The Big Ten had a full day of action on Thanksgiving Eve, highlighted by a top five meeting between Purdue and Marquette. Three other Big Ten teams faced top 100 KenPom opponents as well.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Night:
-No. 2 Purdue Boilermakers 78, No. 4 Marquette Golden Eagles 75
For the third day in a row, Purdue faced off against an elite opponent in Maui. And for the third time in a row, the Boilers delivered a massive win. This time, it came against a Marquette team that had just upset top ranked Kansas a day earlier. It was a seismic win that will almost certainly catapult Purdue to No. 1 in Monday’s polls.
The game itself was a bit of a tale of two halves. Purdue dominated most of the first half and jumped out to an early lead. However, the Eagles came out firing in the second half and things stayed competitive from there. Fortunately for the Boilers, Marquette had no answer for Zach Edey, who finished with 28 points and 15 rebounds. Braden Smith also had another encouraging showing with 18 points, five assists, and five rebounds.
Purdue improved to 6-0 with the win. The team now easily possesses the most impressive resume of anyone in the country, with three top 15 wins and another quality win over Xavier earlier this month. And while there’s still a long way to go, this week’s performance will put the Boilermakers in great shape for another one seed in March. The team will now get a few days off to return home before it returns to action on the 28th at home against Texas Southern.
-Memphis Tigers 71, Michigan Wolverines 67
The Wolverines were hoping to bounce back against Memphis in Atlantis on Wednesday, but came up short. It was the team’s second straight loss and dropped Michigan to 3-2 on the season. Perhaps the lone encouraging aspect of the game was Michigan’s second half effort, which erased a 16-point Memphis lead and turned it into a game in the closing minutes. Unfortunately for Michigan, the team simply couldn’t finish the deal.
Michigan will return to action almost immediately on Thursday against Stanford in Atlantis. KenPom favors the Wolverines, but expect a tough one. The Wolverines desperately need to work out some of the team’s rotations over the coming weeks and this is a good opportunity to get that process started.
-Nebraska Cornhuskers 89, Duquesne Dukes 79
The Huskers entered this one at 5-0 and coming off a blowout win over Oregon State over the weekend. Fans were hoping the team could score another valuable win over a feisty Duquesne squad. Fortunately for Husker fans, Nebraska found a way to get the job done as the team came away with an 89-79 win. Juwan Gary led the way off the bench with 20 points in just 22 minutes of game time.
Nebraska now sits at 6-0 with the win. The Huskers will return to action on Sunday at home against Cal State Fullerton.
-Wisconsin Badgers 69, SMU Mustangs 61
Nobody quite knew what to expect out of the Badgers in this one. The team was coming off a massive win over Virginia on Monday night and this seemed like it could be a spot for a letdown. However, Wisconsin delivered yet again and scored an eight-point win over the Mustangs in the closing minutes. The team’s offense was particularly impressive, finishing with 1.13 points per possession. Tyler Wahl led the way with 14 points and six rebounds.
Wisconsin improved to 4-2 with the win. The team will now get a few days off before returning home to face Western Illinois on Monday.