This week on “The Journey: Big Ten Basketball 2014” we see why the Michigan-Michigan State game took on a special meaning for longtime friends Gary Harris of the Spartans and Zak Irvin of the Wolverines. The new episode debuts Saturday at 9:30 p.m. ET right after the Iowa-Illinois game on BTN/BTN2Go (full schedule here).
OK, are you as confused as I am? This week of upsets has turned the conference on its side and trashed most everything I thought I knew about the Big Ten. Penn State wins at Ohio State, Northwestern prevails at Wisconsin, and Nebraska dumps Indiana. And the Big Ten standings speak to that. But, hey, Michigan just keeps on winning. So, there’s a constant. Michigan State, too.
KenPom’s game probabilities gave Northwestern just a five percent chance of winning at Wisconsin, and it didn’t like Penn State’s chances of winning at Ohio State much better (nine percent). In one of the unlikeliest nights of Big Ten basketball you’ll ever see, both road underdogs pulled the upset, an outcome that had a combined probability of less than half a percent.
The arrival of the Super Bowl means many things to many people. Ro-tel and Velveeta dip … the end of the most wonderful time of the year … spring is approaching. For me, it means we basically are at the halfway point of the Big Ten hoop season.
Michigan State pulled out an impressive overtime win at Iowa despite the continued absence of Adreian Payne and Branden Dawson. The gritty win was all about defense for the Spartans, as they held one of the nation’s top offenses to 1.01 points per trip at home.
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If you ever wondered if a player could pick up his dribble from outside the 3-point arc and get to the hoop for a layup without being called for traveling, he can. Keith Appling did it in Tuesday night’s overtime win at Iowa, and the no-call didn’t sit well with Iowa fans or Fran McCaffery; in fact, McCaffery was hit with a technical foul. ESPN commentator Jay Bilas said this about the play: “It’s hard to believe, but I think that would have been a walk in the NBA.”