The Big Ten had two games on Sunday and both had NCAA Tournament implications. Penn State went on the road to face Northwestern in the early game and Iowa hosted Minnesota later on.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Night:
-Northwestern Wildcats 68, Penn State Nittany Lions 63
Both these teams had some momentum heading into Sunday. Northwestern was coming off a win over Nebraska on Wednesday while Penn State had won three straight. And you could feel that in the game, as both sides battled throughout. However, Northwestern had a slight edge in the closing minutes so the Wildcats could secure the win. Boo Buie led the way with 15 points, six assists, and five rebounds. Ryan Langborg also had 14 points.
Northwestern improved to 17-7 overall and 8-5 in Big Ten play with the win and now finds itself on the verge of another NCAA Tournament bid. The team certainly hasn’t crossed the barrier yet, but it’s getting close. Probably two or three more wins and Wildcat fans would feel pretty confident about things. Fortunately, the team has a pretty manageable slate upcoming with Rutgers, Indiana, and Michigan next.
On the other side, Penn State fell to 12-12 overall and 6-6 in Big Ten play with the loss. While it was disappointing to fall short in the closing minutes, it continued a string of improved play for the team after a rough December and January. Penn State still has a shot at the NIT if the team really catches fire down the stretch. However, it’s going to be tough given the team’s forthcoming slate.
The Wildcats will return to action on Thursday on the road against Rutgers. Penn State will get Michigan State at home on Wednesday.
-Iowa Hawkeyes 90, Minnesota Golden Gophers 85
For much of the game, this looked like it was going to be a win for Minnesota. However, the Hawkeyes caught fire in the final 10 minutes and grabbed a 90-85 win. Owen Freeman impressed with 17 points and 14 rebounds. Payton Sandfort also had 21 points.
Iowa improved to 14-10 overall and 6-7 in Big Ten play with the win while Minnesota fell to 15-8 overall and 6-6 in Big Ten play with the loss. The Hawkeyes will now prepare for Maryland on the road on Wednesday. Minnesota will get Purdue on the road on Thursday.