The Big Ten had a loaded slate on Sunday to close out the regular season. The day featured three ranked teams in action. Wisconsin traveled to face Iowa in the early game, Nebraska and Northwestern battled after that, Michigan traveled to East Lansing to face Michigan State, and Maryland hosted Penn State.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Night:
-Michigan State Spartans 70, No. 2 Michigan Wolverines 64
This was the second meeting between Michigan and Michigan State this week after the two in-state rivals faced off on Thursday night in Ann Arbor. However, unlike the first game, this one wasn’t lopsided. Michigan State played really well throughout the afternoon and Aaron Henry helped pushed the Spartans to the upset victory.
For Michigan State, this was an absolutely massive win. Not only because it was a rivalry win over a top five opponent, but also because it almost certainly pushed the Spartans on the right side of the bubble and into the 2021 NCAA Tournament. The win should keep one of the nation’s longest NCAA streaks intact. The Spartans will now prepare for a game against Maryland in the Big Ten Tournament on Thursday.
On the other side, Michigan fell to 19-3 overall and 14-3 in Big Ten play with the loss. This was the team’s second loss in three games and will lead to many questions about the team’s postseason potential. But regardless of the result, Michigan will still enter the Big Ten Tournament as the one seed and will face the winner of the Maryland-Michigan State game. The biggest question will be what happens with starting guard Eli Brooks, who went down with an injury early in Sunday’s game. We’ll have to wait and see.
-No. 5 Iowa Hawkeyes 77, No. 25 Wisconsin Badgers 73
But for the massive upset noted above, this would have been the Game of the Day. The two teams battled all afternoon in this one. Wisconsin actually led the game late, but let things slip away in the closing minutes. Luka Garza led the way for Iowa, finishing with an impressive 21 points and 16 rebounds. Garza’s number was also retired after the game, marking a truly special moment for Iowa and the Hawkeye big man.
Iowa now sits at 20-7 overall with the win, while Wisconsin fell to 16-11 with the loss. The Hawkeyes will enter Indy as the three seed and the Badgers will be the six seed. Wisconsin will face the winner of the Nebraska and Penn State game on Thursday. Iowa will then face the winner of Wisconsin’s game on Friday.
Since both these teams had already locked up their Big Ten Tournament seeds before tip, there wasn’t a ton riding on the outcome. Nonetheless, it was a tight and hard fought game that came down to the wire. Northwestern ended up pulling it out thanks to 14 points from Chase Audige.
Both teams will now open up play in the Big Ten Tournament on Wednesday. Northwestern will face Minnesota and Nebraska will face off against Penn State. Interestingly, both teams recently scored wins against their respective Wednesday opponents.
This game was a bit of a surprise on Sunday night. Penn State had already beaten Maryland this season, but entered Sunday’s game as a decent underdog. The game ended up going down to the wire thanks to a late Penn State surge. The Nittany Lions ended up grabbing a 66-61 win over the Terps.
Both teams now enter the Big Ten Tournament with some NCAA Tournament possibilities. Penn State will open up play on Wednesday against Nebraska and Maryland will open up on Thursday against Michigan State.