The Big Ten had three games on Saturday. All three featured matchups with significant postseason implications.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Night:
-Indiana Hoosiers 71, Ohio State Buckeyes 65
Entering Saturday night, these teams were in largely similar positions. Ohio State had a stronger resume, but was still looking to establish itself as one of the Big Ten’s top squads. Meanwhile, Indiana was hoping to score its biggest win of the season. Add in a Saturday night crowd in Bloomington and there was plenty to like.
The game itself largely lived up to the hype. The teams battled all night. Ohio State controlled most of the first half and early portions of the second half. However, the Buckeyes faded in the closing minutes, allowing Indiana to pull off the upset. Malik Reneau led the way with 23 points, seven rebounds, and one assists. Xavier Johnson also had 18 points.
Indiana improved to 11-4 overall and 3-1 in Big Ten play with the win. It was a massive win for the Hoosiers and should put them in significantly better bubble position heading into a key stretch of games. As long as Indiana can protect home court, it should be in decent position to make the NCAAs.
On the other side, Ohio State fell to 12-3 overall and 2-2 in Big Ten play with the loss. It was a significant let down for the squad after putting together a four-game winning streak. Playing so well in the first half only to fall flat in the closing minutes also has to add a little heartbreak to this one.
The Hoosiers will return to action on Tuesday on the road against Rutgers. Ohio State returns to action on Wednesday at home against Wisconsin. It figures to be a really tight game between the two squads.
-Iowa Hawkeyes 86, Rutgers Scarlet Knights 77
The final score here was “close”, but the game didn’t feel quite that competitive. Iowa jumped out to a double-digit lead in the opening minutes and it never felt like Rutgers was in position to win after that. Payton Sandfort led the way for the Hawkeyes with 24 points, eight rebounds, and three assists. Ben Krikke also had 19 points and 10 rebounds.
Iowa improved to 9-6 overall and 1-3 in Big Ten play with the win while Rutgers fell to 8-6 overall and 0-3 in Big Ten play with the loss. The Hawkeyes will return to action on Friday at home against rival Nebraska. Rutgers gets Indiana at home on Tuesday. In many ways, it feels like a last stand for the Scarlet Knights. Drop that one and an uphill battle to get an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament starts to look impossible.
-No. 21 Wisconsin Badgers 88, Nebraska Cornhuskers 72
This was a quietly important game for the league. Wisconsin entered hoping to keep pace with Purdue in the Big Ten standings while Nebraska hoped to add a marquee road win to its growing resume. The game itself would prove relatively one-sided, as the badgers cruised to a 16-point win. Tyler Wahl led the way with 17 points and eight rebounds.
Wisconsin improved to 11-3 overall and 3-0 in Big Ten play with the win while Nebraska fell to 12-3 overall and 2-2 in Big Ten play with the loss. The Badgers will return to action on Wednesday on the road against Ohio State. It figures to be an important game in the league standings. The Huskers will try and bounce back at home against Purdue on Tuesday. It’s a huge opportunity for Nebraska to add a marquee win.