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1/31 Big Ten Recap: The Rise of the Road Teams!

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A recap of a three-game Tuesday night slate in the Big Ten, highlighted by a close one in Columbus and an almost close one in Champaign

NCAA Basketball: Wisconsin at Illinois Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports

There were three games in the Big Ten last night, and while none of their results should be particularly surprising to anyone, the conference picture became a little clearer at the final buzzer sounded in Champaign.

Let’s take a look back at what went down last night in the always busy world of Big Ten hoops.

Big Ten Game of the Day:

-#17 Maryland 77, Ohio State 71

I’m sure you all remember that, as we noted in the preview for this game, Ohio State actually was a one-point favorite in this matchup with Maryland. Why? We’re still trying to figure that one out, but such was the case.

Despite our collective trepidation about that weird line, though, the Buckeyes actually looked like they would pull it off.

Jae’Sean Tate finished with a solid 20-point, 4-rebound and 4-assist game, while Marc Loving registered 18 points and 5 boards of his own.

Two of Loving’s 18 points came on a jump shot to pull the Buckeyes within 2, with about 2 minutes to play. At that point, it looked as though Ohio State would be able to finally pull out a tough game–something they had not been able to do this season.

Unfortunately, however, those were the last point Loving, or any other Buckeye would score. Before we knew it, Melo Trimble, in all his clutch-ness, made a jumper on the other end to make it 75-71 with 34 seconds to play, all but icing the game for the Terps.

Melo’s late bucket accounted for 2 of just 13 points on the night. He also had 5 turnovers to only 4 assists. It wasn't the best performance for him or for Maryland as a whole, but they’ll take it.

"That was a gut-check win for us," Turgeon said. "I thought Ohio State was terrific. They were hard for us to guard, shot 48 percent against us." -Via ESPN

With the win, Maryland stays atop the Big Ten standings and looks like as much of a lock to make the tourney as they have all year. The Buckeyes, on the other hand, are 3-7 in conference play. You can infer, from that statement, that they’re not making the tournament.

The Rest:

-Iowa 83, Rutgers 63

Alright, soooooooo... Rutgers is 1-9 in the Big Ten.

Usually when a team is 1-9, their fans will look high and low for ANY sign of progress so that they can have some tiny glimmer of hope for the future.

Rutgers’ best player, point guard Corey Sanders, scored 8 points in 22 minutes against Iowa.

It was not pretty, and the Scarlet Knights probably are going to have some serious soul-searching to do in the offseason. Granted, Iowa pretty good team, but they aren’t that good. On top of that, the 20-point margin that the Hawkeyes beat them by comes just a few days after losing to Wisconsin by just 7 points.

Deshawn Freeman did record a double-double, though, and those are good. His 17-point, 13-rebound game was actually the best statistical performance on the night. Iowa’s Jordan Bohannon also finished up with 17 points, but not much else aside from that.

Nevertheless, Iowa didn't have much trouble getting the road win on Tuesday night. They aren’t completely out of the tournament picture at this point, and their next two games–at home against Nebraska and on the road against Minnesota–will go a long way in deciding this team’s postseason fate.

-#10 Wisconsin 57, Illinois 43

You had a chance, Illinois!!!

After being down by as many as 16 points, the Illini came all the way back to cut their deficit to 6 points, midway through the second half.

Unfortunately for Groce and the Illini, though, their comeback bid felt like it lasted not longer than a few seconds.

4 consecutive scoring possessions by the Badgers pushed their lead back up to 51-37, though, and the game seemed beyond and doubt again.

Ethan Happ finished with a 14-point, 13-rebound double-double and Nigel Hayes finished with a solid 11-point and 8-board game of his own. All in all, it was a dominant win for Wisconsin and one that helped them stay tied with Maryland atop the Big Ten standings.

Up next for Wisconsin is a big one: a Super Bowl Sunday matchup against Indiana in Madison. The matchup is was named by our very own Thomas Beindit as an honorable mention for Big Ten game of the week.

For Wisconsin, this is another opportunity to add a solid win at home and continue in the team’s pursuit of a Big Ten title. Additionally, considering that the Badgers have looked vulnerable in the last few games, the team could use a convincing win to get things back on track. -Beindit

Look out for that game as you prepare your props and your 7-layer dips on Sunday afternoon.