The Big Ten had an absolutely loaded slate on Saturday, featuring a showdown between Michigan and Oregon in Ann Arbor and a rivalry game for Rutgers. Other teams like Michigan State were also in action.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Night:
-Rutgers Scarlet Knights 68, No. 22 Seton Hall Pirates 48
Ever since Steve Pikiell took over at Rutgers, everything has indicated the Scarlet Knights have been on the rise. Rutgers has risen on KenPom in each season under Pikiell and many circled this season a few years back as a potential breakout campaign. However, the team has still been searching for those marquee wins to turn heads nationally.
Well, Rutgers got one of those on Saturday.
In impressive fashion, Rutgers went out and scored a 20-point win against a ranked (rival) team to score its second big win of the week. The win pushed Rutgers to 8-3 overall and gave the team its second win over a top 60 opponent in the last few days. Myles Johnson led the way with eight points and 13 rebounds.
There really isn’t a lot to say about Rutgers and its performance on Saturday other than congratulations. The Scarlet Knights and fans have been waiting for a win like this for quite some time and finally got it on Saturday. This was a long time coming. And with some manageable games on the docket moving forward, that has to be exciting. Rutgers will get some time off before its next game against Lafayette at home next Sunday.
-Illinois Fighting Illini 69, Old Dominion Monarchs 55
Some were wondering how Illinois would followup its marquee win over Michigan earlier this week. Would the Illini come out with a hangover or continue its encouraging play? Well, fans got their answer on Saturday and things looked pretty good, as Illinois cruised to a 69-55 win over Old Dominion at home.
Illinois now sits at 8-3 overall and will get a week off before facing Missouri in its annual rivalry game. A win there would really get the Illini in great position heading into the new year.
-No. 10 Oregon Ducks 71, No. 5 Michigan Wolverines 70 (OT)
After Oregon came out of the gates roaring in this one, it looked like things could get ugly for the Wolverines. However, Michigan battled back and Saturday’s matchup between these two turned into an absolute heavyweight fight for the final 10 minutes of regulation. And after Oregon missed a buzzer beater, the game went to overtime, where the Ducks got just enough to come out with a road win against Michigan.
Even though Oregon has proven to be a really solid team this season, Saturday was a disappointment for the Wolverines. If the team hadn’t started so poorly, it probably comes away with a win. Instead, Michigan has now lost three of its last four games and sits at just 8-3 overall. The Wolverines will get some time off to digest this loss before resuming play next Saturday at home against Presbyterian.
-No. 16 Michigan State Spartans 72, Oakland Grizzlies 49
After an absolutely brutal opening stretch to the season, Michigan State finally got a pretty manageable game on the slate on Saturday. The Spartans got to face an inferior in-state foe on a neutral court in Detroit and were able to cruise to a 72-49 victory. It was a total team effort, as only Gabe Brown reached double-digits during the afternoon.
Michigan State improved to 7-3 overall with the win and will now prepare for a road trip to Northwestern next Wednesday. The Spartans will be expected to win that one.
-Penn State Nittany Lions 73, Alabama Crimson Tide 71
This was another game that was an absolute slug fest in the Big Ten on Saturday. The two teams battled all afternoon and neither side was able to get separation. All told, Penn State narrowly grabbed a 73-71 win at home thanks to 18 points from Lamar Stevens.
With the win, Penn State now sits at 9-2 overall with six wins against top 100 opponents. The Nittany Lions not only look like a bonafide NCAA Tournament team right now, but the team looks like it has a serious shot at getting a decent seed and advancing as well. Penn State will now get some time off before facing Central Connecticut next Friday.