The Big Ten had a loaded slate on Tuesday night, featuring four matchups against marquee opponents. The most hyped was the annual Champions Classic, which featured Michigan State matching up against Duke.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Night:
-No. 9 Duke Blue Devils 74, No. 18 Michigan State Spartans 65
The Spartans had one of the program’s worst opening weeks in recent memory, as Michigan State lost at home to James Madison and showed major hiccups against Southern Indiana on Thursday. Fans hoped the team could use that as motivation and surprise against Duke on Tuesday.
Unfortunately, those hopes didn’t come to fruition. Michigan State started the game well, but faded by halftime. The team had moments in the second half, but Duke always seemed able to respond when the Spartans would make up ground. Tyson Walker led the way for Michigan State in the loss with 22 points. Neither team looked great offensively, though Duke finished with 1.09 points per possession.
Michigan State fell to 1-2 with the loss. From a positive perspective, the team looked the best it has all season on Tuesday, even though it came up short. Duke certainly projects as a quality opponent this season and playing the Blue Devils to the closing minutes has to count for something. Of course, on the other side of things, moral victories typically don’t mean much down the line and the Spartans continue to underwhelm offensively, especially from deep as the team went 6-for-19 on the season. Michigan State is presently shooting a horrid 16 percent total from three-point range.
The Spartans will now return home and prepare for an intriguing matchup with Butler on Friday. KenPom favors Michigan State. It should be a good opportunity to grab a valuable win.
-No. 4 Marquette Golden Eagles 71, No. 23 Illinois Fighting Illini 64
Illinois got its first real test of the season on Tuesday night. The team hosted a top five opponent in Marquette and fans were interested to see if Illinois could take a step forward from last season, where the team struggled against elite competition. Unfortunately, that wouldn’t be the case as Illinois fell at home by a 71-64 margin. Illinois’ offense particularly underwhelmed, finishing with 0.93 points per possession. Terrence Shannon led the team in the effort with 21 points and two assists.
Following the loss, Illinois fell to 2-1 on the season. The team will hope to rebound with a flawed Valparaiso squad at home on Friday.
-No. 8 Creighton Bluejays 92, Iowa Hawkeyes 84
The Hawkeyes were another team that got their first test on Tuesday night and fell short. Iowa largely looked as the program has in recent years, with impressive offensive production and putrid defensive lapses. Iowa finished with 1.12 points per possession, but allowed an even larger 1.23 points per possession. Ben Krikke led the way for Iowa with 24 points and five rebounds.
Iowa fell to 2-1 with the loss. The team will hope to get back on track against Arkansas State at home on Friday.
-Northwestern Wildcats 63, Western Michigan Broncos 59
The Wildcats got the win here, but the game was closer than expected, as an underwhelming Western Michigan squad pushed Northwestern to the edge. Fortunately for Wildcat fans, Northwestern got the job done thanks to 41 combined points from Boo Buie and Brooks Barnhizer. The team improved to 3-0 on the season and will now prepare for a trip out east to face Rhode Island on Saturday on a neutral court.
-Penn State Nittany Lions 83, St. Francis (PA) Red Flash 53
There isn’t much to take away from this one. Penn State faced a horrible St. Francis team at home and cruised to a 30-point win. Kanye Clary had another good showing with 14 points and three assists. Penn State now sits at 3-0 overall and will prepare for Morehead State at home on Friday. Expect another lopsided game.
-Providence Friars 72, Wisconsin Badgers 59
The Badgers had a tough loss on Friday night at home against Tennessee and were hoping to rebound against Providence on the road on Tuesday. Unfortunately, that wouldn’t happen as Wisconsin fell well shot of getting the job done in this one. In fact, the final score was misleading about how lopsided the game was on Tuesday night. Four of Wisconsin’s starters finished with offensive ratings below 85, which is absolutely horrible.
Wisconsin fell to 1-2 with the loss. Badger fans will hope the team can get back on track against Robert Morris at home on Friday.