The Big Ten slate on Wednesday was not as appealing as others in the past, but did feature a Michigan team who needed a victory ahead of their Sunday showdown against Ohio State in Ann Arbor. They took on an Iowa team who have had a rough go at conference play thus far (3-11) and just got taken down easily by Ohio State. The second game of the Big Ten double header tonight was Illinois at Indiana, both teams well out of the NCAA tournament race and playing for seeds in the Big Ten tournament. Let’s take a look at these games and see how the teams fared.
Game of the Night:
The struggling Hawkeyes were coming off an 82-64 loss to the Ohio State Buckeyes and were looking to get back on track Wednesday against Michigan. The outcome was not in their favor, as they dropped another conference game by double digits to the Wolverines. Leading the way for Iowa was Luka Garza with 22 points on 10-16 shooting from the field. Isaiah Moss and Tyler Cook were the only other Hawkeyes in double figures with 12 and 10 respectively. One big struggle for Iowa was 3-point shooting, as they were only 2-10 (20%) and their best shooter Jordan Bohannon was just 1-3. Also, the Hawkeyes bench logged just eight points on 4-10 shooting.
For the Wolverines, Muhammed-Ali Abdur-Rahkman and Duncan Robinson both led the way scoring with 18 apiece. Also in double digits were Mo Wagner and Charles Matthews with 14 and 10. For Michigan, this was a tune up game to prepare for a big showdown Sunday at home against Ohio State. A huge bright spot in this game was Duncan Robinson who had 18 points on 6-8 shooting from behind the arc. Robinson has struggled to find his shot this year, but if he is shooting it at a high rate then Michigan will be a tough out in the Big Ten and NCAA tournament.
This was a game for seeding at MSG two weeks from now in the Big Ten Tournament and Indiana came out on top. Leading the way for Illinois was promising junior Leron Black with 20 points and Kipper Nichols provided a needed spark off the bench with 16. Illinois kept pace with the Hoosiers in the second half, but never could cut into the ten-point halftime lead and that ultimately became the final deficit. Illinois falls to 12-15 on the year and just 2-12 in Big Ten play. It has been a long year for Brad Underwood and the Fighting Illini.
For the Hoosiers, they move to 15-12 and above .500 (8-7) in Big Ten play. Juwan Morgan, Robert Johnson and Aljami Durham all had 14 and Justin Smith had 13. The Hoosiers shot an impressive 26-44 (59%) from the field and a respectable 6-14 (42%) from three. They have to improve their free throw shooting as they were just 20-29 (69%) on the day and just 65% on the year which is 12th in the Big Ten. If they want to have any success in the Big Ten tournament, they have to improve this category.
Illinois is back in action Sunday against Nebraska at 3:30 on the Big Ten Network.
Indiana takes on Iowa Saturday at 2 PM on ESPN