The Big Ten had a plethora of game on Friday, highlighted by “sleeper” games in Ann Arbor and Bloomington. The league ended up sweeping thee day, save on game.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Night:
-McNeese State Cowboy 87, Michigan Wolverines 76
For the second time this season and the third time in the last two years, Michigan hosted a “buy game” and fell short. This was arguably the least surprising of the batch, as the Wolverines entered with modest expectations and fall on their faces. McNeese State dominated the game and deserved to win.
Michigan’s primary issue in the game (yet again) was its lackluster defense. The Wolverines gave up 1.23 points per possession and allowed McNeese State guard Shahada Wells to score 30 points in the win. Tarris Reed was also a disaster, going scoreless in 22 minutes and failing to even get to the free throw lane once. It was a rough one.
The Wolverines fell to 6-7 overall with the loss. The team has now lost two straight and five of its last seven games. At this point, any postseason bid is probably dead. Michigan was already in rough shape heading into Friday, but this was the proverbial nail in the coffin. If the Wolverines end up even getting close to an NIT bid, it would be shocking.
-No. 11 Illinois Fighting Illini 104, Fairleigh Dickinson Knights 71
Illinois had plenty of drama off the court this week, with star guard Terrence Shannon’s criminal charges and suspension. Everyone was interested in seeing whether that would carry over to Friday’s game and how the team would react without Shannon in the lineup.
Fortunately for Illinois fans, the suspension didn’t matter in this one. Illinois easily dominated the Knights and scored a lopsided win. Dain Dainja led the way with 19 points and six rebounds. Six Illinois players scored in double-digits. Illinois improved to 10-2 overall with the win. The team will now host Northwestern at home on January 2nd.
-Indiana Hoosiers 100, Kennesaw State Owls 87
This one was a bit uncomfortable for Hoosier fans, as Kennesaw State used a good finish to the first half to keep things close against a shorthanded Indiana squad. Fortunately for Indiana, the team got 34 points from Malik Reneau and just enough production elsewhere to escape with a win and improve to 10-3 overall. The team will now prepare for Nebraska on the road on Wednesday. Expect it to be a challenging outing.
-Iowa Hawkeyes 103, Northern Illinois Huskies 74
Ben Krikke led the way for the Hawkeyes on Friday night as the team grabbed an easy 103-74 win over Northern Illinois. The big man finished with 20 points, seven rebounds, and three assists. Payton Sandfort also had 16 points and seven rebounds. Iowa improved to 8-5 with the win. The team will now prepare for rival Wisconsin on the road on Tuesday.
-Minnesota Golden Gophers 80, Maine Black Bears 62
The Gophers didn’t necessarily dominate this one, but did enough to grab a double-digit win in a potential letdown game. Elijah Hawkins led the way with 12 points, 10 assists, and two rebounds. Mike Mitchell also had 18 points. Minnesota improved to 10-3 overall with the win. The team will now prepare for a road trip to Ann Arbor to face a reeling Michigan team on Thursday.
-Nebraska Cornhuskers 91, South Carolina State Bulldogs 62
The Huskers scored a comfortable win in this one, thanks to 18 points and two rebounds from CJ Wilcher. Brice Williams also had 16 points and seven rebounds. Nebraska improved to 11-2 overall with the win. The Huskers will now prepare for a pivotal home game against Indiana on Wednesday. Nebraska is a solid favorite in the matchup.
-Northwestern Wildcats 74, Jackson State Tigers 63
This was a potential letdown spot for the Wildcats as well, as it was sandwiched between a game against Arizona State and a road trip to Illinois next week. Fortunately, Ty Berry did enough to ensure Northwestern grabbed a win, as he finished with 20 points, six rebounds, and two assists. Ryan Langborg also had 17 points. Northwestern improved to 10-2 overall with the win. The team will return to action on Tuesday on the road against Illinois.
-Penn State Nittany Lions 90, Rider Broncs 63
The Nittany Lions cruised in this one, thanks to 29 points and three assists from Kanye Clary. Ace Baldwin also had 10 points and nine assists. Penn State improved to 7-6 overall with the win. The team will now get a few days off before heading west to face Michigan State on the road on Thursday.
-No. 1 Purdue Boilermakers 80, Eastern Kentucky Colonels 53
This one went as expected, with Purdue blowing Eastern Kentucky out in the first half and never looking back. The Boilers were led by 13 points and seven rebounds from Zach Edey. Fletcher Loyer also had 14 points. Purdue improved to 12-1 overall with the win. The team will now prepare for an intriguing trip to Maryland on January 2nd.