The Big Ten had five teams in action, including Michigan State against a blue blood in Hawaii and an undefeated Michigan team against Iowa State. Additionally, Penn State faced off against a decent Ole Miss team.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Night:
-Michigan Wolverines 83, Iowa State Cyclones 76
Whether fair or not, many have remained in “wait and see” mode with Juwan Howard and Michigan over the last few weeks. Michigan opened the season at 4-0 and had a nice win over Creighton, but nobody was sure what we would see as the Wolverines begin facing more quality competition. That setup Wednesday’s opener in the Battle 4 Atlantis against Iowa State as a great opportunity to see Howard and his squad in action.
And if Wednesday was any indicator, Michigan is in good hands.
Iowa State jumped out to an early lead, but after the opening minutes, it was really all Michigan. If it weren’t for the team’s excessive turnovers, this one probably would have been a blowout. Isaiah Livers ended up leading the team in scoring with 17 points and guard David DeJulius also had a big night with 14 points on six field goal attempts. Michigan ended up grabbing an 83-76 win over Iowa State.
Given that Iowa State figures to be a top 40 team by season’s end, this is a nice win for Michigan. It also sets the team up for a showdown with North Carolina on Thanksgiving afternoon. The teams have faced off in each of the last two years. Michigan won last year and the Tar Heels won the year before that. It should be a fun one.
-No. 3 Michigan State Spartans 75, UCLA Bruins 62
After a somewhat hectic start to things in Maui, Spartan fans were hoping the team could take care of business on Wednesday against a fairly beatable UCLA squad. And while things were a bit closer than fans might have liked throughout, Michigan State ended up pulling away and grabbing a 13-point win. As a result, Michigan State improved to 5-2 overall.
Michigan State will now return home and prepare for a showdown with Duke next Tuesday in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge. It figures to be the biggest game nationally of the week.
-Nebraska Cornhuskers 74, South Florida Bulls 67
It’s been a crazy start for Nebraska this season. And that continued into the Cayman Islands Classic. Nebraska opened with a win over Washington State on Monday, but followed it up with a loss to George Mason on Tuesday. Fans were hoping the team could respond on Wednesday against South Florida. Ultimately, Nebraska did just that, scoring a 74-67 win to improve to 4-3 overall on the season. Haanif Cheatham finished with 26 points.
Nebraska will now return home and prepare for a road trip to face Georgia Tech next Wednesday. That figures to be Nebraska’s toughest game of the young season to date.
-Pittsburgh Panthers 72, Northwestern Wildcats 59
The Wildcats had won two in a row heading into Wednesday’s matchup against Pitt, but couldn’t keep the momentum going. All told, Northwestern ended up falling 72-59 in Florida to the Panthers. The only player that had a good offensive night for the Wildcats was Pat Spencer, who finished with 18 points and three assists.
Northwestern will now return home and prepare for a road trip to face Boston College next Tuesday. This projects as one of the team’s more winnable games left on the schedule.
-Mississippi Rebels 74, Penn State Nittany Lions 72
Over the last few weeks, Penn State has arguably been as hot as anyone in the Big Ten not named Ohio State. The Nittany Lions jumped out to a 5-0 start this season that included two wins over top 100 opponents. Unfortunately, that momentum came to a screeching halt last night as Penn State fell to Ole Miss in New York by a 74-72 margin.
Now, Ole Miss isn’t a bad team, so it’s hardly time to panic for Nittany Lion fans. However, it does put more pressure on the Nittany Lions to respond in the team’s game on Friday against Syracuse. A win there and this one will be widely forgotten.