Penn State upsets Michigan, Illinois continues strong play: Big Ten Week in Review (2/12-2/17)

This week in Big Ten basketball, Penn State finally pieced it altogether and pulled off a major upset at home over Michigan, and Illinois has now won five of their last six, including wins over two ranked opponents. Joe Wisekamp also hit a huge buzzer-beater to lift Iowa over Rutgers. Let’s get into the games!

Game Scores & Mini-recaps:

6 Michigan vs. Penn State: Penn State 75, Michigan 69

Penn State built a 13 point halftime lead and fought off a late rally in an upset win over Michigan. Michigan shot 5 percent better than Penn State from the field, but Penn State drew 21 total fouls. Lamar Stevens led Penn State with 26 points and 12 rebounds. Charles Matthews had 24 for the Wolverines.

11 Michigan State vs. 20 Wisconsin: Michigan State 67, Wisconsin 59

Michigan State shot 41 percent from three and picked up another solid conference win over Wisconsin. Cassius Winston had 23 points, six rebounds, and six assists. Kenny Goins and Nick Ward were also in double-figures, and Ethan Happ led Wisconsin with 20 points and 12 rebounds.

12 Purdue vs. 24 Maryland: Maryland 70, Purdue 56

Maryland held the number 12 team in the nation to just 56 points as they picked up another big win. Purdue got 24 points from Carsen Edwards in the loss, but shot a poor 8-of-27. Five Terrapins were in double figures, including Bruno Fernando who had a 12 point, 12 rebound double-double.

Rutgers vs. Northwestern: Rutgers 59, Northwestern 56

Geo Baker and Montez Mathis each had 12 points to lead Rutgers to a home win over Northwestern. Eugene Omoruyi added 11 points and seven rebounds. Vic Law had 17 points, and A.J. Turner had 11 points for Northwestern.

Minnesota vs. Nebraska: Nebraska 62, Minnesota 61

James Palmer Jr. hit two free-throws with a second left as Nebraska survived at home against Minnesota. Palmer Jr. had 24 points on the night, and Glynn Watson Jr. had 19 points. Jordan Murphy led Minnesota with 19 points and 13 rebounds, and Daniel Oturu had 16.

Illinois vs. Ohio State: Illinois 63, Ohio State 56

Ohio State was held to just 36 percent shooting at home as Illinois came into town to stun the Buckeyes and continue their strong play. Trent Frazier and Ayo Dosunmu each had 15 points, and Giorgi Bezhanishvilli had 13 points and seven rebounds. C.J. Jackson had 17 points for Ohio State, and the Wessons combined for 21 points and 10 rebounds.

24 Maryland vs. 6 Michigan: Michigan 65, Maryland 52

Despite Cassius Winston being out, Michigan still played well and got a win over a ranked Maryland team at home. Ignas Brazdeikas, Charles Matthews, and Zavier Simpson all were in double-figures for the Wolverines. Aaron Wiggins led Maryland with 15 points and six boards off of the bench.

Penn State vs. 12 Purdue: Purdue 76, Penn State 64

Purdue bounced back from their poor shooting night last game to shoot 52 percent and get a win over Penn State. Carsen Edwards had 21 points to pace Purdue, and Matt Haarms had 18 points and six rebounds. Lamar Stevens had 18 points and Rasir Bolton had 17 points for the Nittany Lions.

21 Iowa vs. Rutgers: Iowa 71, Rutgers 69

Joe Wisekamp hit an improbable baseline three-pointer off of the glass at the buzzer as Iowa stunned Rutgers in New Jersey. Jordan Bohannon led Iowa with 18 points and five assists, Isaiah Moss had 17, and Tyler Cook had 12 points and seven rebounds. Ron Harper Jr. had 16 for Rutgers, and Eugene Omoruyi had 10 points and 11 boards.

Indiana vs. Minnesota: Minnesota 84, Indiana 63

Jordan Murphy had a huge 23 point, 11 rebound double-double as Minnesota blew out Indiana at home. Gabe Kalscheur also had 20 points, While Aaron Coffey had 18 points, seven assists, and six rebounds. Juwan Morgan led Indiana with 14 points and eight rebounds.

