The Big Ten had two games on New Year’s Eve and both came with plenty of intrigue. Ranked Minnesota and Wisconsin teams met in the early game and an undefeated Michigan team went on the road to face a Maryland squad playing really good basketball.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Night:
-No. 16 Michigan Wolverines 84, Maryland Terrapins 73
As noted above, there were plenty of reasons to be excited about this one. Michigan entered the game at 7-0 overall and was set to endure its first real road test of the season. Meanwhile, Maryland was coming off a huge road win over Wisconsin earlier in the week and was hoping to add another big win to its resume.
Early on, the game lived up to the hype. Both teams delivered impressive offensive production. Hunter Dickinson dominated for the Wolverines down low and Maryland relied on some impressive perimeter shooting. However, Maryland’s shooting cooled off in the second half and the Terps never had an answer for Dickinson down low. All told, Michigan ended up grabbing an 84-73 road win.
The win pushed Michigan to 8-0 overall and 3-0 in Big Ten play. This marked the team’s fourth win over a top 100 opponent so far this season and arguably its most impressive win of the season to date. The Wolverines will now get a few days off before hosting a ranked Northwestern team on Sunday.
For Maryland, this is a tough one. The Terps are now 6-4 overall and 1-3 in Big Ten play with the loss and things don’t figure to get easier from here. Maryland’s next three games are against top 25 KenPom teams and two come away from home. If the team doesn’t come away with at least a win or two in those three, making the NCAAs could start looking like a pretty lofty goal. That stretch will start on Monday on the road against Indiana.
-No. 6 Wisconsin Badgers 71, No. 21 Minnesota Golden Gophers 59
There’s not much to say about this one. It looked pretty evenly matched going in, but Wisconsin ran away with things early in the second half. The biggest story was how well the Badgers defended Marcus Carr. The star for the Gophers finished with just 10 points on 13 field goal attempts and a 93 offensive rating. It’s his lowest scoring output of the season.
With the win, Wisconsin improved to 9-2 overall and 3-1 in Big Ten play. The Badgers also bumped up to fourth nationally on KenPom and now figure to be in great shape for the Big Ten standings moving forward. Wisconsin will return to action on Sunday on the road against Penn State. Meanwhile, Minnesota dropped to 9-2 overall and 2-2 in Big Ten play with the loss. The Gophers will hope to rebound on Sunday at home against Ohio State.