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Big Ten Weekend Recap: Purdue Rises

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The Boilermakers are sitting above both Michigan and Michigan State heading into the final week.

NCAA Basketball: Ohio State at Purdue Sandra Dukes-USA TODAY Sports

Game of the Weekend

Indiana Hoosiers 63, #6 Michigan State Spartans 62

The Spartans had a chance to win at Indiana but ended up not scoring the last 4:14 of regulation, allowing Indiana to go on a 7-0 run to close. It was a rough stretch, including a Cassius Winston turnover that allowed Indiana to burn almost a minute of clock before giving Michigan State one last chance for a win. Unfortunately for Sparty, Winston couldn’t hit a jumper in the closing seconds.

Statistically Michigan State shot the ball well, making 54.2% of their field goals and 40% from three. The problem was that they had 13 less shots and 8 less free throws than Indiana, mainly because of Indiana’s 15 offensive rebounds and State’s 14 turnovers.

The loss came at the worst time for Michigan State as they now sit a game behind Purdue and a half game behind Michigan. Assuming Michigan State takes care of business against Nebraska, they’ll have the chance to take care of Michigan at home on senior night. That being said, they would still need Purdue to drop one of their next two games to earn a share of the title or Purdue to lose both to win it outright.

As for Indiana, they’ve picked up two big wins against ranked programs and have a realistic shot of finishing 17-14 heading into the Big Ten Tournament. It’s probably to late to reenter the bubble picture, but the Hoosiers could prove to be a dangerous team in the conference tournament if they can keep things up.

The Rest

#14 Purdue Boilermakers 86, Ohio State Buckeyes 51

Purdue absolutely wrecked Ohio State on senior day. The game was so lopsided that Ohio State couldn’t even surpass Purdue’s first half total until the final minute of regulation. Almost five minutes into the second half and the score was 60-24. Yikes.

Purdue shot 55.9% from the field, 52.4% from three, out rebounded Ohio State 39-27, committed only eight turnovers and held Ohio State to 33.3% from the field and 2 of 19 from three. Outside of shooting 56.3% from the line, Purdue had a near perfect day. While Kaleb Wesson sat out the game due to his suspension, it should be noted Wesson only played 16 minutes and scored 6 points when the teams played in Columbus back in January.

The biggest takeaway from the game is that Purdue is now the frontrunner for the conference title, sitting ahead of both Michigan and Michigan State. Purdue will head out on the road this week to play at Minnesota and Northwestern. Things could get interesting for Ohio State as the Purdue loss was not the way they wanted to follow up their win over Iowa. Ohio State is 2-4 over their last six and could be missing Wesson for their next two games, but they’re still on the right side of the bubble. That means they’ll need to not slip up on the road this week against Northwestern, which would be a dreadful loss. Especially if they were to lose to the Wildcats, not knock off Wisconsin and then get bounced early in the Big Ten Tournament.

#9 Michigan Wolverines 69, #17 Maryland Terrapins 62

It was close throughout, but Michigan ended up taking care of business on the road against Maryland. One of the biggest reasons for their win at Maryland was their ability to limit mistakes, committing only four turnovers the entire day. Ignas Brazdeikis led the Wolverines in scoring with 21 points, while Jon Teske added 11 points and 10 rebounds.

The win puts Michigan within a half game of Purdue with only Michigan State remaining. If the Wolverines can knock off the Spartans they can earn a share of the conference title if Purdue loses one of their next two, or win the league outright if Purdue drops their next two games.

As for Maryland, they’ll host Minnesota on Friday to close the season. Sitting at 12-7 they are fighting for the last double bye with a 12-6 Wisconsin team.

#19 Wisconsin Badgers 61, Penn State Nittany Lions 57

Wisconsin avoided a dreadful upset and kept themselves in the top four of the conference this weekend with a four point win over Penn State. It wasn’t pretty, but they did just enough to hold on in the closing seconds against Penn State, outscoring the Nittany Lions by 11 in the second half. Brevin Pritzl was huge for Wisconsin with 17 points on 5 of 5 shooting, including making all four three pointers.

The Badgers haven’t looked their best lately, losing to Indiana and barely edging Illinois and Northwestern. But with one week remaining they’re a half game ahead of Maryland for the final double bye. It won’t be an easy week with Iowa and Ohio State coming up, but Wisconsin can save face pretty easily this week if they can pick up a pair of wins.

As for Penn State, the loss ends a three game winning streak that included a throttling of Maryland. Penn State’s schedule softens considerably this week, with Rutgers and Illinois up next.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights 86, #22 Iowa Hawkeyes 72

It was a rough week for the Hawkeyes, getting blown out by Ohio State, having their head coach suspended and then dropping senior day to Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights had a big day from Ron Harper Jr., who led the Scarlet Knights with 27 points. Iowa struggled from the field, shooting 35.7% and 27.6% from three, while only hitting 66.7% of their 36 free throws.

Things won’t get any easier this week for Iowa either, with the team set to travel to Wisconsin without Fran McCaffery.

Rutgers will host Penn State on Wednesday before trying to play spoiler at Indiana next Sunday. Sitting at 7-11, this will be the first year that Rutgers won’t finish last in the Big Ten.

Illinois Fighting Illini 81, Northwestern Wildcats 76

It was another rough night for the Wildcats as they dropped their tenth game in a row after losing to Illinois. The Wildcats haven’t won since knocking off Indiana in January and remain last in the conference by two games. After a four game winning streak for Illinois, including wins over Michigan State and Ohio State, the Illini had dropped three straight before winning at home today against the Wildcats.

After the Illini took a 12 point lead into the half, Northwestern cut the deficit to three before Illinois opened things back up. Northwestern made another run, but whenever they made it close the Illini always managed to answer. Even in the closing seconds the Illini did enough from the line to keep Northwestern from tying the game in the closing seconds.

It was a big night for Andres Feliz, who scored a career high 26 points for the Illini. The Illini out shot the Wildcats and hit 86.8% of their 38 free throws.

The win tonight keeps Illinois above Rutgers for the ninth seed in the Big Ten Tournament and a game behind Ohio State and Minnesota with two games remaining. The Illini will host Indiana on Thursday before heading to Penn State on Sunday. As for Northwestern, the loss means the Wildcats will finish last in the conference, with their best case scenario being a tie for last. The Wildcats close this week with home games against Ohio State and Purdue.

Current Big Ten Tournament Bracket

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

#12 Penn State Nittany Lions vs #13 Nebraska Cornhuskers
#11 Indiana Hoosiers vs #14 Northwestern Wildcats

Thursday, March 14, 2019

#8 Minnesota Golden Gophers vs #9 Illinois Fighting Illini
#5 Maryland Terrapins vs #12/13 Winner
#7 Ohio State Buckeyes vs #10 Rutgers Scarlet Knights
#6 Iowa Hawkeyes vs #11/14 Winner

Friday, March 15, 2019

#1 Purdue Boilermakers vs #8/9 Winner
#2 Michigan Wolverines vs #7/10 Winner
#3 Michigan State Spartans vs #6/11/14 Winner
#4 Wisconsin Badgers vs #5/12/13 Winner