Northwestern vs. Nebraska: Nebraska 59, Northwestern 50

Isaiah Roby had 19 points and 16 rebounds, along with five blocks to pace Nebraska in a win over Nebraska. James Palmer Jr. and Glynn Watson Jr. were also in double figures for the winners. Vic Law had 15 points and Derek Pardon had 13 points and 12 rebounds.

Ohio State vs. 11 Michigan State: Michigan State 62, Ohio State 54

Ohio State was held to just 32 percent shooting on the road as they were blown out by Michigan State. Matt McQuaid had 14 points, and Cassius Winston had 13 points and eight assists for the Spartans. Kaleb Wesson led the Buckeyes with 12 points and nine rebounds.

Standings & Rankings:

7 Michigan, 23-3 (12-3)

10 Michigan State, 21-5 (12-3)

15 Purdue, 18-7 (11-3)

24 Maryland, 19-7 (10-5)

21 Iowa, 20-5 (9-5)

22 Wisconsin, 17-8 (9-5)

Minnesota, 17-9 (7-8)

Ohio State, 16-9 (6-8)

Illinois, 10-15 (6-8)

Nebraska, 15-11 (5-10)

Rutgers, 12-13 (5-10)

Indiana, 13-12 (4-10)

Northwestern, 12-13 (3-11)

Penn State, 9-16 (2-12)

 

 

 

 

Illinois upsets Michigan State: Big Ten week in review (2/4-2/10)

Illinois pulled off a crazy upset over Michigan St. this week, and Iowa’s Jordan Bohannon hit a crazy buzzer-beater in a win over Northwestern to lead the story-lines of the week. Let’s get into the games!

Scores & Mini-recaps

Penn State vs. Northwestern: Penn State 59, Northwestern 52

Penn State’s 18 points from Lamar Stevens and 14 points from Rasir Bolton off the bench was enough for Penn State to pick up their first conference win. Penn State shot just 38 percent, but limited Northwestern to just 32 percent. Derek Pardon had 18 points and 10 rebounds and Vic Law had 10 points and 10 rebounds for Northwestern.

7 Michigan vs. Rutgers: Michigan 77, Rutgers 65

Ignas Brazdeikis led Michigan with 23 points as the Wolverines were able to pick up a road win at Rutgers. Jon Teske and Jordan Poole combined for 22 points but shot a poor 8-for-23 together. Eugene Omoruyi had 21 points and Montez Mathis had 12 points for Rutgers.

9 Michigan St. vs. Illinois: Illinois 79, Michigan St. 74

Illinois pulled the upset of the week with a big home win over Michigan State. Ayo Dosunmu had 24 points, Giorgi Bezhanishvilli had 16, and Trent Frazier had 15 for the winners. Cassius Winston had another big night for Michigan St., finishing with 21 points and nine assists.

19 Wisconsin vs. Minnesota: Wisconsin 56, Minnesota 51

Ethan Happ had a 15 point, 13 rebound double-double to lead Wisconsin to a road victory over Minnesota. Brad Davidson added 10 points, and Nate Reuvers had nine rebounds and seven blocks for Wisconsin. Jordan Murphy had a huge 16 point, 19 rebound performance for the losers.

24 Maryland vs. Nebraska: Maryland 60, Nebraska 45

Jalen Smith and Bruno Fernando both had double-doubles to power Maryland past Nebraska. Maryland shot the ball 38 percent, but held Nebraska to an extremely poor 21 percent, including 0-for-10 shooting from Glynn Watson Jr. for Nebraska. Isaiah Roby 20 points and 1 rebounds to lead the Cornhuskers.

20 Iowa vs. Indiana: Iowa 77, Indiana 72

Jordan Bohannon and Tyler Cook combined for 46 points for Iowa in their win over Indiana. Iowa made 10 threes and 13 free-throws on the night. Romeo Langford had 22 points and five rebounds for Indiana, and Juwan Morgan added 17.

Penn State vs. Ohio State: Ohio State 74, Penn State 70

Ohio State’s 50 percent shooting helped power them to a win over the feisty Penn State Nittany Lions. Luther Muhammad had 20 points, and Andre Wesson had 15 points and 10 boards for the Buckeyes. Lamar Stevens and Josh Reaves each had 20 for Penn State,.

