The Big Ten had an absolutely epic lineup for Saturday. Iowa faced off against top-ranked Gonzaga, Ohio State and Wisconsin both played ranked teams, and Indiana and Purdue both participated in the annual Crossroads Classic. It was an exciting day.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Night:
-No. 1 Gonzaga Bulldogs 99, No. 3 Iowa Hawkeyes 88
While this game didn’t end well for Iowa, it was a thoroughly entertaining affair. Both teams put up productive offensive numbers and Luka Garza came up big yet again, finishing with 30 points and 10 rebounds. Unfortunately for Hawkeye fans, Gonzaga was simply too good from three (13-for-26 on the night) for Iowa to grab the win.
For Iowa, this is a disappointing loss, but nothing to get too down about. Gonzaga is a really good team and Iowa came up short on a cold shooting night. It happens. In fact, one can argue Iowa actually performed pretty well given the discrepancy from three-point range. If Iowa had shot even moderately better, it’s in position for the win.
Iowa will now get a few days off before opening Big Ten play at home on Tuesday against Purdue. The Hawkeyes should be favored in that one.
-Indiana Hoosiers 68, Butler Bulldogs 60
Although this game was competitive down the stretch, Indiana remained in control throughout and eventually grabbed a 68-60 win. Trayce Jackson-Davis led the way with 21 points, eight rebounds, five blocks, and one assist. Race Thompson also had a really nice game, finishing with 10 points and seven rebounds. Indiana improved to 5-2 overall with the win. It marked the team’s third win over a top 100 opponent already this season.
Indiana will now prepare for a challenging week with Northwestern at home on Wednesday and Illinois on the road next Saturday.
-No. 20 Ohio State Buckeyes 77, UCLA Bruins 70
This game got a bit buried with Iowa’s matchup against Gonzaga and the various football games going on, but it was an entertaining battle between two solid teams. The game swung back and forth multiple times before the Buckeyes pulled out a narrow win. Zed Key led te way with 11 points and six rebounds. However, it was the return of EJ Liddell and Seth Towns that should get fans excited. Towns only played limited minutes, but Liddell was on the floor for 19 minutes and finished with a 129 offensive rating. That’s certainly encouraging.
Ohio State now sits at 6-1 and will prepare for a marquee showdown against Rutgers at home next Wednesday.
Like the Indiana game noted above, this matchup was competitive with the Big Ten team in control throughout. Purdue remained in control of the in-game odds during the entire matchup and ended up scoring an 88-78 win, even with Trey Wertz going off for the Irish. Fortunately for Purdue, the team got big nights from Eric Hunter and Sasha Stefanovic, who finished with a combined 36 points.
Purdue now sits at 6-2 overall as it prepares for a really challenging week. The Boilermakers will get a top five Iowa team on the road on Tuesday and Maryland at home on Friday.
-No. 12 Wisconsin Badgers 85, No. 23 Louisville Cardinals 48
Yeah, so this actually happened. Wisconsin hosted a top 25 ranked Louisville team and completely annihilated the Cardinals. It was Wisconsin’s most dominant win over a top 25 in program history. And as you might expect, everybody got involved. Four players finished with double-digits and seven finished with offensive ratings over 100. It’s about as impressive of a performance as you’ll see against a competent opponent.
Obviously, one has to wonder how much Louisville’s COVID-19 related pause had to do with this result. This isn’t said to take anything away from Wisconsin, you just don’t see results like this between quality teams. It’s something fans will have to keep in mind when setting expectations moving forward.
With the win, Wisconsin now sits at 6-1 overall heading into conference play. The Badgers should get a fun week of action with Nebraska at home on Tuesday and Michigan State on the road on Christmas Day.