Illinois shocked Minnesota in the Barn on Wednesday, dealing a serious blow to the Gophers’ NCAA tournament hopes. Minnesota actually got off to a great start in this game, leading 14-3 after eight minutes, but it was all Illinois after that. The Gophers had a terrible night from the outside (4-for-25, 16 percent), and the turnovers mounted as they tried to make plays going to the basket.
Gary Harris scored 25 points, grabbed three rebounds and handed out three assists as No. 13 Michigan State defeated Purdue 94-79 on Thursday in West Lafayette. Also, Terran Petteway led five Nebraska players in double digits with 26 points as Nebraska (15-10) defeated Penn State 80-67 in Lincoln.
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There hasn’t been a better story in the Big Ten this season than Nebraska. The Cornhuskers were projected by most to finish in the bottom half of the Big Ten. Why not? Questions abounded for a team that went 15-18 overall and 5-13 in the Big Ten last season. Now, the Huskers may be sitting squarely on the NCAA bubble. Let’s take a look at Nebraska’s resume.
This week on “The Journey: Big Ten Basketball 2014” we learn how Purdue freshman Kendall Stephens is following in his father’s footsteps and how Nebraska’s Terran Petteway transformed himself from an under-the-radar transfer into a potential All Big-Ten player. We also chronicle the story of Ohio State team manager Derek Upp, who hasn’t let physical limitations hinder his involvement with the Buckeye basketball team. The new episode airs Sunday at 6:15 p.m. after the Purdue-Nebraska game.
If there is a theme to this Big Ten season, it would be “expect the unexpected.” Down is up … up is down … in is out … out is in. You get the idea. Each week is like a roller-coaster, as upsets seemingly have become the norm. Heck, we even had one last night, with last-place Illinois winning at Minnesota.
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Former Nebraska forward Brandon Ubel experienced a lot during his time as a Husker. Not only did Nebraska move from the Big 12 to the Big Ten midway through his career, he played his final season for Tim Miles after spending the first three years under Doc Sadler. As a result, Ubel has an interesting perspective on Nebraska’s sooner-than-expected turnaround season. See my Twitter Q&A with him in this post.