The Big Ten had two games on Saturday and both featured ranked teams in action. Maryland and Indiana faced off in the early game and Iowa and Penn State faced off in the later matchup. Both had some significant implications moving forward.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Night:
-No. 21 Penn State Nittany Lions 89, No. 23 Iowa Hawkeyes 86
This was a great game. Not only because it matched up two ranked teams, but also because it was competitive throughout. The teams exchanged the lead, it was close in the final minutes, and Penn State pulled it out in dramatic fashion. This is one of those games were one team wins on the scoreboard, but it felt like both teams played their hearts out.
With the win, Penn State improved to 12-2 overall and 2-1 in league play. Whatever your preseason expectations, Penn State is now a legitimate NCAA team and probably deserves some Big Ten title consideration as well. The Nittany Lions already have 12 wins and and seven came against top 100 opponents. That’s a great resume and the team has a chance to improve it on Tuesday on the road against Rutgers.
For Iowa, it was a heartbreaking loss, but there’s nothing to panic about. The team is still 10-4 and has a winnable game on the road against Nebraska on Tuesday. A win there and the Hawkeyes should be right back on track.
-No. 15 Maryland Terrapins 75, Indiana Hoosiers 59
The Terps were certainly favored coming into this one, but I don’t think anybody expected Maryland to beat down Indiana like this. While the Hoosiers were decent out of the gate, the team faded significantly in the first half. Indiana was never in a position to win in the second half and Maryland grabbed a 75-59 win. Jalen Smith led the way with 19 points.
Maryland’s win on Saturday pushed it to 12-2 overall and 2-1 in league play. The Terps are now setup for a massive showdown against Ohio State at home next week. A win there and Maryland will be an unquestioned player for the Big Ten title.
On the other side, Indiana fell to 11-3 overall with this loss and 1-2 in league play. There are really two ways to take this loss. On the one hand, it was a loss on the road against a top 15 team. That’s generally not something to get worried about. However, it was also the team’s second loss in a row and lowered the team’s record against top 40 KenPom teams to 1-3 on the season. The Hoosiers will hope to rebound on Wednesday at home against Northwestern.