The Big Ten had two games on Friday night and both came with pretty significant implications for the league moving forward. Michigan State hosted Wisconsin in the early game and Michigan traveled to face Iowa in the late game.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Night:
-No. 15 Michigan State Spartans 67, Wisconsin Badgers 55
Heading into Friday night’s matchup between Michigan State and Wisconsin, things looked pretty even. The Spartans had been playing well and were at home, but were coming off a really disappointing loss to Purdue over the weekend. Meanwhile, Wisconsin was coming off two huge wins and looked poise to pull off the upset on the road.
And while things were largely competitive between the two on Friday night, Michigan State was able to grab an early lead and never looked back. Gabe Brown led the way with 13 points and four assists and Michigan State grabbed a 67-55 win.
This win pushed Michigan State to 14-4 overall and to 9-1 over the team’s last 10 games. But more importantly, the Spartans improved to 6-1 in Big Ten play. Michigan State now sits atop the conference standings, 1.5 games ahead of Illinois as of the posting of this article. Things will remaining challenging in the weeks ahead, but it’s hard to complain much about where the Spartans sit heading into late January. Michigan State will return to action next Thursday night on the road against Indiana.
On the other side, Wisconsin suffered just its second loss since December 11th. The defeat dropped the team to 11-7 overall and to 4-3 in league play. The team’s overall record still isn’t impressive, but the team’s resume looks solid. Wisconsin will get back into action on Tuesday at home against Nebraska.
-Iowa Hawkeyes 90, No. 19 Michigan Wolverines 83
The late game of the day was also an entertaining one. Iowa got up early, but Michigan came back in the second half to make things close. Unfortunately for Wolverine fans, Iowa responded to Michigan’s comeback efforts and scored a 90-83 win. Luka Garza led the way with 33 points and seven rebounds.
Iowa is on a roll right now. The Hawkeyes have now won three in a row, including two wins against ranked teams, and have gone 7-2 over the team’s last nine games. Iowa now sits at 13-5 overall and are up to 15th on KenPom. And with Rutgers at home next Wednesday, Iowa will be favored to keep things going.
For Michigan, Friday was another frustrating loss. The Wolverines showed fight, but couldn’t get the job done. After starting the season at 7-0 overall, Michigan has now lost six of the team’s last 10 games and three of its last four. Even if all of the losses came against quality opponents, a few hiccups have now become a full blown slide. We’ll see if Michigan can get things turned around next Wednesday at home against Penn State.