The Big Ten had three games on Tuesday and they all looked decent on paper. Wisconsin faced off against Nebraska, Maryland hosted La Salle, and Iowa faced a hot Purdue team. All three games ended up with double-digit margins.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Night:
-No. 4 Iowa Hawkeyes 70, Purdue Boilermakers 55
This one looked really exciting heading into tip-off. Iowa was coming off its first loss of the season to Gonzaga and Purdue was red hot after winning three straight, including two against top 100 opponents in Ohio State and Notre Dame. And while Iowa would be favored, one had to wonder how the Hawkeyes would bounce back from the loss and whether the team was worthy of its preseason hype.
Fortunately for Hawkeye fans, things went well.
While Iowa’s offense only scored 1.08 points per possession, the team led throughout and Purdue couldn’t make a shot to save its life for large segments of the game. Luka Garza also had his way with Purdue’s frontcout, finishing with 22 points and nine rebounds. Joe Wieskamp also had 17 points and nine rebounds on the night. It was a solid win for Iowa, which is good news after last weekend’s setback.
With the win, Iowa improved to 7-1 overall and 1-0 in Big Ten play and will now prepare for an interesting slate ahead. The Hawkeyes have Minnesota on the road on Christmas Day and will return home to face Northwestern next Tuesday and then travel to face Rutgers on the road on January 2nd.
On the other side, Purdue fell to 6-3 overall and 1-1 in Big Ten play with the loss. And while losing to a quality team like Iowa normally wouldn’t be alarming, fans should be a bit concerned moving forward. The team’s offense really underwhelmed against the Hawkeyes and the team is now just 1-3 against top 70 KenPom teams this season. And with the depth of this year’s Big Ten, that’s not an encouraging stat. Purdue will return to action on Christmas Day at home against Maryland.
-Maryland Terrapins 84, La Salle Explorers 71
After two tough outings, Maryland fans were probably relieved to have a manageable team on the docket again. And the Terps performed well with the opportunity, grabbing a 13-point win over the Explorers. Eric Ayala led the way with 23 points, five rebounds, and three assists.
Maryland now sits at 5-2 overall with the win and will prepare for a road trip to Purdue on Christmas Day. The game looks relatively even, with KenPom favoring the Boilermakers by four points right now.
-No. 9 Wisconsin Badgers 67, Nebraska Cornhuskers 53
This one looked pretty one-sided heading in, but ended up being pretty entertaining. The game was basically even at halftime and the Huskers were actually leading with 14:03 remaining in the second half. However, Wisconsin got some great play from Micah Potter down the stretch to grab a 14-point win.
With the win, Wisconsin improved to 7-1 overall and 1-0 in Big Ten play. The team has now won four straight, including three against top 80 opponents. On the other side, Nebraska fell to 4-4 overall and 0-1 in Big Ten play. The Huskers have now lost three of four and have yet to beat an opponent ranked in the top 150 on KenPom. Husker fans will hope that changes on Christmas Day when the team hosts Michigan. Wisconsin will also return to action on the same date, going on the road to face Michigan State.