The Big Ten had four games on a loaded final day of regular season action. Maryland and Michigan State both had opportunities to win Big Ten titles, while teams like Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, and Ohio State hoped to help their postseason efforts.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Night:
-No. 9 Maryland Terrapins 83, No. 25 Michigan Wolverines 70
For large segments of Sunday’s game between Maryland and Michigan, the two teams looked evenly matched and traded blows with one another. However, the Wolverines got down a few buckets early and never could get over the hump in the team’s comeback efforts. Eric Ayala was fantastic and pushed Maryland to the win and its first ever Big Ten regular season title. It was a great day for Terp fans.
In a lot of ways, Sunday’s win got a monkey off Maryland’s back. The program has generally been really successful with head coach Mark Turgeon. However, it’s never been quite capable of getting over the hump and winning its biggest games. Sunday was a huge game and Maryland got the job done. The Terps will now enter the Big Ten Tournament as the three seed and will face Indiana, Nebraska, or Penn State on Friday evening.
For Michigan, this will be a tough loss to stomach. The team played well enough to win for extended periods of time, but just couldn’t get enough stops. Michigan will now enter the Big Ten Tournament as a nine seed and will open up things against Rutgers on Thursday. The Wolverines have lost three of the team’s last four games. Should Michigan beat Rutgers in its Big Ten Tournament opener, it will face Wisconsin on Friday.
-No. 23 Illinois Fighting Illini 78, No. 18 Iowa Hawkeyes 76
Well, it’s safe to say these teams don’t like each other. In one of the more nasty games of Big Ten play this season, Illinois was able to come back after an early deficit and grabbed a 78-76 win over Iowa.
The win pushed the Illini to 21-10 overall and into the fourth seed for this week’s Big Ten Tournament. Meanwhile, Iowa will enter as the fifth seed and will face the winner of Wednesday’s matchup between Minnesota and Northwestern. If Iowa gets past there, it would rematch against Illinois on Friday.
-No. 16 Michigan State Spartans 80, No. 19 Ohio State Buckeyes 69
This was another game that easily could have been selected for Game of the Night. Both of these teams entered this matchup playing extremely well, and Michigan State had a Big Ten regular season title hanging in the balance. All told, Michigan State got just enough from Cassius Winston to grab the win and a share of the conference crown.
For Michigan State, the win pushed the Spartans to 22-9 overall and 14-6 in Big Ten play. The team will now prepare for the Big Ten Tournament as the two seed, looking to repeat on last year’s Big Ten Tournament title. Michigan State will open up against the winner of the Ohio State and Purdue game on Friday evening.
On the other side, Ohio State dropped to 21-10 overall and will now enter the Big Ten Tournament as the seven seed. The Buckeyes will face Purdue on Thursday to open things up. Ohio State beat Purdue in the only regular season meeting between the two.
This game was competitive for the first 10 minutes or so, but was out of hand after that. Minnesota pulled away for a dominating victory and improved to 14-16 overall with the win. Both teams will now prepare for the Big Ten Tournament after disappointing seasons. The Gophers will face Northwestern on Wednesday and Nebraska will face Indiana on the same date. Each will need to win five games in five days to make the NCAA Tournament.