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2/20 Big Ten Recap: Illinois Impresses

Recap all the Big Ten action from Saturday.

NCAA Basketball: Illinois at Minnesota David Berding-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten had three interesting games on Saturday. Indiana and Michigan State matched up in the first game, Illinois traveled to face Minnesota later on, and Nebraska hosted Purdue in the late game.

Let’s take a look at what happened.

Game of the Night:

-Michigan State Spartans 78, Indiana Hoosiers 71

For the first 30 minutes, things went as expected. Indiana jumped out to an early lead, controlled the team, and seemed to be headed toward a solid win over a struggling Michigan State squad. However, things then went off the rails for the Hoosiers, as the team made a litany of errors and allowed the Spartans to grab a surprising win. Trayce Jackson-Davis was incredible with 34 points, but it wasn’t enough.

The win is an important one for Michigan State. It’s still hard to see the Spartans making the NCAAs as an at-large, but this at least keeps things alive. And with a handful of marquee opponents left on the schedule, Michigan State has a chance to build its resume even further.

On the other side, this is an absolutely devastating blow for the Hoosiers. It’s one thing to lose to a tough opponent or away from home, but it’s another to lose to an overmatched opponent when you lead comfortably well into the second half. This was a completely blown opportunity and it could really hurt the team’s position on Selection Sunday.

Michigan State will hope to keep things going on Tuesday at home against Illinois. Meanwhile, Indiana will hope to bounce back against Rutgers on the road on Wednesday.

The Rest:

-No. 5 Illinois Fighting Illini 94, Minnesota Golden Gophers 63

This was about as good of a win as you’ll see between quality Big Ten teams. Illinois went on the road and absolutely beat down the Gophers in emphatic fashion. Four Illinois players scored double-digits, while Minnesota limped to 0.85 points per possession. It was the team’s seventh straight win.

Illinois will now get a few days off before going on the road to face Michigan State on Tuesday. Minnesota will hope to snap its three-game skid against Northwestern at home on Thursday.

-Purdue Boilermakers 75, Nebraska Cornhuskers 58

This one went as expected, with Purdue cruising to a 17-point win over Nebraska. Sasha Stefanovic had a notable performance for the Boilermakers with 14 points. The win pushed Purdue to 15-8 overall and 10-6 in Big Ten play. Nebraska fell to 5-15 overall and 1-12 in Big Ten play. Purdue will now prepare for a game against Penn State at home on Friday while Nebraska gets Penn State at home on Tuesday.