The Big Ten had a decent slate on Thursday that featured two intriguing rivalry games. Michigan and Michigan State met in the early game and Iowa hosted Nebraska in the late game. The biggest storyline would be in Ann Arbor, as Michigan looked to close out its first Big Ten regular season title in seven years with a win.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Night:
-No. 2 Michigan Wolverines 69, Michigan State Spartans 50
For much of the last decade, Michigan-Michigan State has been one of college basketball’s greatest rivalries. Both sides have been immensely successful on the court and it’s made these games particularly entertaining. Since January of 2011, the series has been nearly an even split, with Michigan State holding a narrow 11-10 lead over the Wolverines. And while the Spartans have underwhelmed this season, this game still didn’t lose much of its spark. After all, you can never underestimate a team in a rivalry game, especially with a Big Ten title on the line for Michigan.
Unfortunately, the game itself was pretty ugly. The officiating was a mess and the first half had some lengthy segments that were nearly unwatchable. However, Michigan eventually found its groove and started to pull away thanks to some timely jumpers from Isaiah Livers and some great post play from Hunter Dickinson. Things got away from the Spartans down the stretch, leading to a lopsided 69-60 win for the Wolverines.
For Michigan, this is clearly a victory that will be remembered for quite some time. The team got to blowout a rival at home and earn a Big Ten title in the process. It’s Juwan Howard’s first title since taking over in Ann Arbor and the program’s first since the 2013-’14 season when Nik Stauskas led the Wolverines to the banner. Michigan now sits at 19-2 overall and 14-2 in Big Ten play and have won two straight against the Spartans.
On the other side, this will certainly be a game Spartan fans want to forget. The team’s offense struggled to produce all night with nobody scoring double-digits other than Aaron Henry, who missed large segments of the game with foul trouble. We’ll see if Michigan State can bounce back on Sunday as these two teams meet again in East Lansing.
-No. 5 Iowa Hawkeyes 102, Nebraska Cornhuskers 64
This is about as thorough of a beat down as you’ll see in college basketball. Iowa entered this game as a significant favorite, but that certainly didn’t capture this. The Hawkeyes pulled away early and just kept pouring it on en route to a 102-64 win. Jordan Bohannon led the way with eight made three-pointers and 26 points.
Iowa improved to 19-7 overall and 13-6 in Big Ten play. The Hawkeyes remain red hot, having won two in a row and six of the team’s last seven games. Iowa has also now won two in a row and three of its last five games against the Huskers. Meanwhile, Nebraska fell to 7-18 overall and 3-15 in Big Ten play.
Both teams will return to action this weekend. Iowa gets Wisconsin at home on Sunday while Nebraska will go on the road to face Northwestern.