No. 25 Michigan beat reeling Illinois (recap) and Purdue topped Northwestern (recap) in Big Ten men’s hoops action Sunday. Gus Johnson was on the call for the Wildcats-Boilermakers game, and we posted his best calls here. Catch up on both games with our BTN.com scoreboard and get stats, video and recaps in this post. Throughout the season, BTN.com editors watch for the best highlights and post them in our Did You See This? feature.
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Prior to his breakout performance against Ohio State, Adreian Payne had scored double figures in exactly two Big Ten games as a Spartan. And although his offense was certainly a big reason for Michigan State’s victory, his defense probably deserves more credit. Payne did something that few ever will–make Jared Sullinger look like a bad basketball player. The Ohio State big man was frustrated all game long, and although he had 17 points and 16 rebounds, it came at a cost of 10 turnovers (not to mention 4 fouls).
There were a quartet of Big Ten women’s basketball games Sunday, highlighted by No. 10 Ohio State knocking off No. 19 and first-place Purdue, 80-71, at Value City Arena. In other action, No. 21 Penn State defeated Northwestern, Illinois nipped Indiana at the buzzer and Iowa took down Michigan State. Catch up on all four of the games on our BTN.com scoreboard and get stats, video and recaps in this post.
Not only was No. 12 Michigan State’s upset victory at No. 3 Ohio State huge for the Spartans (AP recap), but it did wonders to the Big Ten title race. Entering Saturday night’s contest at Value City Arena, where the Buckeyes hadn’t lost during the Jared Sullinger era, Ohio State had a chance to move two games ahead of the Spartans and the other legit Big Ten title contenders (Michigan and Wisconsin). That didn’t happen, of course, and now four teams are within one game of the top spot in the Big Ten.
This past week on The Journey, presented by GMC, we looked at the legendary Indiana-Purdue rivalry with the Paint Crew and went behind the scenes of Draymond Green’s return from injury against rival Michigan. Also, we met the Minnesota natives on the Badgers as they went back home to Minneapolis and got to know Lenzelle Smith Jr., Ohio State’s jack of all trades. Right now, watch a clip on Green and Mateen Cleaves and see bonus clips in this post. And don’t forget to follow the Jouney on Twitter @BTNJourney.
Indiana made a living at the foul line in a chippy 13-point win over visiting Illinois. For about 30 minutes, this was a tight, back-and-forth game, with six lead changes and 14 ties. Over the final 10 minutes, however, the Hoosiers took advantage of the foul-riddled Illini to pull away. Indiana not only got to the foul line at an astounding rate; it also shot incredibly well from there, going 35 of 42 (83 percent). Paired with the Hoosiers’ customary accuracy from the field and a low turnover rate, it powered Indiana to a scorching 1.26 points per possession, the highest allowed by the Illinois defense all season.
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The calendar says February, and the sense of urgency builds for teams with NCAA dreams. Ohio State, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana look like locks. But Illinois, Purdue, Minnesota and Northwestern? Work must be done down the home stretch.