The Big Ten had three games on Tuesday night and all had significant postseason implications. Wisconsin hosted Purdue in the night’s biggest showdown, Michigan State traveled to face arch-rival Michigan, and Ohio State hosted Nebraska.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Night:
-No. 10 Wisconsin Badgers 70, No. 8 Purdue Boilermakers 67
This one didn’t take much building up before tip. You not only had two top 10 teams facing off in an incredible environment, but a win for Wisconsin meant locking up a Big Ten title and a win for Purdue kept its conference title hopes alive. It’s about all you could ask for in a game as we turned the calendar to March.
Fortunately for fans, the game lived up to the hype. It was an absolute battle from tip with neither team really ever taking complete control. Anytime one side would get a run, the other would respond in turn. But in the final seconds, Wisconsin got the play of the game, pushing the Badgers to victory:
It was an incredible shot from Chucky Hepburn and gave Wisconsin the 70-67 win and locked up a share of this year’s Big Ten title. It’s the program’s 20th conference crown and puts Wisconsin in position to get its first outright title since 2015 if it can close out the regular season with a win against Nebraska on Sunday. The fans followed by doing this:
Obviously, it was a massive night for the Badgers. The team not only scored a huge win, but won a Big Ten title, and put itself in position for a one seed, if things go well in the Big Ten Tournament. You really can’t ask for much more from a college basketball game.
On the other side, Purdue fell to 24-6 overall and 13-6 in Big Ten play with the loss. It was a disappointing night for Boilermaker fans and felt like just the latest missed opportunity this season. It’s wild to think about what could have been for Purdue this season, as the team lost nearly all of its conference games to buzzer beaters on the road. Fans will hope Purdue can rebound with a win over Indiana at home on Saturday.
-Michigan Wolverines 87, Michigan State Spartans 70
When these teams met in late January, it was a one-sided affair. Michigan State blew Michigan off its home court and scored an easy 83-67 win over the Wolverines. The rematch was expected to go differently, but few expected this result. Michigan flipped the script on Michigan State, blowing the Spartans off its own court. Michigan State’s defense was shredded all night and Hunter Dickinson finished with 33 points and nine rebounds.
For Michigan, the win pushed the team to 16-12 overall, 10-8 in Big Ten play, and on the verge of locking up an NCAA bid. While nobody can be certain what it’ll take to get the Wolverines on the right side of the bubble for Selection Sunday, most believe one more win should be enough. And with two regular season games remaining and a Big Ten Tournament game, it seems like Michigan has a decent chance to get there. That push will continue on Thursday at home against a red hot Iowa squad.
On the other side, Michigan State fell to 19-10 overall and 10-8 in Big Ten play with the loss. The Spartans remain on a slide, having lost six of the team’s last eight games over the last month. Fans will hope Michigan State can regain some momentum later this week against Ohio State on the road on Thursday.
-Nebraska Cornhuskers 78, No. 23 Ohio State Buckeyes 70
The most shocking result of the night took place in Columbus. Despite entering as a significant favorite, Ohio State fell flat against the Huskers. The Buckeyes played well early, but didn’t have an answer for Bryce McGowens or CJ Wilcher. While EJ Liddell did his best to salvage the situation, it was too little too late and Nebraska grabbed a 78-70 win.
The win pushed Nebraska to 9-12 overall and 3-16 in Big Ten play. It was the team’s second conference win in a row after winning just one of its previous 17 outings. On the other side, Ohio State fell to 18-9 overall and 11-7 in Big Ten play with the loss. It was the team’s second embarrassing effort in as many chances, as Ohio State also fell to Maryland on Sunday. Buckeye fans will hope the team can get things turned around before the Tourney.
Nebraska will now prepare for Wisconsin on the road on Sunday while Ohio State will get Michigan State at home on Thursday.