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12/8 Big Ten Recap: MSU Avoids An Upset

Recap all the Big Ten action from Sunday night.

NCAA Basketball: Rutgers at Michigan State Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

After a Saturday packed to the brim with Big Ten action, things were a bit quieter on Sunday with only two games taking place. Nonetheless, things got really interesting in East Lansing and Purdue scored another win at home.

Let’s take a look at what happened.

Game of the Night:

-No. 11 Michigan State Spartans 77, Rutgers Scarlet Knights 65

On paper, this one looked like a complete mismatch. A top 15 Michigan State team played host to a Rutgers squad that had just lost by double-digits to an underwhelming Pittsburgh team earlier in the week. Add in that Michigan State had lost handily to Duke earlier in the week and it seemed like the Spartans would have every reason to be motivated coming into this one.

Instead, what we got was a really hard fought game. Michigan State was in control throughout, but the Spartans really didn’t pull away until the last few minutes of the game. Fans were in East Lansing were more than a bit uncomfortable in the second half and that’s not something I expected to write about this one. All told, Michigan State grabbed a 7-65 win to improve to 6-3 on the season and to 1-0 in league play. Rutgers fell to 6-3 overall and 0-1 in Big Ten play.

This really isn’t a significant result, at least on paper, for either team. Michigan State won a game at home it was supposed to win and Rutgers lost a road game to an opponent ranked in the top five on KenPom. This was the result that was supposed to happen. However, Rutgers fans have to be encouraged by this effort. The Scarlet Knights showed a light of fight in this one and that could mean good things moving forward.

On the other side, Spartan fans have to be concerned about the team’s underwhelming play. One game is never going to tell you that much about a hoops season, but we’re almost nine games in and Michigan State hasn’t looked anything like a national championship team to date. Michigan State looks like a solid-to-good team, but there are some flaws here. We’ll see what Tom Izzo and his staff can work on in the weeks to come.

Michigan State will now prepare for a neutral game against Oakland on Saturday. Meanwhile, Rutgers will get Wisconsin at home on Wednesday. That looks like a fairly winnable game for the Scarlet Knights.

The Rest:

-Purdue Boilermakers 58, Northwestern Wildcats 44

This was another game that looked fairly uneven heading into tip-off. But unlike the matchup described above, this one lived up to expectations. Purdue was a solid favorite in this one and cruised to a relatively easy win over Northwestern on Sunday. The win pushed Purdue to 6-3 overall and 1-0 in league play. The loss dropped Northwestern to 4-4 overall and to 0-1 in Big Ten play.

Like the result above, this one probably won’t be all that noteworthy going forward. Purdue was supposed to win this game. The Boilermakers will now prepare to go on the road to face Nebraska next Sunday. Meanwhile, Northwestern will hope to bounce back next Sunday at home against SIU Edwardsville.