The Big Ten had two games on Sunday and both featured potential NCAA teams. Ohio State went on the road to face Indiana and Iowa hosted Northwestern. Both games ended up coming down to the closing minutes.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Day:
-Ohio State Buckeyes 55, Indiana Hoosiers 52
Heading into this week, Indiana was feeling some major pressure. The Hoosiers still had a shot at making the NCAA Tournament as an at-large team, but it needed to start winning games. And with games against Iowa and Ohio State at home in the coming week, it felt like this was a key moment for a reeling Hoosier team. Meanwhile, Ohio State came in having won three of its last four and looking to score a key road win.
During the course of the game, things were competitive throughout. Ohio State kept a narrow lead during most of the first half, but neither team ever was able to pull away too significantly. All told, things came down to the final minutes where the Buckeyes were able to just make a few more plays to grab a 55-52 win over the Hoosiers.
For Ohio State, this is a notable win for the team’s postseason chances moving forward. The Buckeyes have projected to be an NCAA team for some time, but still needed a bit more on the resume to feel good about things. But after going on the road and beating Indiana, fans have to be excited about the team’s chances moving forward. Ohio State will now prepare to face Illinois at home on Thursday.
On the other side, this is a devastating loss for the Hoosiers. The team has now lost 9 of its last 10 games and has a vicious upcoming slate. It needed to hold serve at home this week and couldn’t get things done. A path still exists, but it’s going to take some significant improvement from this team and some upsets, likely away from home. Indiana will hope to rebound in its next game on the road against Minnesota on Saturday.
-No. 20 Iowa Hawkeyes 80, Northwestern Wildcats 79
On paper, this game went according to plan. Iowa was able to take care of an inconsistent Northwestern team at home. However, it was a little bit closer than Hawkeye fans would have liked and it took some big plays in the closing minutes to come out on top. In fact, Northwestern had 98.8 percent odds to win with just over two minutes left. Nonetheless, Iowa grabbed an 80-79 win over the Wildcats.
For Iowa, this win came with an audible exhale. The win also pushed the Hawkeyes to 19-5 overall and 8-5 in Big Ten play. At this point, Iowa has probably locked up an NCAA Tournament bid, which is great news for a team that hasn’t made it since 2016. Iowa will hope to keep things rolling on Saturday on the road against Rutgers. Meanwhile, Northwestern will get back into action on Wednesday at home against Rutgers.