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12/18 Big Ten Recap: League Sweeps The Crossroads Classic

Recap all the Big Ten action from Saturday.

Syndication: The Indianapolis Star Michelle Pemberton/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Big Ten had a loaded slate on Saturday, featuring five Big Ten teams in action. The day was highlighted by marquee matchups for Indiana, Iowa, and Purdue.

Let’s take a look at what happened.

Game of the Night:

-Indiana Hoosiers 64, Notre Dame Fighting Irish 56

After losing to Wisconsin earlier this month, Indiana entered Saturday still search for its first marquee win of the year. The Hoosiers had shown tremendous progress so far this year, but still needed to add a top-tier win to its resume. While the win over St. John’s in November was solid, the Red Storm very well might not make the postseason. As such, Indiana needed to show it could close against a tough opponent.

And depending on your view of Notre Dame, Saturday presented that opportunity. The Fighting Irish entered the game with an underwhelming 4-4 overall record, but all four losses came away from home and three came against really solid opponents, including Illinois in late November. Notre Dame was also coming off a huge upset over Kentucky last week.

The game itself would prove competitive. Notre Dame jumped out to an early lead, but Indiana battle back. Trayce Jackson-Davis led the way with 17 points, 12 rebounds, and two assists. Parker Stewart also had a big night with 12 points. All told, Indiana was able to score a 64-56 win over Notre Dame.

With the win, Indiana improved to 9-2 overall and got its first win against a top 60 KenPom opponent so far this season. The Hoosiers will now coast into next year with Northern Kentucky and UNC Asheville in the coming weeks. Expect some lopsided results and an 11-2 record entering the restart of conference play. Saturday’s win should go a long way toward boosting the team’s spirits heading into that challenge.

The Rest:

-Illinois Fighting Illini 106, St. Francis (PA) Red Flash 48

This game wasn’t expected to be close and lived up to that billing. Illinois won by nearly 60 points and unloaded the bench for extended periods. Kofi Cockburn led the way with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Illinois improved to 8-3 overall with the win and will now prepare for Missouri on Wednesday. That figures to be an intriguing after Illinois blew the rivalry contest between the two last year.

-Iowa Hawkeyes 94, Utah State Aggies 75

After three straight losses, Iowa entered this game desperately search for a bounce back win. And the Hawkeyes got the victory, thanks to 35 points from Keegan Murray and 17 points from Kris Murray. It was the team’s second win over a top 60 opponent this season and should be a valuable win come Selection Sunday. Iowa will now get a few days off before Southeastern Louisiana at home on Tuesday.

-Michigan Wolverines 87, Southern Utah Thunderbirds 50

Like Iowa’s game, this was also a crucial game for the Wolverines. Michigan was coming off a tough loss to Minnesota and needed to beat a not terrible Southern Utah team at home on Saturday. Fortunately for Wolverine fans, the team not only won, but did it in dominant fashion, beating the Thunderbirds by 37 points. Hunter Dickinson led the way with 22 points. Michigan will return to play on Tuesday at home against Purdue Fort Wayne.

-DePaul Blue Demons at Northwestern Wildcats

This game was cancelled due to COVID-19 related issues. It is unlikely we will see this one rescheduled this season.

-Penn State Nittany Lions at VCU Rams

This game was cancelled due to COVID-19 related issues. It is unlikely we will see this one rescheduled this season.

-No. 3 Purdue Boilermakers 77, Butler Bulldogs 48

Talk about a beat down. Butler fans were hoping this one would be competitive heading into tip, but Purdue proved to be too much. While Butler had shown promise in recent weeks, it had no answer for Jaden Ivey, who finished with 22 points. Purdue’s defense was also stifling, holding Butler to just 48 points on 0.83 points per possession. It was one of the more dominant wins you’ll see against a quality program like Butler.

Purdue improved to 10-1 overall with the win. The team will return to action on Monday at home against Incarnate Word. Don’t expect a great game in that one.

-Rider Broncs at Rutgers Scarlet Knights

This game was postponed due to COVID-19 related issues. It is unclear if/when the game will be rescheduled.