Wednesday’s slate was an interesting one for the Big Ten. Two tricky teams went on the road to face Big Ten title contenders in Michigan State and Purdue. Ultimately, the Spartans and Boilermakers won, but it wasn’t easy.
Let’s take a look at how the games played out.
Game of the Night:
Make no mistake about it. Maryland fought valiantly in this one. While the Terps were unable to catch the Boilermakers late in the game, it was quite an effort. Maryland’s offense was working for much of the night and kept things competitive.
The stars for Maryland were Bruno Fernando and Kevin Huerter. The two underclassmen combined for 36 points and played major minutes for the Terps. Fernando also did plenty of work on the boards, finishing with 10 rebounds.
For Purdue, this was a nice home win to keep the team’s streak going. The Boilermakers have now won 18 games in a row and seven-in-a-row against top 50 opponents on KenPom. Those are mind boggling numbers.
The Boilermakers will get one more tuneup game on Saturday against Rutgers before its massive matchups with Ohio State and Michigan State the week after. Fans should get ready to buckle up for quite a run down the stretch.
On the other side, Maryland fans have to be disappointed. This was another game where the Terps were in position to win, but couldn’t close the deal. The team’s incredibly shallow bench continues to be an issue. The good news is that things should get easier with Wisconsin at home on Sunday.
Like the second game of the day, this was a competitive game throughout. Penn State came out firing and had a 30-24 lead at halftime. However, Michigan State regrouped in the second half and was able to pull away in the final 10 minutes.
The star of the game was Miles Bridges, who finished with 23 points and nine rebounds. Despite playing under the radar for much of the season, Bridges is quietly getting himself back into the Big Ten Player of the Year conversation. Tony Carr also had a great night for Penn State with 28 points, seven assists, and six rebounds.
Michigan State will now move on to a particularly challenging portion of its schedule. The Spartans will play at Indiana on Saturday followed by a road trip to Iowa and a huge matchup with Purdue on February 10th. In fact, Michigan State’s closing slate features five of seven games on the road. Things won’t be easy.
On the other side, Penn State let another potential marquee win slip away. The Nittany Lions will hope to get back on track with Iowa at home on Saturday. There are some huge opportunities for Penn State down the stretch. The only question is whether the team will be able to capitalize on those chances.