19 Wisconsin vs. 7 Michigan: Michigan 61, Wisconsin 52

Charles Matthews had 18 points, and Jon Teske had 17 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Wolverines over the Badgers. Michigan shot 45 percent while limiting themselves to just five turnovers.  Ethan Happ had 18 points and 11 rebounds to pace Wisconsin.

Minnesota vs. 9 Michigan State: Michigan St. 79, Minnesota 55

Michigan State finally broke out of their three game losing streak with a blowout win over the sliding Minnesota Golden Gophers. nick Ward had 22 points and nine rebounds and Cassius Winston had 11 points and nine assists. Matt McQuaid added 18 points, and eight more assists, as Michigan State thrives off the catch-and-shoot. Gabe Kalscheur had 17 points for Minnesota.

Nebraska vs. 15 Purdue: Purdue 81, Nebraska 62

Carsen Edwards dropped 27 points as Purdue blew out Nebraska at home. Grady Eifert had 16 points, and Nojel Eastern had 12 points and 10 rebounds. Thomas Allen led Nebraska with 18 points off the bench, and Nebraska shot just 38 percent on the night.

Rutgers vs. Illinois: Illinois 99, Rutgers 94 (OT)

Giorgi Bezhanishvilli exploded for 35 points, as Illinois took down Rutgers at home in overtime. Four total players would reach double figures for Illinois, who shot the ball 50 percent. Caleb McConnell had a big night for Rutgers with 25 points and nine rebounds off the bench.

Northwestern vs. 20 Iowa: Iowa 80, Northwestern 79

Iowa was down 15 points with 4:30 left, but Iowa fought back and won the game thanks to a Jordan Bohannon buzzer-beater. He had 15 points, but Joe Wieskamp led with 21 points while Tyler cook had 19 points and 11 rebounds. Vic Law led Northwestern with 24 points and 10 boards.

Ohio State vs. Indiana: Ohio State 55, Indiana 52

Indiana couldn’t convert in the final seconds to send the game into overtime, as Ohio State snuck away from Bloomington with a 55-52 win. The Wesson brothers combined for 25 of Ohio State’s 55 points, as the team shot 44 percent. Romeo Langford had 15 points for Indiana, while Juwan Morgan was held in-check with just three points, but still managed to haul-in 14 boards.

Standings & Rankings

6 Michigan, 22-2 (11-2)

12 Purdue, 17-6 (10-2)

11 Michigan St., 19-5 (10-3)

20 Wisconsin, 17-7 (9-4)

24 Maryland, 18-6 (9-4)

21 Iowa, 19-5 (8-5)

Ohio State, 16-7 (6-6)

Minnesota, 16-8 (6-7)

Illinois, 9-15 (5-8)

Indiana, 13-11 (4-9)

Rutgers, 11-12 (4-9)

Northwestern, 12-11 (3-9)

Nebraska, 13-11 (3-10)

Penn State, 8-15 (1-11)

 

Iowa and Indiana pull major upsets: Big Ten basketball week in review (1/29-2/3)

Another fun week of Big Ten hoops is led by Iowa dominating Michigan, Indiana upsetting Michigan St., and Wisconsin with two big wins. Six teams hit the Top 25 this week! There were 12 games, so let’s dive into it!

Results & Mini-Recaps

Ohio St. vs. 5 Michigan: Michigan 65, Ohio State 49

Zavier Simpson’s triple-double with 11 points, 12 assists, and 10 rebounds helped Michigan cruise past Ohio State. Four different Michigan players got into double-figures, including 12 points off the bench for sophomore Isaiah Livers. Kaleb Wesson led Ohio State with 12 points, seven rebounds, and three blocks.

Northwestern vs. 21 Maryland: Maryland 70, Northwestern 52

Bruno Fernando’s 22 points and 10 rebounds helped lead Maryland to a convincing win over Northwestern. Maryland held Northwestern to just 31 percent from the field. Jalen Smith had 14 points and nine rebounds to support Fernando. Anthony Gaines had 18 points and seven rebounds to lead Northwestern.

