No. 19 Michigan upset No. 6 Ohio State (recap), Nebraska did the same to struggling Illinois (recap) and Northwestern took care of Minnesota (recap) in Big Ten men’s hoops action Saturday. Catch up on all three games on our BTN.com scoreboard and get stats, recaps and video in this post. BTN has another doubleheader Sunday, starting at 4 ET (view the schedule!). And don’t forget that BTN.com editors watch for all the best highlights throughout the season and post them in our Did You See This? archive.
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For a day, Nebraska did it all and showed what kind of team it can be when everything comes together. It came in Saturday’s decisive victory over struggling Illinois, and Caleb Walker’s ridiculous one-handed alley-oop highlighted it all. The thunderous second-half jam — listen to the rim! — was a thing of beauty.
Zack Novak is the face of Michigan, the embodiment of what John Beilein is trying to build the Wolverine program into in his fifth year in Ann Arbor. Just watch Novak on the court. The energy, the desire, the passion. And, the production. He’s the inspirational leader of a Michigan team that is 19-7 overall and 9-4 in the Big Ten, very much in the hunt for the Big Ten title.
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Purdue suffered a big blow with guard Kelsey Barlow being dismissed from the program and guard/forward D.J. Byrd being suspended for a game. The duo was involved in an incident at a West Lafayette, Ind., bar that resulted in Byrd being arrested on suspicion of public intoxication early Friday. Purdue (17-9 overall, 7-6 Big Ten) plays host to Michigan State on Sunday.
It has been an interesting week, with the league title chase coming into sharper focus with Michigan State’s big win at Ohio State. It will come down to Sparty vs. Brutus for the title, which is what we thought would happen back in October. So, it looks like the other Big Ten teams are relegated to a chase for third place.
Purdue picked up a huge victory for their at-large profile at Illinois on Wednesday. This game was mostly decided in the first half, as the Boilers jumped out to a 13-point lead after 16 minutes. Bruce Weber’s team couldn’t stop the smaller Purdue lineup, and it failed to take advantage at the other end by getting the ball to Meyers Leonard. From that point forward, the Illini played much better, even using a triangle-and-two to good effect in the second half, but the Boilers would never fully relinquish their lead. The split of the efficiencies tells the story of too little, too late:
What better way to end your work week than by getting caught up on all the Big Ten news right here? Selection Sunday is March 11. Until then, here’s a projection of the NCAA field from one of the smartest men in the business, Mike Huguenin of Yahoo! Sports.