Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, February 8, 2015

Another week of Big Ten hoops is in the books. Get my recap of the best from the week that was on the Big Ten hardwood in below.


Biggest surprise: Illinois. How about the work of John Groce? He has Illinois rolling even though he hasn?t had the services of his best player, Rayvonte Rice, who hasn?t played since a loss at Ohio State on Jan. 3 due to injury and suspension. Since then, the Illini are 6-3 and bring a three-game winning streak into the week. Rice is averaging 17.2 points and 6.9 rebounds, both tops on the club. Malcolm Hill has stepped up, averaging 14.6 points and 5.3 rebounds in a breakout sophomore season. Illinois is just a game out of second place.

Biggest disappointment: Michigan State. The struggles continue for the Spartans, who are 3-3 in their last six Big Ten games and threatening to drop from relevancy in the conference chase. Even when the Spartans have won of late, it hasn?t always been impressive. To wit, MSU needed overtime to subdue Northwestern and Michigan and only beat Penn State by six. Are the Spartans in peril of missing the Big Dance for the first time since a two-year gap in 1996-97?

Top stat line: D'Angelo Russell, Ohio State. Yes, again. That's what happens when you record the first triple-double by an Ohio State freshman, the program's first vs. a Big Ten foe, and just the fourth in team history. Russell finished with 23 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists, plus he shot 62 percent (8-of-13), in Ohio State's easy win Sunday night at Rutgers.

Top moment: Jon Graham and Pat Chambers sharing an embrace before tip Wednesday night. Graham spent three seasons at Penn State before transferring to Maryland. To make the night even more special, Graham, who never scored more than 10 points at Penn State and who averaged 2.3 points entering the game, exploded for a career-high 16 points in the win. 

Did you see this? Illinois' Jaylon Tate was called for a dead-ball technical on the front-end of a Travis Trice 1-and-1 after backing into Trice in an attempt to box out the shooter. The ruling, which came after the referees went to the monitor, gave the Spartans two free throws and the ball, in addition to Trice's second attempt, with 33.2 seconds left and trailing 55-53. Michigan State made just one of the three free throws and didn't score on the out-of-bounds en route to a 59-54 loss to the Illini. The Spartans finished 7-of-18 at the line, showing why they entered the game 14th in the conference in free throws and 321st in the nation.

The reasoning for the technical foul? Check out this tweet.

And what about this? Iowa's Adam Woodbury poked Maryland's Melo Trimble in the eye in Sunday's victory, and he was hit with a Flagrant 1. Woodbury, of course, poked Wisconsin's Nigel Hayes and Frank Kaminsky in the eyes earlier this season. Trimble, who earlier in the game collided with a cameraman and took the camera to the face, left the game to get medical attention. He returned and scored a game-high 20 points.

Top dunk: Maryland's Dez Wells. You saw the powerful throw-down on Wednesday vs. Penn State, right? In fact, we may just retire the honor in Wells? name after this exhibition.

Also, we can't ignore what Troy Williams did Sunday afternoon in a win vs. Michigan. Check out this dunk montage!

And Sam Thompson's inbound alley-oops – yes, plural – were great, too. Watch those in the video at the top of the post.



Stock up: It?s Wisconsin?s world ? and everyone else is just living in it. The Badgers continued to roll on this past week, running their winning streak to six games with a pair of victories. Wisconsin is 21-2 overall and 9-1 in the Big Ten. Every other league team has at least four conference defeats. It's almost getting to the point where we can start wondering when Wisconsin will clinch the Big Ten title.

Stock down: Take your pick between Michigan and Maryland. The Wolverines, sans stars Caris LeVert and Derrick Walton Jr., have lost three in a row and four of their last five games after falling at Indiana on Sunday. To be fair, Michigan has been in nearly every game and is doing all it can despite its depleted roster. The Terrapins have lost three of their last five, and each of the defeats was in unimpressive fashion on the road. The two wins were closer-than-expected home victories over Northwestern and Penn State.



Troy Williams had 20 points and eight rebounds to lead Indiana to a 70-67 victory over Michigan on Sunday. He also scored 12 points and grabbed seven rebounds in Tuesday's loss at Wisconsin.

D'Angelo Russell triple-doubled (23 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists) at Rutgers, the first by an Ohio State freshman, and averaged 21.5 points, nine rebounds, eight assists and two steals in a 1-1 week.

