The Big Ten had two games on Friday and they were both decided by double-digits. Purdue hosted Nebraska in the early games and Michigan returned from a COVID-19 pause in the late game to take on Illinois on the road.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Night:
-No. 25 Illinois Fighting Illini 68, Michigan Wolverines 53
This one came with plenty of drama on and off the court. There’s little denying the two programs had ill feelings toward each other after last season and were hoping to take out those frustrations on Friday night. Add in Michigan’s recent COVID-19 issues and it was unclear until Friday whether the Wolverines would even be able to suit up.
Ultimately, Michigan was able to take the floor and the game proved pretty entertaining. Illinois controlled throughout, but a short handed Michigan (the team played without Hunter Dickinson and Brandon Johns) was able to keep things competitive for long segments, trailing by just two at halftime and by a bucket deep into the second half. However, Kofi Cockburn and Trent Frazier did enough in the closing minutes to get Illinois across the finish line.
The win pushed Illinois to 13-3 overall and 6-0 in Big Ten play and sets up a monster matchup for Illinois on Monday night at home against Purdue. It figures to be one of the biggest games of the Big Ten season to date and could end up having a big role in deciding the league title.
Meanwhile, Michigan fell to 7-7 overall and 1-3 in Big Ten play with the loss. The team actually played above expectations, but still fell short. If Michigan is going to get back on track and make a postseason push, it’s going to need to start grabbing wins, and soon. The Wolverines return to action on Tuesday at home against Maryland. It figures to be a winnable game for Michigan.
-No. 7 Purdue Boilermakers 92, Nebraska Cornhuskers 65
This game was completely one-sided as Purdue blew the doors off Nebraska at home. Zach Edey led the way with 22 points and Caleb Furst had 10 points off the bench. Purdue improved to 14-2 overall and 3-2 in Big Ten play with the win. Nebraska fell to 6-12 overall and 0-7 in Big Ten play with the loss.
Purdue will now prepare for a monster matchup against Illinois on the road on Monday. Nebraska will get Indiana at home on Monday, hoping to score its first league win of the season.