Minnesota lost its first Big Ten game Sunday to Purdue by 19 points. It could be a sign of what lies ahead for the Golden Gophers. In league with as many top-level players as ever, winning will not be easy. It will take more time for Ben Johnson to rebuild Minneapolis. He can dig the Gophers from this hole. It seems like a daunting task.
Michigan is far too talented to sit in the bottom half of the Big Ten. But the results are what they have. At this point, Michigan doesn’t appear to be a team that can compete for a league championship. There’s still plenty of time to work it out. Sunday’s defeat to No. 19 Kentucky (in London), a week after their loss to Virginia (3rd-ranked at home). UM may be close, as the combined margin was just 6 points. Concerning right now is Jaelin Lewellyn’s status as a point guard, who was injured in the knee and left the UK game. Check out the top basketball odds.
Considering how they opened the Big Ten in early December with a slate of games that includes hosting Michigan State and then going to Illinois. If Penn State is interested in having an NCAA Tournament team, it might need, at least, a split. The Nittany Lions are surprising, but they have missed chances against Clemson and Virginia Tech to put themselves on the map.
Michigan State’s offensive flow is not working right now. This was evident in Sunday’s loss to Northwestern and earlier in the 18-point Notre Dame loss. Malik Hall, who is still out with a foot injury and will not be returning for at least another week, doesn’t help matters. Michigan State wants to win with physicality and toughness, which is fine. But a team must also make consistent shots. The Spartans are failing to do that.
There was no reason to believe that Northwestern would win at Michigan State after two consecutive losses to Power 5 competition. College basketball is a different story. Although the Wildcats’ defense is inconsistent, Chase Audige and Boo Buie can compete with anyone. NU has been able to match MSU’s recent record of 2 consecutive wins and three wins in the last 4. The fact that the Wildcats are ranked No.10 in the power rankings speaks volumes about the league’s depth. They are currently ranked 10th in power rankings but have an NCAA resume that could put them on the tourney bubble.
Nebraska won a historic victory under Fred Hoiberg this past Sunday. This could be a sign that the Cornhuskers are on the right track to making some progress this season. We’ll see. It was undoubtedly a significant win for Nebraska, who scored a victory at No. 7 Creighton; this was the Huskers’ 5th top-10 win in school history and the 2nd under Hoiberg in their last two seasons. This is in addition to their triumph over Wisconsin last season. Derrick Walker is back in the lineup and is healthy, so the Huskers have a great 1-2 punch in Sam Griesel and Derrick Walker. They combined for 40 points and 20 rebounds, as well as nine assists, in the victory at Creighton.
Rutgers can win Big Ten home games and proved that once again when they out-toughed then-No. 10 Indiana at Jersey Mike’s Saturday afternoon. The Scarlet Knights did not respect the Hoosiers’ shooting abilities and sagged back to contain Trayce Johnson-Davis. They thwarted Trayce Jackson Davis into a 5-of-11 shooting performance. They also made big shots when necessary. Will they be able to take the show on the road? The next stop is Ohio State.
Even though it was a crushing win over St. Francis, it is notable how Ohio State received freshmen contributions on Saturday. Four rookies, Bruce Thornton, Brice Sensabaugh, Roddy Gayle Jr., and Felix Okpara, each scored at least 10 points. The success of the Buckeyes in this season will depend on the contributions of each of these four players, along with the three transfers. OSU is still a work in progress because each new group member has been in the rotation since the beginning of the year. We’ll probably find out more after the 2nd game against Rutgers and then at North Carolina.
Iowa will attempt to improve its record to 3-0 against the ACC on Tuesday when it travels from Iowa to New York to face Duke in the Jimmy V Classic. This will be the first of two matches against top-25 opponents this week, with Iowa State coming up to Iowa City on Thursday. The Hawkeyes have won at least 22 games against top-25 opponents in 5 seasons. They’ll be looking to increase that number. Kris Murray, who has taken the leading man role for seven games this season, is hard to overstate. He averages 21 points per game and almost 11 rebounds.
Max Klesmit hasn’t scored as many points at Wisconsin as he did at Wofford. Last season, he averaged 15 points per game; this season, as a Badger, he is averaging just six points per game. But the transfer was massive in Saturday’s overtime win against Marquette when he scored the winning goal with only a few seconds remaining. He finished the game with 13 points and four assists, his best performance as a Badger. Wisconsin could certainly use another perimeter scorer to ease the pressure on Chucky Hepburn.
The Illini have not jelled yet, which was confirmed in the loss to Maryland. When this team gets going, they can be as good as anybody. Illinois has a ton of weapons, and they get a massive shot at the #2 Texas Longhorns on Tuesday night. The Illini have the talent to beat anybody, including the Longhorns.
Hoosier fans claimed they were back last week; this week, they are afraid the Hoosiers are back to their old ways, which means following a big win with a bad loss. It’s true that happened, but I think this Hoosier team is better than any we have seen in Bloomington in a few years. We will have to wait and see.
Maryland is the Big Ten’s surprise team, thanks to Kevin Willard, a new coach who has brought enthusiasm back into the program. It was a fantastic atmosphere for Maryland’s victory against Illinois on Friday night. Jahmir Young, a Charlotte transfer, has been excellent. He’s one of four Terrapins who average in double figures. Maryland is not deep but has four high-end players that are both solid on the offensive side and play tough-minded, physical defence, which was lacking for much of last season. Check out the top college basketball betting sites.
Zach Edey had a Big Ten opener. He scored 31 points and grabbed 22 rebounds. This is one more rebound than any of the Golden Gophers. The 7-foot-4, big man put in an impressive performance and is now a possible national player of the year candidate. The Boilermakers also play nicely off Edey, moving the ball to make open shots and then hitting them. Purdue’s depth is also a benefit — Purdue has ten players deep. However, starting forward Mason Gillis could not play in the Minnesota match due to a back injury. It is not clear how long he will be out.
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