Illinois picked up a much needed victory at Northwestern, but they sure didn’t make it easy on themselves. The Wildcats came out executing their offense to the tune of 1.13 points per possession in the first half, a very solid showing against a good Illini defense. John Shurna was at the forefront of the attack, putting up 17 first half points. Northwestern built a double digit lead before a late Illinois run made it closer at the half.
Penn State smothered Purdue’s shooters as the Nittany Lions beat the Boilermakers 65-45 Thursday at the Bryce Jordan Center for Penn State’s first Big Ten win of the season. At Indiana, Christian Watford scored 25 points and grabbed seven rebounds to lift No. 12 Indiana to a 73-71 win over No. 13 Michigan at Assembly Hall in Bloomington.
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Only a freshman, Trey Burke is playing like one of the nation’s elite point guards. And the nation is taking notice, evidenced by Burke being named a finalist for the annual Bob Cousy Award on Wednesday. The Wolverine averages 14 points, 3.2 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game, and he’s joined on the list by Big Ten rivals Aaron Craft, of Ohio State, and Jordan Taylor, of Wisconsin. See the complete list of finalists.
Wisconsin and Michigan State squared off last night in a game that will not help the Big Ten’s national image. Via a combination of slow pace, good defense, and missed shots that both teams would normally make, the Spartans and Badgers labored for points. It took Michigan State over 13 minutes of game time to break into double digits–and even then they were only down two points. Wisconsin’s shooting nightmare that began against Iowa persisted, and it truly looked like the first team to 50 would win.
One week of Big Ten play in the books, it’s time to release my latest Big Ten men’s hoops power rankings. The rankings are not meant to mimic the Big Ten standings. What fun would that be? They aren’t scientific, either. They’re simply my thoughts on where each Big Ten team stands right now and who would win on a neutral court. Agree? Disagree? Tweet @BTNBrentYarina or leave your comments below. See Brent’s rankings in this post.
The Big Ten Conference released its weekly Men’s Hoops Players of the Week for Dec. 26-Jan. 1 action. See the winners and find out what they did to earn the accolades in this post.
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