24 Wisconsin vs. Nebraska: Wisconsin 62, Nebraska 51

Wisconsin held Nebraska to just 28 percent from the field to beat Nebraska, despite being out-rebounded. Three Wisconsin Badgers were in double figures, including Ethan Happ who also had nine rebounds. Isaiah Roby had 18 points and nine rebounds to lead Nebraska.

Indiana vs. Rutgers: Rutgers 66, Indiana 58

Rutgers strong effort on the boards helped them beat the struggling Indiana Hoosiers. Three Scarlet Knights were in double-figures, and they held Indiana to just 35 percent shooting. Romeo Langford led Indiana with 20 points and six rebounds in the loss.

Illinois vs. Minnesota: Minnesota 86, Illinois 75

Five Minnesota players were in double-figures as they beat Illinois by 11. Minnesota shot a strong 50 percent in the win, compared to 45 percent from Illinois. Trent Frazier had a huge 30 point performance for Illinois in the loss, and two Fighting Illini were in double-figures off of the bench.

17 Purdue vs. Penn St.: Purdue 99, Penn St. 90 (OT)

Purdue shot the lights out at 55 percent, and survived the last-place Penn State in overtime. Conference scoring leader Carsen Edwards exploded for 38 points, and teammate Ryan Cline added 20. Lamar Stevens had 24 points for Penn State, and the Nittany Lions hit 30 free-throws to counter their poor 39 percent shooting.

5 Michigan vs. Iowa: Iowa 74, Michigan 59

Iowa jumped out to a 13 point halftime lead on their home floor and used that to knock off the number five team in the country. Luke Garza and Joe Wieskamp had 19 and 16 points, respectively for the winners. Iowa held Michigan to just 32 percent from the field. Three Wolverines made it into double-figures.

21 Maryland vs. 24 Wisconsin: Wisconsin 69, Maryland 61

Wisconsin used a dominating second half after trailing at halftime to beat Maryland at home. Brad Davidson had 21 points for Wisconsin, and Ethan Happ had an 18 point, 11 rebound double-double as well. Bruno Fernando had a double-double to lead the Terrapins.

Indiana vs. 6 Michigan St.: Indiana 79. Michigan St. 75 (OT)

Despite losing Juwan Morgan in the first half to a shoulder injury, Indiana ended their skid with a huge road upset over Michigan St. Romeo Langford led the winners with 19 points, and Justin Smith had 13 points and 10 rebounds with the game-sealing block. Cassius Winston had a huge night for the Spartans with 26 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists.

Rutgers vs. Ohio State: Ohio State 76, Rutgers 62

Ohio State shot the ball 53 percent to lead to a victory over Rutgers. Kaleb Wesson had 27 points and five assists, and C.J. Jackson had 20 points and seven rebounds. Despite the win, they trailed -11 in the rebound margin.  Eugene Omoruyi had 19 points, eight rebounds, and six rebounds for Rutgers in the loss.

Nebraska vs. Illinois: Illinois 71, Nebraska 64

Illinois balanced scoring and strong defense led them to a win over Nebraska. Kipper Nichols had 18 points off the bench, while Illinois held Nebraska to just 36 percent from the field. James Palmer Jr. had 22 points and eight rebounds for Nebraska, and Tanner Borchardt had 12 points and 18 rebounds.

Minnesota vs. 17 Purdue: Purdue 73, Minnesota 63

Purdue had five players in double-figures and shot the ball 48 percent in a win over Minnesota. Carsen Edwards led Purdue with 17 points, five rebounds, and five assists, and Nojel Eastern had 11 points, six rebounds, four assists, and two steals in an all-around effort. Amir Coffey had 22 points for Minnesota, and Daniel Oturu had 19 points and nine rebounds off of the bench.

