While there weren’t any marquee matchups for the Big Ten on Tuesday night, there were a few with important regular season and postseason implications. Michigan State and Ohio State hosted teams in their quest for the Big Ten title and Indiana traveled to Nebraska hoping to upset the Huskers on the road.
Let’s take a look at how the games played out.
Game of the Night:
-Nebraska Cornhuskers 66, Indiana Hoosiers 57
With Nebraska’s loss on the road to Illinois on Sunday night, this game took on extra important for a Huskers team trying to make a postseason push. Nebraska couldn’t afford another misstep and needed to find a way to take down Indiana.
Early on, however, it was Indiana who had the upper hand. Freshman Justin Smith led the charge for the Hoosiers and helped Indiana grab a 26-25 lead at halftime. Smith, ultimately, finished with 16 points and eight rebounds. Juwan Morgan also added a solid presence upfront.
But the second half was a different story.
Nebraska was finally able to take control late in the second half and used an impressive run to pull away. James Palmer finished with 15 points and four rebounds and was likely Nebraska’s best player on the night. Nebraska grabbed a 66-57 home win over Indiana.
For the Huskers, this was a massive win. It doesn’t get Nebraska into the Tournament, but it does keep the team alive for an at-large bid. Nebraska is now listed as the 11th team outside the field by TRank and will hope to move up from here.
There’s still more work that’s needed from Nebraska, but one can only imagine where the team would have been a home loss to Indiana on Tuesday night.
On the other side, this was a tough loss for Indiana. The team had showed improved play over the last month and was in position to score a huge road win over Nebraska. Tuesday night’s loss also locked Indiana out of the five seed for the Big Ten Tournament.
Nebraska will now move on to face Penn State on Sunday. Meanwhile, Indiana will host Ohio State at home on Friday night.
-Michigan State Spartans 81, Illinois Fighting Illini 61
While there wasn’t much drama leading into tip-off between Michigan State and Illinois on Tuesday night, it was an important game. The Spartans were in position to clinch a share of the Big Ten title with a win and could have clinched the one seed with a win and an Ohio State loss to Rutgers. The latter didn’t happen, but the first did.
Michigan State was able to control the game and scored an 81-61 home win over the Illini. Miles Bridges led the way with 19 points, five rebounds, and three assists. The win earned the Spartans a share of the Big Ten regular season title for the first time since 2012. It also was the latest in an 11-game winning streak for the Spartans.
Moving forward, Michigan State will face Wisconsin on the road on Sunday and Illinois will return to action on Thursday at home against Purdue.
-Ohio State Buckeyes 79, Rutgers Scarlet Knights 52
The Buckeyes were another team hoping to move closer to a Big Ten regular season title and did just that. Ohio State easily moved by Rutgers and was led by CJ Jackson, who finished with 18 points and two rebounds. It was a nice rebound for the guard after a tough game against Michigan on Sunday afternoon.
Ohio State will now move on to face Indiana on the road on Friday. Meanwhile, Rutgers will close out the regular season at home on Sunday against Illinois.