The Big Ten had two important games on Friday night that featured teams battling for positioning in the Big Ten and NCAA race. Indiana traveled to face Maryland and Wisconsin hosted Purdue. Both games will have significant implications for the league.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Day:
-Maryland Terrapins 78, No. 22 Indiana Hoosiers 75
If you want a case in how quickly things change in basketball, look no further than this game. On January 1st, Indiana was clearly in better position than Maryland. The Hoosiers were 11-2 overall and had a handful of quality wins. Meanwhile, the Terps were a soft 10-3 with the vast majority of the team’s wins coming against mediocre competition.
Undoubtedly, Maryland fans were starting to worry about the Terps and the direction of the program. All while Hoosier fans were celebrating the “return” of the program under Archie Miller and where things could be heading for the postseason.
But fast forward a few weeks and things look remarkably different.
Maryland scored a huge win over Nebraska to start the year and followed that up with a quality road win over Minnesota. Meanwhile, Indiana was blown out on the road against Michigan entering the team’s matchup against the Terps.
And the Terps once again looked impressive on Friday night. Bruno Fernando finished with 25 points and 13 rebounds and Anthony Cowan had 24 points of his own. Romeo Langford and Juwan Morgan once again came up big for Indiana, but didn’t have enough to beat the Terps on the road. Maryland grabbed a 78-75 win at home as a result.
This is obviously a huge win for Maryland. The team now sits at 14-3 overall and 5-1 in Big Ten play. But perhaps more importantly, Maryland now has some marquee wins on its resume. The Terps now have six wins against top 100 KenPom teams so far this season and two against top 30 teams. The team is also up to 21st nationally on KenPom. Maryland will now prepare for Wisconsin at home on Monday.
On the other side, Hoosier fans have to be disappointed. The team got out to a fast start, but didn’t have enough to hold off Maryland. This is Indiana’s second loss in a row and drops the team to 12-4 overall and 2-3 in league play. The Hoosiers will hope to rebound against Nebraska at home on Monday.
-Purdue Boilermakers 84, Wisconsin Badgers 80 (OT)
This easily could have been selected for Game of the Day, but it was just a notch behind the matchup between Indiana and Maryland described above. This was a really exciting game that went back and forth in the final minutes with Purdue finally pulling it out in overtime thanks to 36 points from Carsen Edwards.
Although the Boilermakers have been top 20 on KenPom all season, the team has struggled to put games away. Four of Purdue’s six losses have come by 10 points or less, including a few that came on the final possessions of games. It’s been a frustrating pattern for fans and left many wondering whether the Boilermakers would be in the right spot come March.
But Purdue figured it out on Friday night. The Boilermakers won a close game and added another marquee win to the team’s resume. It was a huge swing game that could very well be the difference in whether the team makes the NCAAs at season’s end. Purdue will now prepare for Rutgers at home on Tuesday.
For Wisconsin, this is another frustrating loss at home. The Badgers are now 11-5 overall and 3-2 in Big Ten play. Wisconsin has lost three of its last four games. Fans will hope that the team can rebound against Maryland on the road on Monday.