The Big Ten had three games on Saturday and two of them ended in exciting fashion. An undefeated Michigan team went on the road to face Wisconsin, Purdue hosted arch-rival Indiana, and Penn State went on the road to face Minnesota.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Day:
-Wisconsin Badgers 64, No. 2 Michigan Wolverines 54
This game probably didn’t turn many heads in the offseason, but as Michigan went on its tear in November, this one started being circled by many as an obstacle sitting ahead of the Wolverines. And naturally, as Michigan reached 17-0 and No. 2 in the AP Poll, this looked like the major challenge sitting ahead of the team.
Early on, Michigan was in control despite getting very little from Ignas Brazdeikis and Charles Matthews. The Wolverines used their vaunted defense to keep Wisconsin under control and slow down Ethan Happ. However, as the game continued, Wisconsin got some big plays from Happ and Nate Reuvers and took control. A controversial intentional foul call in the final minutes finished things off to give Wisconsin a 64-54 win over Michigan.
For Wisconsin, this is obviously a huge win. The Badgers were in free fall over the last few weeks and the team now has a massive win on its resume. There’s still a long way to go, but it’s not hard to look at Saturday’s game as a difference maker when Wisconsin rolls into Selection Sunday. That win alone could be worth a seed line. The Badgers will face Illinois on the road on Wednesday next.
On the other side, Michigan fell for the first time this season. Some of the issues that fans had seen in recent weeks finally cost the team a game. The Wolverines have to improve on offense and find someone else to go to when Brazdeikis and Matthews are struggling. Michigan will hope to rebound at home against Minnesota on Tuesday.
-Purdue Boilermakers 70, No. 25 Indiana Hoosiers 55
This game may have been hyped as a major rivalry showdown, but there really wasn’t much excitement in the closing minutes. Purdue was the better team all day and walked to an easy win over its arch-rival at home. The Boilermakers have now won four straight and seven of the last eight against the Hoosiers.
Purdue will hope to keep things rolling on the road against Ohio State on Wednesday and Indiana will try to get back on track against Northwestern on the road on Tuesday.
-Minnesota Golden Gophers 65, Penn State Nittany Lions 64
This game was a little under the radar thanks to a loaded college basketball Saturday, but ended up being an entertaining game nonetheless. While Penn State led things early, Minnesota gradually took control over the second half thanks to a big evening from Jordan Murphy. The Gophers ended up grabbing a narrow 65-64 win over the Nittany Lions.
Minnesota improves to 14-4 and 4-3 in Big Ten play with this win and will now prepare for a road trip to Michigan on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Penn State falls to 7-12 overall and 0-8 in Big Ten play. Penn State fans will hope that the team can get its first Big Ten win on Saturday at home against Rutgers.