The Big Ten had two games on Monday night and they both ended up with surprising results. Maryland faced off against Wisconsin in the early game and Michigan State went on the road to face Minnesota in the second game.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Night:
-Maryland Terrapins 70, No. 6 Wisconsin Badgers 64
Heading into Monday night, this looked like as predictable a Big Ten matchup as we’ve seen in a bit. Wisconsin was trending up after scoring a huge win over Michigan State on Friday while Maryland was struggling, having lost three of its last four games. The Terps had enough to compete, but it just didn’t seem like that would happen.
But this is a year unlike any other.
Instead of falling on the road, Maryland game out of the gates firing and stayed in it through the second half. And with a great opening to the second half, the Terps took control and were able to grab a huge upset win over Wisconsin. Eric Ayala led the way with 17 points, four rebounds, and two assists.
Obviously, this is a huge win for Maryland. After a lackluster start to Big Ten play, going on the road and beating a top 10 team is going to go a long way. The Terps now sit at 6-3 overall and 1-2 in league play. And while things will remain difficult moving forward, this win should give Maryland’s young players a lot of confidence moving forward. That’s a huge development in a season like this where the Terps don’t get to play in front of a home crowd and have an absolutely brutal Big Ten slate.
On the other side, this is going to be a tough loss for Wisconsin to stomach. Maryland isn’t a bad team, so this isn’t the type of loss that should send fans panicking, but blowing a game like this at home is never good news. This was a chance for the Badgers to really take over the Big Ten title race and the team couldn’t get the job done.
Both of these teams will be back in action on Thursday. Maryland will host Michigan and Wisconsin will host arch-rival Minnesota. Both games should be entertaining.
-No. 21 Minnesota Golden Gophers 81, No. 17 Michigan State Spartans 56
If you had told me Minnesota would beat Michigan State before tip-off on Monday, I wouldn’t have been surprised. The Gophers had been playing really good basketball in recent days, were coming off a win against a top five Iowa team, and were well within the top 50 on KenPom and playing at home. All of those are encouraging signs.
But not like this.
Michigan State didn’t just lose to Minnesota on Monday night. The Spartans were utterly destroyed. Minnesota jumped out to an early lead and things only got worse from there. Ultimately, Michigan State lost by a lopsided 81-56 margin. The team’s defense underwhelmed yet again and the offense was probably even worse, finishing with a subpar 0.76 points per possession.
It’s hard to pinpoint one specific thing that’s derailing Michigan State at this point. The team is now 6-3 overall, 0-3 in Big Ten play, and trending down significantly. The Spartans have now fallen all the way to 49th on KenPom and that ranking still includes preseason projections. If Michigan State can’t take care of business against Nebraska on Saturday, it’s probably time to hit the panic button in East Lansing.
On the other side, this is another big win for the Minnesota’s resume and its current rise up the Big Ten standings. The Gophers are now 9-1 overall, 2-1 in Big Ten play, and coming off three straight wins over top 50 opponents. Minnesota will hope to keep things rolling on Thursday on the road against Wisconsin.