The Big Ten had three games on Tuesday night and they all ended in dramatic fashion. Maryland and Rutgers both beat ranked teams at home and Nebraska upset a rival Iowa squad that seemed like it might be starting to hit its stride.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Night:
-No. 12 Maryland Terrapins 67, No. 11 Ohio State Buckeyes 55
This was unquestionably the biggest game of the night not only for the Big Ten, but across college basketball as a whole. Two top 15 teams were set to face off in a game that would have massive implications for the Big Ten title race. All told, Maryland was able to score a comfortable win at home over a really good Ohio State team.
For Maryland, this is an absolutely massive win. The Terps had some nice wins so far this season, but nothing like this. Yes, while beating Marquette and Notre Dame was nice in non-conference play, neither of those teams was nationally elite. Ohio State is top five on KenPom and projected by many to be in the Final Four hunt. Beating them by double-digits at home should turn heads nationally. This was a statement win.
On the other side, this will be a tough one for Buckeye fans to stomach. Losing on the road to a team like Maryland isn’t a reason to be ashamed, but Ohio State has now lost three in a row and four of its last six games. The offense has struggled and the team’s perimeter shooting has regressed considerably. And given how the team faded in the last two seasons, one has to wonder whether these struggles are a sign of things to come. Obviously, fans are hoping this is just a blip.
Moving forward, Maryland will get Iowa on the road on Friday and Ohio State will travel to face Indiana on the road on Saturday. Both should be interesting matchups.
-Nebraska Cornhuskers 76, Iowa Hawkeyes 70
Ever since Big Ten play restarted earlier this month, I’ve continually said that the Huskers are the most dangerous team in the conference. Not because Nebraska is particularly good, but because the team has a weak resume and, yet, is still dangerous at home. It’s one of those classic resume bombs waiting out there. And Iowa bite the bullet on Tuesday night.
For Iowa, this is a really tough loss to stomach. Not only because it came against a rival, but also because the Hawkeyes were favored to bounce back after losing to Penn State. On the other side, this win should give Husker fans something to celebrate in what figures to be a lost season. Iowa hopes to get back on track on Friday at home against Maryland. Meanwhile, Nebraska returns to action on Saturday on the road against Northwestern.
-Rutgers Scarlet Knights 72, No. 20 Penn State Nittany Lions 61
Ok, it’s time to say it. After a slow start to the season and a few tough losses, Rutgers is rolling right now. The Scarlet Knights won five in a row heading into Tuesday’s matchup against Penn State and has now won six in a row and is 12-3 overall. This was a monumental win for Rutgers and one that will seriously put this team in NCAA Tournament consideration. For Penn State, it was a tough loss in an otherwise great season so far.
What’s really interesting about this matchup is how it could feed into the schedule ahead. Rutgers follows this up with three really winnable games. The Scarlet Knights get Illinois on the road on Saturday and home games against Indiana and Minnesota thereafter. Meanwhile, Penn State faces a red hot Wisconsin at home on Saturday and follows that up with Minnesota on the road, Ohio State at home, and Michigan on the road. It’s not hard to see these teams going in entirely different directions after this game given the schedule. It’s going to be fascinating to watch moving forward.