The Big Ten had eight games on Friday night and the league ended up finishing with a 7-1 record in those outings. Unfortunately, the loss came in the Big Ten’s highest profile game against Gonzaga. Still, it was a pretty solid night.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Night:
This was easily the coolest game of the night and will likely hold that mark for the entire season. The game was played aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln in honor of Veteran’s Day with both teams wearing military-themed uniforms. It was an incredible environment and something everyone had to enjoy.
The game itself wasn’t bad, either.
Despite most picking Gonzaga in the game (myself included), Michigan State came out of the games swinging. The Spartans grabbed an early lead thanks in large part to some great play from Mady Sisssoko down low. It was a huge question of whether he would be able to hold up against Drew Timme and he held his own, finishing with 14 points and nine rebounds.
Unfortunately for the Spartans, that early momentum faded as the night continued. Gonzaga dug deep in the second half and gradually took control, erasing Michigan State’s double-digit lead. Timme also proved to be too much, getting 22 points himself. All told, Michigan State fell by a 64-63 margin in a really competitive game with some late mishaps factoring into the outcome for the Spartans.
Despite the loss, Spartans fans have to be satisfied with this performance. Michigan State showed plenty of fight and looked like a top 25 team in this one. We’ll see if Tom Izzo and staff can build off that on Tuesday in the Champions Classic against Kentucky.
-No. 23 Illinois Fighting Illini 86, Kansas City Roos 48
This was an absolute destruction and Illinois deserves credit for how one-sided it became, particularly in the second half as the team unloaded its bench. Dain Dainja had a great performance in the win, finishing with 20 points and 15 rebounds. The win pushed Illinois to 2-0 on the season. The team will now prepare for a matchup against Monmouth at home on Monday night.
-Iowa Hawkeyes 112, North Carolina A&T Aggies 71
Like the game directly above, this one was completely one-sided. Iowa cruised to an easy win in this one thanks to an insane 1.38 points per possession performance for the team. Kris Murray led the way with 22 points, helping Iowa to improve to 2-0 on the young season. The Hawkeyes will now get a few days off to prepare for Seton Hall on the road next Wednesday.
-No. 22 Michigan Wolverines 88, Eastern Michigan Eagles 83
This was easily one of the more competitive games of the night for the Big Ten, as Eastern Michigan pushed Michigan deep into the second half before the Wolverines could pull away for the win. Hunter Dickinson led the way with 31 points and seven rebounds. The win pushed Michigan to 2-0 overall. The team will get Pittsburgh in New York next on Wednesday.
Many are going to wonder what this result means for the Wolverines moving forward. Obviously, playing tight with an in-state directional school doesn’t usually suggest success. However, it’s genuinely hard to tell here, thanks in large part to Eastern itself. The Eagles welcomed former elite prospect Emoni Bates as a transfer this offseason and he was absolutely incredible in the loss, finishing with 30 points and a 123 offensive rating. If he continues to play at that level, Eastern could end up being pretty good. We’ll have to wait and see how that plays out.
-Minnesota Golden Gophers 72, St. Francis Brooklyn Terriers 54
This one went better than Minnesota’s opener, as the Gophers cruised to an 18-point win over the Terriers. It pushed the team to 2-0 on the season. Perhaps the biggest story of the game was freshmen Pharrel Payne and Joshua Ola-Joseph, who combined for 24 points in the outing. Fans will hope they continue to expand their games moving forward. Minnesota will return to action on Monday night at home against DePaul.
-Northwestern Wildcats 63, Northern Illinois Huskies 46
The Wildcats were able to grab a convincing win against another in-state foe on Friday night in this one, as Robbie Beran led the way with 15 points and five rebounds. Northwestern’s defense also performed well, holding Northern Illinois to 0.72 points per possession. The Wildcats will return to action on Tuesday on the road against Georgetown.
-Purdue Boilermakers 63, Austin Peay Governors 44
While this ended up being a 19-point win and Purdue controlled throughout, this one seemed a bit closer than fans might have liked. Austin Peay stayed pesky for quite some time before the Boilers were able to pull away in the second half. Fortunately for Boiler fans, Zach Edey was basically unstoppable, finishing with 30 points and 11 rebounds. Nobody else on Purdue’s team finished with double-digits.
Despite the sloppiness, Purdue still improved to 2-0 on the season and will prepare for Marquette at home on Tuesday night. A win there would be a nice resume boost.
-Wisconsin Badgers 60, Stanford Cardinal 50
This was easily the second-highest profile game for the Big Ten on Friday night and the Badgers performed well in it, grabbing a 10-point win over what’s perceived to be a pretty good Stanford team. Tyler Wahl led the way with 17 points and five rebounds. Freshman Connor Essegian also had a decent performance off the bench with eight points.
The win pushed the Badgers to 2-0 on the season and gives the team the league’s best win to date. Fans will hope that momentum carries into next week. Wisconsin will get a tune up game against Green Bay at home on Tuesday before the trip to the Bahamas around Thanksgiving.