The Big Ten two games on Wednesday night and both had NCAA Tournament implications. Indiana went on the road to face Rutgers and Minnesota hosted Illinois. Both were relatively competitive games throughout.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Day:
Heading into this game, these teams were in very different positions. Rutgers had built some momentum after winning back-to-back games and Indiana was in the midst of a complete tailspin. And with pressure building on the Hoosiers to figure things out, Wednesday’s game would come with some massive ramifications.
Early on, the game was highly competitive. Indiana only had a one-point lead heading into halftime and both sides battled with one another. However, Indiana just could never connect from deep against a solid Rutgers defense and ended up coming short. Rutgers would end up pull ing off a 66-58 win at home against the Hoosiers.
For Rutgers, this is another huge win for the team. The Scarlet Knights now have four wins in Big Ten play, which is a program record. Rutgers has also won four of its last seven games, moved into the top 100 on KenPom and KenPom projects the Scarlet Knights to finish with seven (!!!) wins in Big Ten play. That would top the program’s previous high.
On the other side, Indiana was left searching for answers. The Hoosiers have now lost seven straight and desperately need to figure things out. Unfortunately, that will be quite a challenge as the team prepares for a road trip to East Lansing on Saturday. Meanwhile, Rutgers will prepare for a road trip to Ohio State on Saturday as well.
While this game didn’t look incredibly intriguing on paper, there were some real reasons to be excited about this one. Minnesota was trying to keep things rolling after beating Iowa to finish last week and the Illini were hoping to build off Saturday’s win against Maryland. It would also be an intriguing rematch of the first game in the series, where Illinois took it to the Gophers in Champaign.
Early on, it looked like Illinois might be able to pull off some magic again in this one, but that wouldn’t be the case. Ayo Dosunmu had an off game with six points and the Illini just didn’t have enough to slow down Minnesota’s offense. All told, Minnesota grabbed an 11-point win at home.
Minnesota will now prepare for Purdue on the road on Sunday and Illinois will look to rebound on Saturday at home against Nebraska.