The Big Ten had a pretty loaded slate of games on Tuesday, highlighted by a road trip for a ranked Illinois squad. Fans also got to enjoy a rivalry game between Michigan and Michigan State and a meeting between Indiana and Iowa.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Night:
-No. 14 Illinois Fighting Illini 87, Ohio State Buckeyes 75
This looked like a potential stumbling block for Illinois heading into tip. Illinois was coming off a hard fought win over Indiana and Ohio State was in desperation mode. Add in home court for the Buckeyes and it felt like this could be a potential upset.
However, Illinois had other thoughts. The teams battled early on, but Illinois took control by half and never looked back. While the Buckeyes would chop it down to 10 or so in the second half, the result was never really in doubt. Marcus Domask led the way with 23 points, three rebounds, and two assists. Terrence Shannon also had 23 points.
Illinois improved to 16-5 overall and 7-3 in Big Ten play with the win. More importantly, it kept pace with Purdue and Wisconsin in the conference title race. Illinois still needs help from the Boilermakers or Badgers to have a shot, but each win keeps the team alive for at least a few more days. That should be the main goal right now — survive and advance. Illinois will return to action on Sunday at home against Nebraska.
On the other side, Ohio State fell to 13-8 overall and 3-7 in Big Ten play with the loss. This was the latest in what has become a horrific run for the Buckeyes. The team has now lost three straight and is a putrid 1-6 over its last seven games. While Tuesday’s game was at home, Ohio State also hasn’t won a true road game since January 1, 2023 — nearly 13 months ago. The Buckeyes will try and snap both streaks on Friday on the road against Iowa.
-Indiana Hoosiers 74, Iowa Hawkeyes 68
Both these teams entered Tuesday on the periphery of bubble watch. Neither team had a great resume, but they had enough that a hot finish could make things interesting. It made Tuesday’s meeting an important one as each tried to stay in contention. The game itself was competitive, with Kel’el Ware leading the Hoosiers to the home win. Ware finished with 23 points, 10 rebounds, and two assists. Anthony Leal also had 13 points off the bench.
Indiana improved to 13-8 overall and 5-5 in Big Ten play with the win while Iowa fell to 12-9 overall and 4-6 in Big Ten play with the loss. The Hoosiers will hope to build off this one with Penn State at home on Saturday. The Hawkeyes will get Ohio State at home on Friday.
-Michigan State Spartans 81, Michigan Wolverines 62
A few years ago, this was a “can’t miss” matchup in the Big Ten and one of the nation’s best rivalries. Unfortunately, that’s not the game fans got on Tuesday, as both sides entered with underwhelming records. Michigan State was in better shape, but well behind where the program hoped to be when the season began.
The game ended up pretty interesting in the first half, as Michigan came out firing and actually led at halftime. However, Michigan’s defense completely imploded as the evening continued and the Spartans finished with 1.33 points per possession. Jaden Akins led the way with 23 points, three rebounds, and three assists. AJ Hoggard also finished with 15 points and seven assists.
Michigan State improved to 13-8 overall and 5-5 in Big Ten play with the win while Michigan fell to 7-14 overall and 2-8 in Big Ten play with the loss. The Spartans will now prepare for Maryland at home on Saturday. Michigan will hope to bounce back against Rutgers at home on Saturday.