The Big Ten had a loaded slate on Saturday, including marquee matchups for teams like Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, and Nebraska among others. There’s a lot to get into, so let’s just jump into what happened.
Game of the Day:
-Indiana Hoosiers 68, Louisville Cardinals 67
While neither of these teams were ranked heading into Saturday’s matchup between Indiana and Louisville, fans knew this would be a big one. The Hoosiers were trying to get back on track after a few rough years and Louisville was looking to score another marquee win with Chris Mack.
Early on, it looked like Louisville would come out on top in this one. The Cardinals were able to slow down Romeo Langford and Juwan Morgan and kept cashing in on perimeter buckets. Louisville led 33-28 at halftime.
But in the second half, Indiana was able to bounce back. And Langford was able to get on track, finishing with 21 points and four assists. All told, Indiana grabbed a narrow 68-67 win over the Cardinals to improve to 8-2 on the season.
Things haven’t been perfect for the Hoosiers so far, but it’s hard to complain much about an 8-2 start, with four wins coming against top 50 opponents. Indiana will now get a week off before facing Butler in the Crossroads Classic next Saturday. A win there and the hype would really start building for this Indiana team.
-Illinois Fighting Illini 77, UNLV Runnin’ Rebels 74
Heading into Saturday, Illinois desperately needed a win. The Illini started the season at 2-7 overall and have struggled to close out games against competent competition. And despite almost letting Saturday’s game slip away, Illinois was able to grab the win.
Andres Feliz finished with 19 points on the night. The team will now get a week off before facing East Tennessee State at home next Saturday.
-No. 23 Maryland Terrapins 55, Loyola (Chicago) Ramblers 41
This game slipped under the radar nationally, but was actually a pretty nice win for the Terps. Maryland was able to beat Loyola (Chicago) on a neutral court on Saturday to improve to 8-2 on the season. And while the Ramblers aren’t anywhere near last year’s group, it was still a nice win for Mark Turgeon and his staff. Maryland will now prepare for Loyola (MD) at home on Tuesday.
-No. 5 Michigan Wolverines 89, South Carolina Gamecocks 79
After scoring a dramatic win over Northwestern to start the week, Michigan returned home and faced South Carolina on Saturday. The Gamecocks aren’t what they were in years past, but the team was feisty and well coached.
Nonetheless, Michigan was able to take control in the second half and improved to 10-0 on the season. This is now the team’s best start since the program’s famed 2012-’13 season. Michigan will now prepare for a home game against Western Michigan next Saturday.
-No. 10 Michigan State Spartans 63, Florida Gators 59
The Spartans also faced an SEC East team on Saturday, battling the Gators on the road in what was a tight game throughout the second half. Xavier Tillman came up big for Michigan State with 14 points and nine rebounds.
Michigan State now sits at 8-2 on the season and will have three manageable non-conference opponents at home to close out 2018. The team gets Green Bay at home next Sunday.
There wasn’t a whole lot to take away from this one. Minnesota faced an overwhelmed Arkansas State team at home and was able to cruise to an easy win. The Gophers are now 8-2 on the season and will prepare for North Florida at home next Tuesday. True freshman Daniel Oturu had a big night with 19 points and 12 rebounds. He is quietly putting together a solid All-Big Ten Freshman team campaign.
-No. 24 Nebraska Cornhuskers 94, Creighton Bluejays 75
Although I thought Nebraska would win this game, I figured that the Huskers would try to keep this as a low-scoring affair and use the team’s defense to grab a win. Nonetheless, Nebraska lit up the scoreboards and finished with 94 points against rival Creighton.
This was Nebraska’s first win over Creighton since 2010 and pushed the Huskers to 8-2 on the season and with three wins over top 100 teams. Nebraska will now prepare for a neutral court matchup against Oklahoma State next Sunday.
After a tough losses to Indiana and Michigan over the last week, fans weren’t sure what to expect out of Northwestern on Saturday. However, the Wildcats showed up and were able to grab a key home win against DePaul to improve to 7-3 o the season. Northwestern will now prepare for Chicago State at home on Monday
The only question about this one heading in was whether the good or bad Penn State team would show up on Saturday. And we got our answer early. Penn State got up in the opening minutes and never looked back. Penn State now sits at 5-4 and will prepare to head to Atlantic City to face North Carolina State next Saturday.
-Fordham Rams 78, Rutgers Scarlet Knights 70
One of the Big Ten’s only losses on Saturday came in disappointing fashion, as Rutgers fell on the road to a bad Fordham team. Fordham entered the game well outside the top 200 on KenPom and Rutgers was a solid favorite in the matchup. Nonetheless, Rutgers fell by eight points on the road on Saturday.
Rutgers now sits at 5-4 overall and has lost three in a row. And with just one win against a top 150 team, it’s hard to be encouraged by this start. The Scarlet Knights will hope to rebound on Saturday with a road game against Seton Hall.
-Marquette Golden Eagles 74, No. 12 Wisconsin Badgers 69 (OT)
Wisconsin entered this matchup hoping to build on its three-game win streak and grab a key win against an in-state rival. And while the game was close throughout and went to overtime, Marquette took over late and was able to get the win. Ethan Happ did about all he could, finishing with 34 points, 11 rebounds, and four assists on the night.
Saturday was a tough one for Badger fans, but Wisconsin’s resume is still quite strong through 10 games. Wisconsin will hope to rebound against Savannah State at home next Thursday night.