Saturday’s slate was an interesting one for the Big Ten. While there weren’t any marquee matchups, two Big Ten title contenders were in action, including what projected to be a tricky road trip for Purdue.
Let’s take a look at how the games played out.
Game of the Night:
-Purdue Boilermakers 87, Iowa Hawkeyes 64
Let’s not lie. Saturday’s matchup between the Boilermakers and Hawkeyes was hardly competitive. Purdue almost immediately jumped out to a double-digit lead and not looked back. It was about as impressive of a performance on the road as you will see in Big Ten play. Simply put, it was complete domination.
However, even though the game wasn’t all that competitive, this was still a significant result. To start, it kept Purdue undefeated in league play and atop the Big Ten standings. The Boilermakers now sit at 19-2 overall and 8-0 in Big Ten play. Perhaps even more impressive, Purdue has now won 15 straight.
Additionally, this was really a game that showcased how good this Purdue team is this season. Prior to tipoff, this game looked like it could be a tricky one for the Boilermakers. This was a huge home game for the Hawkeyes on a Saturday afternoon. The place was packed and Iowa looked ready to roll.
But, despite that energy in the building, Purdue cruised to an easy win. Winning on the road isn’t easy, but Purdue continues to roll. Notably, KenPom now projects Purdue to finish 17-1 in Big Ten play this season. An incredible projection.
Purdue will now move on to face Michigan at home on Thursday. Iowa will try and rebound against Wisconsin at home on Tuesday.
Due to Jim Delany and the Big Ten’s odd desire to continue to schedule games on the east coast, this matchup was played in Madison Square Garden. While we don’t know what would have happened had the game been played in Minneapolis, we know that Ohio State went to work in this one and scored a dominating win.
For Ohio State, it was the team’s seventh straight win and improved its record to 17-4 overall and 8-0 in Big Ten play. Kaleb Wesson had a really impressive game with 15 points and eight rebounds. The Buckeyes will move on and face Nebraska at home on Monday in what projects to be a competitive game.
On the other side, Minnesota suffered its fifth loss in six games and looks like its NCAA Tournament at-large hopes are on life support. The Gophers will return home to face Northwestern on Tuesday night. A loss there would be the final dagger.
This was the only matchup of the day without significant postseason implications, but it was a chance for both sides to try and score a nice win to try and get back on track. Penn State travelled to Northwestern and looked to rebound after a loss to Minnesota.
However, it was Northwestern who went to work and scored the team’s first win in three games. Vic Law stood out and finished with 18 points and five rebounds on the evening. The Wildcats now sit at 12-9 overall and 3-5 in Big Ten play. Northwestern will look to keep things rolling on Tuesday when the team goes on the road to face Minnesota.
On the other side, Saturday’s loss was another disappointment in a disappointing season for the Nittany Lions. It was Penn State’s second straight loss and its third in four games. Penn State now sits at 13-8 overall, 3-5 in Big Ten play, and well out of NCAA Tournament at-large contention. Penn State will resume action next Thursday when the team goes on the road to face Ohio State.