Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, February 1, 2016

The Big Ten race is bunched at the top, with Iowa, Indiana, Maryland and Michigan leading the pack. And keep an eye on Purdue.

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Here is a look back at the week that was.

Biggest surprise: Wisconsin. Don?t count out the Badgers from returning to the Big Dance just yet. Greg Gard?s program ended Indiana?s 12-game winning streak last week and followed that with a win at Illinois. That?s four wins in a row for UW.

Biggest disappointment: Nebraska. The Cornhuskers entered last week white hot, winners of four in a row. But the Huskers laid an egg at home vs. Michigan. Then got whipped at Purdue. A split would have helped Nebraska?s sagging NCAA hopes.

Top play: At one point in the second half of Purdue?s win at Minnesota on Wednesday, A.J. Hammons grabbed a rebound with one hand. Why not two? The 7-foot senior was hanging onto his shoe, which had come off in the scramble around the basket, with the other one.

Top stat line: A.J. Hammons scored a career-best 32 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, leading No. 21 Purdue to an 89-74 victory over Nebraska on Saturday. The senior big man hit 14-of-17 shots and had five assists and four blocks with a steal in 29 minutes.

Top stat: Tom Izzo passes Gene Keady. The Michigan State coach passed Gene Keady for second place on the all-time Big Ten wins list with his 513th career victory on Thursday at Northwestern. Bob Knight is No. 1 with 661.

Top moment: Purdue honors 1994-96 Big Ten championship teams. The Boilermakers honored the conference's last outright three-peat team Saturday, and introduced legendary coach Gene Keady and members of the three championship clubs at halftime. Another cool wrinkle: Purdue warmed up in its usual home uniform before coming out in a 1994-inspired throwback for the game.

Top dunk: Jake Layman alley-oop at Ohio State. At first blush, it didn't look like anything special. After the replays, and seeing how Rasheed Sulaimon's alley was off the mark and how Layman had to readjust in mid-air, this was a fantastic flush.

Did you see this? Nigel Hayes delivers message to Indiana. Following Hayes' 31-point effort in an 82-79 overtime win vs. No. 19 Indiana on Tuesday, the Wisconsin junior was caught saying, "Nobody on your team can guard me." in the handshake line. He was right on this night, going 7 of 12 from the field and hitting 17 of 22 free throws.

Did you see this, part II? Corey Sanders gets fancy on inbound pass. Every so often a player attempts it, and when executed successfully, it's always a pretty cool highlight. I'm talking about the off-the-opponent's-back inbound pass, which the Rutgers talented freshman pulled off at Michigan State.

Laces for Lacey: Notice all of the gold shoelaces on Big Ten coaching staff's shoes this past week? It was for Coaches vs. Cancer Week, and more specifically to honor Lacey Holsworth, the young Michigan State fan who captured the hearts of the nation before dying from nueroblastoma in April 2014. It wasn't just Big Ten teams who got in on the act, either; no, coaches staffs across the country honored Holsworth.



Stock up: Michigan. The Wolverines have won four in a row, solidifying their status as an NCAA team. And Michigan has done this without its best player: Caris LeVert, who is out with injury. The Wolverines have two big games this week at home: Indiana and Michigan State.

Stock down: Northwestern. Remember when some opined that perhaps the Wildcats could breakthrough to the program?s first NCAA bid? Well, that possibility has faded. NU has suffered five losses in a row. On Jan. 12, Northwestern was 15-3 overall and 3-2 in the Big Ten. Now, the Wildcats are 15-8/3-7.



Denzel Valentine made five of Michigan State's season-high 16 3-pointers, and the 12th-ranked Spartans clamped down on sliding Northwestern for a 76-45 victory Thursday night.

Derrick Walton had 13 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists for the Wolverines in a 79-72 victory over Penn State at Madison Square Garden on Saturday.

Nigel Hayes scored 31 points, Ethan Happ added 25 and the Badgers snapped No. 19 Indiana's 12-game winning streak with an 82-79 victory in overtime on Tuesday night in Madison.

Peter Jok tallied 26 points-and Jarrod Uthoff added 23-as Iowa drubbed visiting Northwestern, 85-71, on Sunday. Jok added five rebounds with an assist and steal. Uthoff also had six boards with three blocks and two steals. Hat?s off to Northwestern?s Tre Demps, who had 30 points in the loss.

