The Big Ten had a loaded slate on Thursday that included three ranked teams on the road. Wisconsin traveled to face Nebraska, Minnesota hosted Ohio State, and Purdue and Iowa tangled in the night’s premier matchup.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Night:
-No. 6 Purdue Boilermakers 83, Iowa Hawkeyes 73
While this game slipped a bit under the radar, it was a pretty important matchup for the league and nationally. Purdue was hoping to boost itself in the Big Ten title race and Iowa was hoping to finally secure a marquee win to push itself into the top 25 nationally.
The game itself would prove relatively one-sided. Iowa kept things competitive, but Purdue controlled this one from tip. Isaiah Thompson led the way with 18 points and the team’s offense exploded, finishing with 1.26 points per possession. It was a solid effort for Iowa, the team just didn’t have enough defense to pull off the win.
Purdue improved to 17-3 overall and 6-3 in Big Ten play with the win. That kept the Boilermakers within a game of first place in the conference standings, which isn’t a bad spot to be with many of the team’s toughest games already in the rear-view mirror. In fact, TRank actually now gives Purdue the best odds of winning the Big Ten title.
On the other side, Iowa fell to 14-6 overall and 4-5 in Big Ten play with the loss. And while there’s nothing to be ashamed of in losing to a team like Purdue, it did feel like a missed opportunity. Iowa still needs a marquee win to elevate to the next level nationally. The Hawkeyes will have to hope to get one in February.
Purdue will now prepare for a showdown with Ohio State at home on Sunday where the Boilers are actually solid favorites. Iowa will get Penn State on the road on Monday.
-No. 16 Ohio State Buckeyes 75, Minnesota Golden Gophers 64
While this was a hard fought game for the Gophers, Ohio State eventually proved to be too much for the Gophers, grabbing a key 75-64 road win over Minnesota. The win pushed the Buckeyes to 13-4 overall and 6-2 in Big Ten play. Minnesota fell to 11-6 overall and 2-6 in Big Ten play. Notably, the Gophers have now lost five of the team’s last six games. It’s a complete free fall.
Ohio State will now prepare for a road trip to Purdue on Sunday while Minnesota will hope to rebound against Wisconsin on the road on Sunday. Both should be intriguing games.
-No. 11 Wisconsin Badgers 73, Nebraska Cornhuskers 65
For the fourth straight time, Nebraska has played a vastly superior team at home and kept things close. Unfortunately, all of those games ended in losses, including Thursday’s matchup against the Badgers. Brad Davison led the way for Wisconsin, finishing with 21 points and seven rebounds in a relatively underwhelming offensive performance for the Badgers.
Wisconsin improved to 16-3 overall and 7-2 in Big Ten play with the win while Nebraska fell to 6-14 overall and 0-9 in Big Ten play with the loss. The Badgers will return to action on Sunday at home against Minnesota. Nebraska will hope to rebound against Rutgers at home on Saturday. It’s arguably Nebraska’s most winnable remaining game this season.