Illinois’ weaknesses were exposed in a road loss against a mediocre Purdue team last night. The concerning thing isn’t so much that Illinois lost—Purdue isn’t a terrible team, just a terrible offensive team—it’s that it lost to Purdue despite hitting 10 three-pointers (38% from three on the night). Thus, it appears the “Illinois wins when it shoots well” maxim is incorrect. This team can shoot well, and still lose.
Terone Johnson scored a career-high 25 points and D.J. Byrd spurred a key 19-3 second-half run to send Purdue past No. 14 Illinois 68-61 on Wednesday night. The Boilermakers (7-6, 1-0 Big Ten) are above .500 for the first time this season and have won eight straight over the Fighting Illini.
Just as BTN & BTN2Go did for football this past fall with BTN Field Pass, we’re turning on pregame cameras before selected Big Ten men’s basketball games this season to give fans a glimpse of their teams before the TV cameras go live. The experience starts tonight 30 minutes before both BTN games – Nebraska vs. Ohio State Court pass goes live at 6 p.m. ET and the court pass at Illinois vs. Purdue goes on at 8 p.m. You can watch these live online feeds via BTN2Go.
Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
And just like that, it’s time for the Big Ten season to tip. It was a highly successful nonconference season, with the Big Ten owning the national polls. We have even more to look forward in the coming months, however, as many feel this could be one of the better conference races in recent history. Check out my All-Big Ten Nonconference Teams in this post.
Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
Tracy Abrams scored 27 points, grabbed eight rebounds and handed out five assists as No. 15 Illinois defeated Auburn 81-79 on Saturday at United Center in Chicago.
The Big Ten had a relatively bad weekend, dropping marquee games against other high-major conference teams. The main event was a battle between two top-10 teams when Kansas visited Columbus. Given that the game was on the Buckeyes’ floor, Ohio State should have won this game, and probably by more than just a point or two. Instead, Kansas ended up with a relatively comfortable 8-point win. The Jayhawks led most of the way, and started pulling away with about ten minutes left. There was no great mystery as to why OSU lost—they were terrible shooting the ball, both inside and outside the arc. On twos, Ohio State converted just 35 percent, and they were at 26 percent on threes. Kansas, meanwhile, shot 53 and 46 percent, respectively. Otherwise, OSU outplayed the Jayhawks, but shooting trumps all.