Robert Carter Jr. and Rasheed Sulaimon each scored 17 points, and No. 8 Maryland used a late charge to beat Iowa 74-68 on Thursday night, ending the Hawkeyes' nine-game winning streak.

Melo Trimble scored 20 points, Jake Layman added 16 points and 10 rebounds, and No. 8 Maryland beat Ohio State 66-61 on Sunday.

Indiana freshman big man Thomas Bryant had a career-high 23 points, grabbed eight rebounds and scored the go-ahead basket on a putback with 1:56 left to help No. 19 Indiana fend off Minnesota's frantic second-half rally for a 74-68 victory on Saturday.

Vince Edwards scored 24 points and grabbed eight rebounds to help No. 21 Purdue hang on for a 68-64 victory on Wednesday night. Edwards needed to step up with Caleb Swanigan (ankle) and Kendall Stephens (personal) out.

Duncan Robinson scored 10 of his 18 points during the first half when the Wolverines were sluggish in a 68-57 win over Rutgers on Wednesday night.

Yogi Ferrell tallied 30 points, but Indiana still lost at Wisconsin in OT, 82-79.



Michigan State hit 33 3-pointers in a pair of wins, netting a season-high 16 at Northwestern on Thursday, only to follow it up with a program record-tying 17 vs. Rutgers on Sunday.

Malcolm Hill and Kendrick Nunn, who entered the week averaging 18.7 and 17.5 points a game, respectively, are one of only two pairs of teammates in the country averaging at least 17 points a game each. Duke's Grayson Allen (20.3) and Brandon Ingram (17.1) are the other two.

Northwestern just finished a run of four games vs. ranked foes, the first time NU has had such a run since 1989-90. In Sunday's loss at Iowa, Tre Demps poured in a career-high 30 points.

Prior to the Rutgers games on Wednesday, Michigan coach John Beilein says he lost his scouting report. No worries. The Wolverines will won, 68-57.

Rutgers had a chance to make things interesting in the final minute at Michigan on Wednesday after Michigan's Zak Irvin missed the front end of a 1-and-1 opportunity at the line. But Rutgers' Greg Lewis got the rebound and obliviously tossed the ball to an official out of bounds.

"That would've been a first as well," John Beilein said. "That was a fortunate play for us. I knew it was a 1-and-1 because I looked up. It was an eight-point game. That was a tough break for them."

Said RU coach Eddie Jordan: "I guess Greg thought he heard, `two shots,' and he handed the ball to the official. That's one little snafu in a 40-minute game. They're college kids."

Maryland is 14-0 at home vs. Big Ten teams since joining the league; its also 10-0 after a loss over the past two seasons.

Purdue is the only team in the nation to outrebound every opposing team this season.

The Cornhuskers entered Saturday's game at Purdue having won three consecutive Big Ten road games ? but lost. Nebraska has not won four consecutive league road games since the 1975-76 season.

Minnesota has lost 11 in a row 15 of its last 16 Big Ten regular-season games.

The Michigan-Penn State game on Saturday was part of the Big Ten Super Saturday. The schools met in basketball in the afternoon and then in hockey at night. The basketball attendance was 12,108.

Iowa?s four losses this season have been by a combined 18 points.

Michigan has played the last eight games without Caris LeVert, out with a lower left leg injury. The Wolverines are 6-2.



"The chemistry and culture in the locker room has grown tighter and tighter. The cohesiveness and togetherness and how these guys are growing together is something that makes me extremely proud to be their coach." Wisconsin coach Greg Gard, after an 82-79 OT win vs. Indiana

?I feel like we?ve definitely grown up.? – Ohio State?s Trevor Thompson, who scored a team-high 16 points in a 68-63 OT win at Illinois on Thursday.

"It wasn't always pretty, but we played hard and we competed. Everybody that cares about Maryland basketball was in a panic, but we weren't. We didn't overreact. You could tell our guys were really ready to compete." – Maryland coach Mark Turgeon, after the Terps? win vs. Iowa on Thursday.

"As I'm learning more and more and I don't really say I like it, but you make a shot, it takes away all evils, and we made a lot of shots." – Michigan State?s Tom Izzo, after his team hit a season-high 16 3-pointers in a 76-45 win at Northwestern on Thursday.

?They expect us to win. That?s the way it should be.? – Mark Turgeon, who was glad fans didn?t rush the court after the win vs. Iowa


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