The Big Ten had four games on Saturday, including a marquee showdown between Michigan State and Notre Dame on Saturday. The conference ended up going 4-0 in those matchups, with each win coming by double-digits.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Night:
-No. 13 Michigan State Spartans 80, Notre Dame Fighting Irish 70
While this one ended in a 10-point win for Michigan State, the final score was actually closer than things were late. The game was really competitive early, but Michigan State used a few monster runs around halftime to pull ahead. The team’s defense was really impressive, holding Notre Dame to 0.92 points per possession. Rocket Watts also had a great game with 13 points and six assists.
The obvious question moving forward will be whether this was more about Michigan State’s strength or Notre Dame’s weakness. And while we’ll have to see a few more games to say for sure, it seemed to be a mix between those two fronts. The Spartans looked like a diverse group with a variety of different contributors. However, the Irish didn’t exactly look like a Final Four squad once things got going. Mike Brey’s team has regressed quite a bit from where it was a few years ago.
Moving forward, Michigan State will prepare for a huge road tilt against Duke on Tuesday. Fans should expect to learn quite a bit about the Spartans then.
-Minnesota Golden Gophers 88, Loyola Marymount Lions 73
This was a nice win for the Gophers. The team fell behind early, but came back by halftime and really never looked back. Marcus Carr led the way with 28 points, eight assists, and two rebounds. Both Gach also had a nice game with 17 points, six rebounds, and six assists. Minnesota improved to 2-0 with the win and will actually prepare for another game against Loyola next week
-Nebraska Cornhuskers 79, North Dakota State Bison 57
After a tough loss against Nevada earlier in the week, this was a nice rebound win for Nebraska. The Huskers were in control throughout and got really nice games from Teddy Allen and Trey McGowens. The team’s defense also held up well, holding North Dakota State to 0.79 points per possession. Nebraska will now prepare for a matchup against South Dakota on Tuesday at home.
-Penn State Nittany Lions 86, VMI Keydets 65
This was a pretty competitive game in the first half, but Penn State put things away early in the second half. Jamari Wheeler led the way with 18 points and six rebounds. Izaiah Brockington also had 15 points and eight rebounds. And of course, this was Jim Ferry’s first win as Penn State’s head coach.
The Nittany Lions will hope to keep things going on Wednesday at home against a VCU team ranked in the top 70 on KenPom. Expect a close battle.