The Big Ten had two games on Monday night, including a ranked matchup between Iowa and Michigan State in East Lansing. Add in a matchup with a top 15 team in Wisconsin and there was plenty of action to take in for fans to start this week.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Day:
-No. 10 Michigan State Spartans 90, No. 18 Iowa Hawkeyes 68
Although this game wasn’t all that intriguing on the court, it did have some major ramifications for the Big Ten and beyond. Both teams entered the matchup ranked in the top 20 nationally and were hoping to score a key conference victory.
Early on, it looked like it was going to be a tight matchup. Iowa was hitting outside shots and the Spartans were feasting near the rim. But as it approached halftime, Iowa got in some foul trouble and Michigan State was able to grab a 43-33 lead. And in the second half, Michigan State pulled away with ease, winning by a 90-68 final.
For Michigan State, this improves the team to 7-2 on the season and to 2-0 in Big Ten play. It also gives the Spartans another win against a quality opponent. In the team’s last five games, Michigan State has wins over Iowa, Texas, and UCLA and a conference road win. One can’t complain about that too much. Michigan State will now go on the road to face a solid Florida team on Saturday.
On the other side, Iowa will have to regroup after losing its second straight game. The Hawkeyes were probably overvalued after beating Oregon and UConn in early November, but this is still a disappointing start to conference play. Iowa will hope to regroup with a home game against arch-rival Iowa State on Thursday.
-No. 12 Wisconsin Badgers 69, Rutgers Scarlet Knights 64
Generally speaking, this wasn’t exactly a surprising result for these teams on Monday night. Wisconsin entered the game as a sizable favorite and was able to grab a home win thanks to a big night from Ethan Happ (20 points) and D’Mitrik Trice (14 points). The win improved Wisconsin to 8-1 on the season and to 2-0 in Big Ten play.
However, this wasn’t as easy as Badger fans hoped. Rutgers stayed in it for much of the game and had a few runs to make things interested. Geo Baker and Eugene Omoruyi combined for 32 points on the night and Omoruyi had eight rebounds. Rutgers actually played well enough to jump 12 spots on KenPom, despite the loss.
Since this game largely went as expected, there aren’t too many long-term implications. Wisconsin will move on to face a feisty Marquette team on the road on Saturday. Rutgers will face Fordham on the road on Saturday.