While Sunday’s slate was a noticeable step back from the Big Ten’s monster Saturday, there were still two intriguing games with major postseason implications. Michigan went on the road early in the day to face Wisconsin and Penn State went on the road to face Illinois for the evening’s finale.
Let’s take a look at how the games played out.
Game of the Night:
-Michigan Wolverines 83, Wisconsin Badgers 72
The final score in this one depicts a relatively competitive game. However, that really wasn’t the case until the closing minutes. Michigan came out firing and quickly jumped out to dominating lead. At halftime, Michigan led by a 44-22 margin.
In the second half, Wisconsin made things more interesting, but never got in serious position to challenge Michigan. According to KenPom, Michigan’s lowest in-game odds to win in the second half came with roughly nine minutes remaining, when the Wolverines had a 95.4 percent chance to win.
The star for Michigan was Moritz Wagner, who finished with 20 points and 11 rebounds. He was dynamite early on and went 3-for-6 from three-point range. Duncan Robinson also came up big for the Wolverines and finished with 16 points and one assist.
For Wisconsin, this was another tough loss in what has become a lost season. The Badgers fell to 11-16 overall and 4-10 in Big Ten play. Notably, this was Wisconsin’s sixth home loss of the season. That’s not something that has happened much lately.
Michigan will now try to keep things rolling with Iowa at home on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Wisconsin will host Purdue on Thursday.
-Penn State Nittany Lions 74, Illinois Fighting Illini 52
Early on, it looked like this was going to be the cap on a fantastic weekend of basketball for the Big Ten. Penn State held a 37-36 lead at halftime and there weren't any signs of things slowing down. By all counts, things appeared to be headed toward a great finish.
But that wasn’t what happened.
In the second half, Penn State took over. In the first 10 minutes, Penn State went on a 17-6 run and never looked back. Tony Carr led things for the Nittany Lions, scoring 15 points and finishing with six assists. Shep Garner also came up with 16 points.
Ultimately, Penn State grabbed a 74-52 road win over the Illini.
There isn’t much to take away from this one. Illinois continues to struggle in the second half and to keep things rolling against quality competition. Meanwhile, Penn State scored its fifth win in six games to improve to 18-9 overall and 8-6 in Big Ten play.
Penn State will now move on to a huge home game against Ohio State on Thursday while Illinois tries to get back on track against Indiana on the road on Wednesday.