The Big Ten had three solid games on Super Bowl Sunday. Maryland traveled to face Purdue, Illinois hosted Northwestern, and Iowa and Nebraska tangled.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Night:
-No. 3 Purdue Boilermakers 62, Maryland Terrapins 61
Heading into tip, this one didn’t look all that exciting. Purdue was ranked third nationally and had looked virtually unbeatable at home. Meanwhile, Maryland was coming off a putrid effort against Iowa where it seemed like the Terps might be throwing the towel in on the season.
Instead, we got a pretty good game.
The Terps not only kept things close, but actually controlled a decent hunk of the second half. Fatts Russell went crazy with 24 points, nine rebounds, and six assists and Donta Scott had 11 points as well. Purdue’s offense remained a mess, struggling to 0.93 points per possession. Fortunately for Boilermaker fans, the team found a way to sneak out a win.
For Purdue, this is one of those games that’s all about perspective. The Boilermakers didn’t impressive in the game, but how much does that matter at this point in the season? While blowouts are nice, winning is really all that matters right now. It’s about surviving and advancing and Purdue did just that. The Boilermakers will now prepare for Northwestern on the road on Wednesday.
On the other side, Maryland fell to 11-14 overall and 3-11 in Big Ten play with the loss. It was a tough one that easily could have ended the other way. Still, fans have to be encouraged to see the Terps come out fighting. Maryland will now prepare for a winnable game against Nebraska on the road on Friday.
-No. 13 Illinois Fighting Illini 73, Northwestern Wildcats 66
This was another game that ended up considerably closer than expected. Illinois seemed primed for an easy win at home, but had to struggle to escape with the victory. Freshman RJ Melendez led the way for Illinois with 14 points and six rebounds off the bench.
Illinois will now prepare for Rutgers on the road on Wednesday. Northwestern will return home and hope to get an upset against Purdue later next week.
-Iowa Hawkeyes 98, Nebraska Cornhuskers 75
This one largely went as expected, with Iowa cruising to a 23-point win over Nebraska at home. The game was never really competitive and Keegan Murray led the way with 37 points and six rebounds. Iowa will now prepare for Michigan at home on Thursday while Nebraska will hope to steal a win against Maryland at home on Friday.