The Big Ten had a loaded slate on Saturday afternoon and evening. Purdue went on the road to face Nebraska, Maryland hosted Ohio State, Wisconsin traveled to Northwestern, and Illinois and Penn State will faced off.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Day:
-No. 15 Purdue Boilermakers 75, Nebraska Cornhuskers 72
Coming into this game, both teams had quite a bit on the line in Saturday’s matchup. Purdue needed to keep pace in the Big Ten title race and Nebraska desperately needed a marquee win to improve its fading NCAA at-large hopes.
And generally speaking, Saturday’s game lived up to that billing. Nebraska had some success early, but Purdue was able to keep things close throughout. And in the second half, Purdue took advantage. Nebraska got in striking distance several times in the second half, but wasn’t able to close things out. All told, Purdue grabbed a 75-72 win.
For Purdue, this was a massive win. This was one of the toughest games remaining on the slate for the Boilermakers and to come out with a win is pretty significant. Purdue is now in the driver’s seat in the Big Ten title race moving forward. The team will get back into action on Wednesday at home against Illinois.
On the other side, Nebraska fell to 15-13 with the loss with a brutal final three games of the regular season. At this point, it’s hard to see the Huskers having a realistic shot at the NCAA Tournament. Nebraska will try to rebound on Thursday on the road against Michigan.
While this game didn’t have much national appeal, it put two hot teams against one another in a key game for Big Ten Tournament seeding. All told, Penn State was able to keep its recent success rolling and grabbed a solid road win against Illinois.
The win pushed Penn State to 11-16 overall and to 4-12 in Big Ten play. The Nittany Lions will now prepare for Maryland at home on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Illinois fell to 10-17 overall and 6-10 in Big Ten play. The Illini have Purdue on the road on Wednesday for the team’s next game.
-No. 24 Maryland Terrapins 72, Ohio State Buckeyes 62
This was a quietly important game that snuck under the radar on a loaded Saturday in college basketball. The Terps were trying to build off the team’s recent road win over Iowa and the Buckeyes were trying to grab a key win to improve its NCAA hopes. All told, Maryland grabbed a solid victory at home over Ohio State.
For Maryland, the win pushed the team to 21-7 overall and 12-5 in Big Ten play. The Terps have also now won four of the team’s last five games with the only loss coming on the road against a top 10 Michigan team. Maryland will get back into action on Wednesday on the road against Penn State. With Michigan and Minnesota at home after that to close out the regular season, Wednesday’s game against the Nittany Lions becomes really interesting.
Ohio State still remains in decent position for the NCAA Tournament, despite Saturday’s loss. The team is still 17-10 overall and has a handful of marquee wins. However, Ohio State is running out of opportunities to get wins like this before the Big Ten Tournament. As such, every mistake gets amplified. The Buckeyes will hope to bounce back on Tuesday at home against a ranked Iowa team.
-No. 22 Wisconsin Badgers 69, Northwestern Wildcats 64
Perhaps no team has had a tougher performance in Big Ten play than Northwestern and that continued on Saturday night as Wisconsin went on the road and picked up a road win over the Wildcats. The win pushed the Badgers to 19-8 before a road trip to Indiana next Tuesday. Meanwhile, Northwestern will hope to get back on track against Minnesota at home on Thursday.