The Big Ten had two games on Monday night, highlighted by a battle between Indiana and Ohio State in Columbus with serious postseason implications. Additionally, Maryland and Penn State met in a fun rivalry battle.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Night:
-No. 22 Ohio State Buckeyes 80, Indiana Hoosiers 69 (OT)
Heading into tip, this figured to be an important game for both sides. Indiana had lost four straight and desperately needed a win to get back on track toward its postseason goals. Likewise, Ohio State was coming off a rough home loss to Iowa and needed a win to help its pursuit of a Big Ten regular season title. It figured to be an absolute battle.
The game itself would fit the billing. It was back-and-forth throughout and was particularly wild in the closing minutes of regulation when Indiana blew a solid lead to allow the Buckeyes to push things to overtime. Once there, Ohio State cruised to an easy win. Malaki Branham led the way with 27 points, five rebounds, and three assists.
For Ohio State, this was about as gutsy of a win as you’re going to see. With just over a minute to go, KenPom gave the Buckeyes less than a 15 percent chance to escape with the win, yet the team found a way to get it done. How far that effort will carry on moving forward is unknown, but Ohio State now finds itself sitting at 17-7 overall and 10-5 in Big Ten play with just five games remaining and a legit shot at the conference title. The Buckeyes will need to do some serious work to get there, but having a shot is half the battle. The team’s next outing will be against Illinois on the road on Thursday.
On the other side, Indiana fell to 16-10 overall and 7-9 in Big Ten play with the loss. It was just the latest loss in a really rough stretch for the Hoosiers. Since beating Purdue in late January, Indiana is just 2-6 with three home losses and a road loss to an underwhelming Northwestern squad. Those struggles have degraded Indiana’s resume significantly, genuinely putting the Hoosiers on the bubble with just two weeks left of the regular season. Indiana will now have to win out to get above .500 in league play. That effort will start on Thursday at home against Maryland in a “must win” game for the Hoosiers.
This game didn’t have a ton on the line heading into tip, but ended up being a pretty fun one. The teams played a tight first half before Maryland pulled away early in the second. However, Penn State kept it close enough to put some pressure on the Terps. Fatts Russell led the way with 18 points, five rebounds, and two assists.
Maryland improved to 13-14 overall and 5-11 in Big Ten play with the win while Penn State fell to 11-13 overall and 6-10 in Big Ten play with the loss. Maryland will now prepare for a road trip against Indiana on Thursday while Penn State hopes to rebound at home against Northwestern on Friday.