A.J. Hammons shot 73 percent and averaged nine points, 8.5 rebounds and six blocks in a Purdue victory (vs. No. 20 Ohio State) and a defeat (at Minnesota).

Frank Kaminsky averaged 17.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, four assists and one block in easy Wisconsin victories over No. 25 Indiana and Northwestern.

Terran Petteway scored 28 points and Nebraska had its best shooting game of the season in a 76-60 victory over Northwestern on Tuesday night. He scored 13 points in Saturday's loss at Penn State to join the 1,000-point club.

Kendrick Nunn scored 21 points, grabbed six rebounds and dished our four assists to help Illinois survive a late rally against Rutgers on Tuesday, and he went for 14, 5 and 3 in Saturday's win at Michigan State.

Dez Wells scored 23 points and No. 16 Maryland edged Penn State 64-58 on Wednesday. The senior star added 12 points, three rebounds and four assists in Sunday's loss at Iowa.

Andre Hollins scored 18 points and added five rebounds, two assists and two steals to help Minnesota cool off surging Purdue on Saturday.

Malcolm Hill stayed hot, going for 34 points, 11 rebounds and four assists in Illinois wins vs. Rutgers and at Michigan State.

Adam Woodbury shot 69 percent and averaged 13.5 points, six rebounds and four assists in a pair of Iowa victories.



D'Angelo Russell's triple-double Sunday at Rutgers was the first by an Ohio State player since Evan Turner in 2009-2010.

A 60-58 win over No. 20 Ohio State on Wednesday was Purdue?s third in a row over a ranked team - the first time the Boilermakers had done that as an unranked team since early 1979.

Wisconsin guard Josh Gasser started his 127th career game Saturday, which set broke Alando Tucker's record for most in school history.

On Tuesday, Wisconsin won its 13th straight vs. Indiana at home, where the Badgers haven't lost to the Hoosiers since 1998.

Nebraska?s Terran Petteway became Nebraska's 27th 1,000-point scorer and the second to eclipse that mark last week (Shavon Shields did it Tuesday). If Petteway maintains his current averages of 19 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists, he will become one of just four Big Ten players since 2000 to accomplish that.

Minnesota has won two in a row for the first time in Big Ten play and three of four overall; it is 4-2 at home and 0-5 on the road in conference.

Illinois is 6-3 since Rayvonte Rice suffered a broken hand in January.

Since knocking off knocking off then-No. 4 Wisconsin in January, Rutgers has dropped eight straight decisions by an average of 13.5 points.

A 64-58 loss at Maryland on Wednesday made Penn State 0-6 on the road in the Big Ten, with five of those defeats by six points or fewer.

Iowa has road wins over North Carolina, Ohio State, Minnesota and Michigan.



"We're a little beat down, no question about it. We had a stretch of five games as gut-wrenching as you can have. We are what we are. We have one win. To me, I feel we should have four or five." – Northwestern coach Chris Collins, after his team?s losing skid hit eight games after a loss at Nebraska on Tuesday.

"I think we have really grown up. Beating three Top 25 teams is really good, but we can get better in a lot of areas." – Purdue guard Rapheal Davis, after leading the Boilers to a 60-58 win vs. No. 20 Ohio State on Wednesday.

"The two turnovers were unacceptable." – Ohio State coach Thad Matta, joking about D'Angelo Russell's triple-double

"To me it's utterly unacceptable. I'll take full and complete responsibility for it. Probably not the most disappointed I've been but the maddest I've been. I can't stomach it." – Michigan State coach Tom Izzo, after a 59-54 home loss to Illinois on Saturday.

"That's our story and we're getting tired of it. But it beats the alternative of giving in. So we're making progress. We're growing in both victory and defeat." – Michigan coach John Beilein, on dealing with depleted roster and close losses.

"Kids are resilient. We're going to wake up tomorrow and … look at our record and say 'Oh, we're 19-5 and 7-4.' You move on. It's a grind." – Maryland coach Mark Turgeon, after Maryland's loss Sunday at Iowa

"Next question. Ask an intelligent question." – Fran McCaffery, after being asked a third question about Adam Woodbury poking Melo Trimble in the eye

Here is McCaffery's full take on Woodbury's eye poking.


About Tom Dienhart senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men's basketball for and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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