The Big Ten had three games on Sunday. And while two of them were decided by double-digits, Northwestern and Purdue went down to the wire with the Wildcats pulling off one of the biggest upsets of the season.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Night:
-Northwestern Wildcats 64, No. 1 Purdue Boilermakers 58
While every measurable statistic favored Purdue in this one, the circumstances projected a game that looked really tight. Northwestern was rolling and coming off a great road win over Ohio State while Purdue had shown some recent flaws. With what was expected to be a fantastic crowd in Evanston, fans had to wonder whether an upset was on the docket.
All told, that’s exactly what happened.
While Purdue controlled the early minutes, the Boilermakers were never able to do enough to get any separation from the Wildcats. Both teams stayed close through the first half and much of it was thanks to a wonderful defensive effort for Northwestern. The Boilermakers were eventually held to just 0.89 points per possession, a horrible number for one of the nation’s best offenses.
The second half remained competitive early on, but Northwestern went off in the closing minutes with Boo Buie leading the way. The senior guard went on to finish with 26 points, four rebounds, and three assists. Northwestern finally put it away in the closing minutes and helped the program earn a monster victory.
For Northwestern, it’s hard to understate the significance of this win. It’s not only the program’s first ever win over a No. 1 ranked team, but it also likely puts the Wildcats on the right side of the bubble to make the program’s second ever NCAA Tournament. Those are incredible accomplishments and both come in a single game. Fans have to be thrilled about where things are heading right now. Northwestern will now prepare for another upset opportunity with Indiana at home on Wednesday.
On the other side, Purdue fell to 23-3 overall and 12-3 in Big Ten play with the loss. It’s the team’s second loss in three games after winning nine straight through January and early February. The good news is Purdue still remains in great position for its regular season and postseason goals, even with the loss. Fans will hope the Boilermakers can rebound with Maryland on the road on Thursday.
-Iowa Hawkeyes 68, Minnesota Golden Gophers 56
The Hawkeyes were favored heading into this one and played the part, grabbing a 12-point win on the road against the Gophers. Kris Murray led the way with 28 points, 14 rebounds, and two assists. Filip Rebraca also had 16 points.
Iowa improved to 16-9 overall and 8-6 in Big Ten play with the win while Minnesota fell to 7-16 overall and 1-12 in Big Ten play with the loss. The Hawkeyes will now prepare for Ohio State at home on Thursday. Minnesota was supposed to play Michigan State on Wednesday before the game was cancelled. The Gophers are presently scheduled to return to action against Penn State at home on Saturday.
-Michigan State Spartans 62, Ohio State Buckeyes 41
This has been one of the better matchups in the league over the last decade, but it didn’t fit the bill this year thanks to Ohio State’s recent struggles. And unfortunately for Buckeye fans, things didn’t improve on Sunday as Michigan State scored a dominant 21-point win over Ohio State to improve to 16-9 overall and 8-6 in Big Ten play. The Buckeyes fell to 11-14 overall and 3-11 in Big Ten play with the loss. Ohio State is a woeful 1-11 over its last 12 games.
Michigan State was scheduled to play Minnesota on Wednesday, but the game was cancelled after the tragedy in East Lansing. As such, the Spartans are presently set to return to action against arch-rival Michigan on the road on Saturday. Ohio State will hope to bounce back on the road against Iowa on Thursday.