The Big Ten had three intriguing games on Tuesday night and both ended up resolving in dramatic fashion. Ohio State was able to beat Michigan on the road in the final seconds, Penn State went on the road and beat the Spartans, and Maryland topped Rutgers.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Night:
-No. 22 Penn State Nittany Lions 75, No. 16 Michigan State Spartans 70
We can’t talk about Tuesday night without starting here. Given how these two teams had played in recent weeks, I think most thought this was a possible outcome. Michigan State has been pretty inconsistent and Penn State has seemed to find itself after a rough few weeks. As such, we know the Nittany Lions had the potential to top the Spartans.
Still, it was shocking to see.
Penn State took control in the first half and never really relented. Michigan State had a few runs in the second half, but could never quite get over the top. It was just Penn State’s night and Spartan fans had to stomach a tough loss.
It probably doesn’t need to be said, but this is an enormous win for Penn State. While we’ve seen the Nittany Lions pull off some upsets in years past, we haven’t seen anything like this. Penn State went into this game, competed hard, and came out on top. And while the result was genuinely shocking, not to the same degree in years past. This wasn’t a “one off” event. Penn State has built itself into a genuine Big Ten contender.
For Michigan State, this is going to be a tough one to swallow. Penn State is a good team, but the Spartans should have been able to find a way to win at home. Fans will hope the team can get things figured out before it goes on the road to face arch-rival Michigan on Saturday afternoon. Meanwhile, Penn State will hope to keep the magic going on Saturday at home against Minnesota.
-No. 9 Maryland Terrapins 56, Rutgers Scarlet Knights 51
While Rutgers was able to keep things close throughout, the game ended up going down as most expected, with Maryland holding serve at home. The Scarlet Knights acquitted themselves well and showed their potential. Unfortunately for Rutgers fans, the team just didn’t have quite enough to actually score the upset on the road. Maryland will now prepare to go on the road and face Illinois on Saturday while Rutgers will hope to rebound on Sunday at home against Northwestern.
In a lot of ways, this game felt like a throwback to old school Big Ten basketball. It was an ugly and physical game for long segments on Tuesday before going down to the final seconds. Zavier Simpson was able to tie the game in the final seconds, but a controversial foul call put Ohio State on the line and allowed the Buckeyes to escape with a 61-58 win.
For Ohio State, this continues the team’s recent resurgence. The Buckeyes were pretty rough in late December and January, but have now quietly won three in a row and will get another winnable game on the road against Wisconsin on Sunday.
On the other side, Michigan fans have to frustrated with how the last two months have unfolded for the Wolverines. Michigan is now just 13-9 overall with seven of the team’s nine losses coming by single digits and all nine losses coming against teams rated 32nd or higher on KenPom. It’s a big reason why the Wolverines are 307th nationally in KenPom’s luck metric. It’s just been one of those years. Michigan will hope to bounce back on Saturday at home against rival Michigan State.