Standings & Rankings

7 Michigan, 20-2 (9-2 )

9 Michigan St., 18-4 (9-2)

15 Purdue, 16-6 (9-2)

19 Wisconsin, 16-6 (8-3)

24 Maryland, 17-6 (8-4)

20 Iowa, 17-5 (6-5)

Minnesota, 16-6 (6-5)

Ohio State, 14-7 (4-6)

Rutgers, 11-10 (4-7)

Indiana, 13-9 (4-7)

Northwestern, 12-9 (3-7)

Nebraska, 13-9 (3-8)

Illinois, 7-15 (3-8)

Penn St., 7-14 (0-10)

Iowa Basketball: Tyler Cook And The Hawkeyes Can Only Go Up In 2018

It’s safe to say that 2017 wasn’t a good year for the Iowa Hawkeyes basketball team. Finishing with a losing record was one thing, but they were only one spot away from being the worst team in the Big Ten in terms of record. That title went, somewhat unsurprisingly, to Rutgers. Still, to outsiders, it was likely surprising that Iowa fell this far. After all, they’re usually, at worst, a middling team.

But if you look at their record last year, you’ll notice a trend of big losses in conference play. Most of their wins came against teams from conferences like the WAC, SWAC, MAC, and Big Sky. In the Big Ten, though? They only picked up four wins. Looking at the quality, or lack thereof, of the teams that they did beat makes Iowa look even worse last year.

Things really can only go up, barring a collapse and another disaster of a season. Let’s look at some of the losses Iowa suffered. 77-64 on the road at Indiana, 91-73 on the road at Maryland, 80-64 at Rutgers, 85-67 at home against Wisconsin, 82-58 at Penn State. One trend was that the results were worse off away from home.

Fortunately, however, the team isn’t near as young this year. Top two scorers Tyler Cook and Jordan Bohannon were sophomores last year and both of them are returning, and bringing their team leading 15.3 and 13.5 point per game scoring performances with them. Bohannon is a guard and Cook is a small forward that should be one of the better ones in the Big Ten, in addition to one of the most used players.

Whether or not Iowa wins, Cook is an exciting player to watch. He’s the type of small forward that plays well around the basket and if you’re watching Iowa, you should expect to see him trying to get under the basket to dunk for a score. Most of his jumpshots will be from mid range, and Cook’s 56% field goal percentage might be inflated from his tendency to score right underneath the basket.

Out of their players that had a big impact last season, just about everyone is back. Cook and Bohannon, however, will be their big duo as both players bring scoring but outside of that, they specialize in two key areas. Cook is a better rebounder with a team high 6.8 per game, and Bohannon led the assists column with 5.4 per game.

Sophomore forward Luka Garza should also be expected to play a role as the second leading rebounder on the team with an average of 6.4 per game as well as 12.1 points per game, and redshirt senior Nicholas Baer might see more playing time with 5.0 rebounds per game.

The verdict here? Iowa was bad last season. Really bad at times, and they were blown out a number of times both at home and especially on the road. However, they were a younger team that was led by sophomores and a freshman, and with all of those players coming back, including their leader who could be a standout in the conference as a whole, they should take a step up.

It might not be a huge step up, but anything would be an improvement from what they are now.

Big Ten: Big Stakes In Saturday’s Penn State Versus Iowa Game

The two current favorites to win the Big Ten, Michigan and Ohio State, are both on bye weeks right now. It seems like this slate of games isn’t the best one. Nebraska will face FCS Bethune-Cookman, and while the Huskers are struggling, an upset isn’t something you should bet on. Purdue faces Michigan State after defeating the Buckeyes, but both teams are unranked and aren’t considered to be in the hunt for the conference title.

But there are important games. You just have to look past the teams that are near the top of the polls.

Wisconsin faces Northwestern for the lead in the Big Ten West, but the Badgers will enter as the favorites and only one of the teams in this game is ranked. However, there is one matchup between ranked teams, and that’s Penn State versus Iowa. Of all the games nationally this weekend, it’s the one that shouldn’t be overlooked, because it will definitely change the trajectory for both teams and maybe even a few others, regardless of who wins.

Iowa is in a four way race with Wisconsin, Purdue, and Northwestern, all three teams possessing one loss this season. Northwestern is in the lead by virtue of playing one more game than Wisconsin, but if they lose and Iowa defeats Penn State, it would put Iowa on even footing with Wisconsin and Northwestern behind both teams after gaining their second loss in the conference. If Northwestern and Iowa both win, the Wildcats stay in first place and Iowa would be right behind them.

