Nebraska got handled by UCF on a neutral court. While the early stages of the game were competitive, UCF used a massive run near the end of the first half to jump out to a big lead. The Knights had 90 percent in-game odds for the remainder of the evening.
The biggest issue for Nebraska remains the lack of offensive production. The only player who continues to show up is James Palmer, as he finished with 22 points on the night. Otherwise, it’s been inconsistency, poor shooting, and lackluster bench contributions since season’s tip. Those aren’t going to lead to victories.
Perhaps the lone saving grave in this game is that UCF is a relatively solid team. The Knights are ranked in the top 75 on KenPom and should be in position to make a postseason run. Nonetheless, Nebraska will move on to face Marist on Friday.