The Big Ten had a busy slate on Sunday, highlighted by marquee opportunities for Illinois, Maryland, and Penn State. Fortunately for fans, the league only lost one of the matchups, building its standing significantly.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Night:
-Maryland Terrapins 88, Miami (FL) Hurricanes 70
The Terps hit the ground running this season under Kevin Willard and things got even better on Sunday, as Maryland absolutely steamrolled what most expect to be a pretty good Miami squad. It was a startlingly good performance, thanks in large part to 24 points from Donta Scott. All five of Maryland’s starters finished with double-digits.
With the win, Maryland improved to a perfect 5-0 on the season. The Miami win followed a win over Saint Louis on Saturday. It’s the first time Maryland has beaten two straight top 50 opponents since February 28, 2021. It’s been more than a season since that was accomplished and it’s certainly welcome news for Terp fans.
At this point, it’s obvious Maryland has improved on last season’s squad. The group is significantly better defensively and seems way more balanced. Now, whether it’s improved enough to achieve the program’s primary goals remains to be seen. Maryland is going to need to keep the momentum rolling and show this was more than a hot weekend.
This week, Maryland will get a quiet slate with Coppin State at home on Friday. The Terps will then return to action on the 29th on the road against Louisville. It’s a chance to add two more games to the win column.
-No. 16 Virginia Cavaliers 70, No. 19 Illinois Fighting Illini 61
Heading into the team’s Vegas trip, most fans were likely hoping to split the team’s games, particularly given the high level of competition facing Illinois. However, after Illinois cruised past UCLA on Friday night, fans were certainly getting more confident in a matchup against Virginia on Sunday.
Unfortunately for Illinois, the team wouldn’t have enough to get the job done.
While Illinois kept things close and seemed in position to win around the half, Virginia really took control late and deployed its incredible defense to get across the finish line. The Cavs held Illinois to just 0.92 points per possession and four of the team’s starters finished with offensive ratings below 100. Not exactly encouraging stats. Those struggles led to a 70-61 loss against the Cavs.
The loss dropped Illinois to 4-1 overall. However, the team’s resume remains strong. Illinois will now return home to face Lindenwood on Friday. It figures to be an easy win.
-No. 12 Indiana Hoosiers 86, Miami (OH) Red Hawks 56
This one was never all that competitive. The Hoosiers jumped to a double-digit lead in the first half and cruised to a 30-point win in the second. Trayce Jackson-Davis led the way with 17 points and 16 rebounds. Malik Reneau also had 10 points. Indiana improved to 4-0 with the win and will prepare for Little Rock at home on Wednesday.
-No. 20 Michigan Wolverines 70, Ohio Bobcats 66 (OT)
This was an ugly one for the Wolverines. Despite really favorable pregame odds and a significantly more talented roster than Ohio, the game ended up coming down to the final minutes. The Bobcats controlled much of the game and appeared to be on the verge of victory until Michigan used a frantic charge in the closing minutes and overtime to escape with the win. Hunter Dickinson led the way with 24 points and 14 rebounds.
For Michigan, it’s hard to feel good about the team is playing right now. The Wolverines are 4-1 overall, but three of the wins have come against weak competition and Michigan narrowly escaped in two of the games against MAC opponents. We’ll see if the Wolverines can things turned around as things aren’t looking great. That effort will start on Wednesday at home against Jackson State.
-Nebraska Cornhuskers 82, Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions 58
The Huskers cruised in this one, grabbing a 24-point win over the Golden Lions to improve to 3-1 overall on the season. Juwan Gary led the way with 17 points and seven rebounds. CJ Wilcher also had 15 points. Nebraska will return to action to face off against Oklahoma on Thursday in Florida. It should be a tough game for the Huskers.
-Penn State Nittany Lions 68, Colorado State Rams 56
The Nittany Lions scored the team’s third marquee win of the week, knocking off Colorado State on Sunday evening. Jalen Pickett led the way with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Freshman Kevva Njie also got the start, finishing with eight points and three rebounds himself. Penn State continues to look like one of the Big Ten’s most improved teams and should be in serious postseason discussions at this point.
Penn State will hope to build off its 5-1 record on Friday at home against Lafayette. It’s a welcome reprieve after the significant challenges over the last two weeks.