Purdue is also in the equation but they would need a win against Michigan State to stay in the hunt for now, and despite their win over the second ranked team in the country, Michigan State shouldn’t be written off. They’re less of a mistake prone team than Ohio State is this season and they played Michigan close for much of the game last week.

Of course, Iowa jumping ahead of Purdue and Wisconsin assumes that they beat Penn State, which wouldn’t be entirely unreasonable but also isn’t a given. The Nittany Lions managed to string together two straight losses fairly recently, around the same time they pulled it off last season. They also didn’t do as much as they could have against Indiana, and Iowa was one of the teams that gave them trouble last year. Could the Hawkeyes actually get the win here? It’s pretty reasonable to predict that they will, given Penn State’s past three outings.

Penn State is already out of the chase for the conference title, but which bowl game they go to this year will depend on what they do with the rest of the season and they need to win out to salvage things and get into a good bowl. There will likely be more challenges directed at James Franklin’s job if they lose here, meaning there’s a lot on the line for both teams. Penn State wants to get to a good bowl, and Iowa can move up in a race that, right now, involves four teams.

Only one team will get what they want from this game… But either way, the result will influence an entire division.

Iowa Football: Can Nate Stanley Do What Others Couldn’t?

It seems like Iowa is always a factor in the Big Ten, whether they’re in contention to win it or not. Even if Iowa themselves aren’t one of the contenders to win, Kinnick Stadium has gained a fearsome reputation among visiting teams. As Ohio State learned last season, back when they were ranked number six in the country, anyone can fall victim to the upset when playing away at Iowa.

Still, Iowa needs more than just a home field advantage to get back to the conference title game, which they lost after going 8-0 during conference play during the 2015 season. A good quarterback is absolutely essential to that goal, and they might just have that on hand with Nate Stanley. Stanley managed to take the starting job as a sophomore, and put up good numbers.

Despite being new to the role, his 2,432 yards came in at number seven in the conference. That’s not bad, considering that some of the names just above him in the rankings are much more well-known: Alex Hornibrook, Brian Lewerke, and J.T. Barrett. Of course, Barrett has graduated by now, and another name from the list, Tanner Lee, can be removed because of the NFL Draft.

In Stanley’s junior season, he should be expected to step up and perform like one of the conference’s best four or five quarterbacks. More accurately, he needs to perform like a top five quarterback for Iowa to sneak past their rivals in Wisconsin and make it back to a Big Ten title game. The Wisconsin team this year is just too good for Iowa to get by otherwise.

When you look at Stanley’s game, accuracy stands out as an area to improve. It’s based off of a couple of things. The first is his completion percentage, which was only 55.8% last year. Good enough to get him in the top ten of the conference, but poor enough that he ended up at number nine in completion percentage rather than in the top five.

The second thing to look at is his throwing mechanics. Stanley has power in his arm, but strangely enough, doesn’t seem to generate as much velocity as some of the other top quarterbacks. His passes sometimes use more of a lobbing style, and while this is useful in some situations, it also gives defenders more time to get in position and break up or intercept the pass.

His short and medium accuracy, though, is better than his deep accuracy. It’s also worth considering his pocket presence. While Stanley is fully capable of rolling out, something that’s useful on play action passes, most of his throws come from within the pocket. Even when playing defenses such as Penn State and Ohio State, who broke through the offensive line on some occasions, Stanley played smart enough to not take unnecessary sacks.

Against the Buckeyes, for example, a couple of Stanley’s touchdowns were thrown with defenders all around him. Most notably, he had one of the best highlight reel plays of the game when he threw a touchdown while Sam Hubbard was still holding onto his leg. It wasn’t the only big play he made under pressure, in either the win over Ohio State or the close game with Penn State.

So what should Hawkeyes fans expect this year from Stanley? He probably won’t be the top quarterback in the conference, but he has the tools to be among the best when he makes some improvements entering his junior year. The difference between a first and second year starter can be huge depending on the player, and at least some of Stanley’s weak spots should show less this season.

Iowa isn’t the Big Ten school that most fans associate with quarterback play, but this year, their fans can rest knowing that their signal caller isn’t intimidated in the slightest by the tough defenses that Iowa will have to face in their hunt for the conference crown.