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2/7 Big Ten Recap: Things Got Wild

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Penn State beat Maryland? A wild battle of Illinois schools? A blowout at Crisler? Lots of stuff happened in the Big Ten tonight!

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

There were three Big Ten games on Tuesday night. You could say that they were regional battles, of sorts, with the two Michigan schools meeting up at Crisler, the Illinois schools facing off in Evanston and Penn State playing nearby Maryland in Happy Valley.

Two of those games went down to the wire, one of them was a blowout....and you’ll never guess which one.

We’ll recap all of those games below!

-Big Ten Game of the Day:

-Michigan 86, Michigan State 57:

Michigan was a four point favorite in this game, and no one really knew why. Well, turns out, that that was being generous to Sparty.

I could probably just recap this game by linking a bunch of Michigan tweets and honestly that’s kind of what I’m about to do because that’ll tell the story of this game better than I ever could.

Get the picture? Yeah, this game had a lot of stuff in it, and most of it went Michigan’s way.

Derrick Walton Jr. continues his fine play of late by leading all scorers with 20 points, to go along with his eight assists and five boards. Xavier Simpson probably had his best game as a Wolverine, and though his stat line might appear underwhelming, he had a few strong takes to the bucket and generally looked confident in this game.

I wanted to save this tweet for now because holy crap, Miles Bridges is something else:

He was the best Spartan in this game, going for 15 points, five boards and three assists to go along with that insane alley-oop finish. Yeah, he’s a lottery pick.

Michigan needed this win to stay in the tournament mix. Michigan State is firmly on the tourney bubble with the loss.

The Wolverines travel to Bloomington on Sunday, Sparty hosts Iowa on Saturday. Michigan has already blown Indiana once, and coming off this route of MSU, they’ll be looking to keep this rolling and erase the memory of their two consecutive rivalry losses before tonight’s win.

As for Michigan State, yeah, they’re going to want to get this loss out of their head, but they’ll have to get through a tough Hawkeye squad to do so. The good news is that they’ll meet at Breslin, where the Izzone should be absolutely jumping.

-The Rest:

-Illinois 68, Northwestern 61

This was an upset.

The Illini, ranked next to last in the conference standings, made the short trip to Evanston to face the Wildcats–ranked fourth in the Big Ten–and stuck with them.

With around two minutes left in the game, Northwestern tied the game up at 61 with a pair of Bryant McIntosh free throws.

Those were the last points the Wildcats would score.

The Illini scored seven straight points to close out the game, and rounded out an upset win on the road. This type of performance would have been nice for Illinois a few weeks ago, when they were still in the tournament picture. It’s probably a little too late for them now, and instead, this game will fall under the category of spoiler.

Which brings me to my next point: Northwestern fans must be soooooooo stressed out right now. Finally, an NU team that can make the tournament. And, while they probably will make the tournament, you can’t blame their fans for feeling a bit trepidant about how things are going, and to have a “see it to believe it” type feeling towards this whole thing.

After a loss to Purdue, this seemed like the sure-bet type of game they needed to get back on track and keep rolling towards their first tournament birth in program history. Instead, they took their fourth conference loss of the season, with a trip to Madison on tap and games against Michigan, Maryland, Indiana and Purdue left on the schedule.

A look at the box score likely tells the tail of this game. Sanjay Lumpkin scored no points in 30 minutes of game time, while Dererk Pardon had six and Isiah Brown scored just five.

Vic Law and Bryant McIntosh had big games with 16 and 21 points, respectively, but Northwestern is going to need more from their starters if they’re going to break their lifelong tournament drought.

As I mentioned, they’ll next take the floor Sunday afternoon in Madison where they’ll face Wisconsin, who sit tops in the Big Ten.

The Illini will host Penn State on Saturday in a rematch against a team they lost to a few weeks back. They’ll be looking for some revenge and to try to close out their season on a good note.

-Penn State 70, #21 Maryland 64:

Penn State has been weird this season. I guess what I’m trying to say by that is that they’ve been good and they’ve beaten some solid teams.

Maryland is coming off a loss to Purdue that may have been the best Big Ten game of the season, and you would expect them to be looking to get back on track against a team they’re very much better than in Penn State.

But the Nittany Lions, who are also coming off a close loss to a team in Indiana (that team was Indiana) and to lowly Rutgers at home, came ready to get back on track and it showed.

Lamar Stevens dropped 25 points, collected seven boards and although he had just one assist, he was by far the game’s high scorer and his presence was felt all game long.

Tony Carr and Mike Watkins also chipped in with nice contributions, recording 14 points, seven rebounds, three assists and 10 rebounds and nine rebounds, respectively.

For Maryland, their starters had subpar showings in this game. Melo Trimble and Justin Jackson had rough shooting nights, and Kevin Huerter did not have his usual shooting touch, going just three for eight from deep.

This win keeps Penn State above .500 and let’s them stay towards the bottom of that middle pack in the conference standings. They’ll likely need some magic to have any shot at the tournament, but this keeps them firmly in the NIT discussion, where they’ll likely make some noise. The Nittany Lions are off until Saturday afternoon when they’ll head to Champaign and play the Illini.

The Terps now drop two games behind the Badgers for tops in the conference. They’ll make the tourney, but this is not a loss they should ever take. They’ll also be off until Saturday afternoon, when they’ll host Ohio State and look to get back on track after a small two game skid.