Big Ten

Big Ten basketball roundup: Spartans, Purdue are nation's only 11-0 teams


Big Ten basketball roundup: Spartans, Purdue are nation's only 11-0 teams

A roundup of Big Ten basketball action from Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015:

Illinois 83, UIC 79

The Illini struggled early, missing a boatload of shots, and blew an 11-point halftime lead, allowing a 14-0 second-half run to go from up 10 to down four. The teams took turns taking leads before a Jalen Coleman-Lands 3 with four and a half minutes left gave the Illini a lead, and they didn’t trail again thanks to nine points from Malcolm Hill over the final four minutes. Illinois shot 60 percent in the second half and got 22 points from Hill and 15 from Coleman-Lands. The win put the Illini above .500 for the first time this season.

Indiana 105, McNeese State 60

The Hoosiers scored 50-plus in both halves, cruising past the Cowboys with a 51.3-percent to 31.7 percent shooting advantage. Indiana made 13 3-pointers, while McNeese State was just 4-for-22. James Blackmon Jr. made five of them himself, scoring a game-high 24 points. Thomas Bryant was a rebound shy of a double-double with 18 points and nine rebounds. Troy Williams, Yogi Ferrell and Max Bielfeldt were all in double figures, too.

Maryland 77, Maryland-Eastern Shore 56

The Terps led by just six at the half but opened the second half on a 19-6 run and cruised from there. Maryland shot 51.1 percent on the game and went 21-for-24 from the free-throw line. Melo Trimble and Jared Nickens each hit four 3-pointers, Trimble finishing with 18 points and Nickens with 12. Diamond Stones added 12 points off the bench, and Rasheed Sulaimon had 10 assists.

[MORE BIG TEN: Northwestern improves to 8-1 after pounding Chicago State]

Michigan 80, Delaware State 33

Playing for the first time since Spike Albrecht announced his retirement, Michigan rolled past Delaware State, allowing just 18 points in the first half and only 15 in the second half. The Wolverines shot 52.5 percent from the field, while the Hornets shot just 24 percent. Six Michigan players scored in double figures: Caris LeVert (15), Zak Irvin (12), Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman (11), Duncan Robinson (11), Ricky Doyle (10) and Kameron Chatman (10).

Michigan State 58, Florida 52

The Spartans held a modest lead most of the first half, a 6-0 Gators run tying the game at one point, and it was just two points at halftime. Things stayed close, and Florida took its first lead of the game thanks to a 7-0 run. But Michigan State clamped down on defense, Florida scoring just five points in the final seven minutes. A Matt Costello bucket inside of seven minutes to play gave the Spartans the lead for good as they closed the game on a 12-5 run. Both teams shot horrendously: Michigan State at 36.8 percent and Florida at 33.3 percent. Denzel Valentine had 17 points, and Bryn Forbes had 12. The two combined to go 4-for-18 from 3.

Oklahoma State 62, Minnesota 60

It was a closely contested game throughout, just a two-point Minnesota advantage at halftime, but Oklahoma State created a small bit of breathing room with a 16-4 run early in the second half. The Gophers chipped the lead down to two in the game’s late stages but couldn’t string together stops and makes, Carlos Morris missing a 3 with 16 seconds left that would’ve given his team the lead. Minnesota shot just 34.5 percent from the field, going 4-for-22 from 3 and missing nine free throws.

[MORE BIG TEN: Illini sweat out win over UIC to move above .500]

Connecticut 75, Ohio State 55

The Buckeyes are back under .500 after getting crushed by UConn. Ohio State shot just 35.7 percent, while UConn shot a dazzling 60.4 percent from the field. The Buckeyes actually outscored the Huskies in the second half, but a 21-point halftime deficit meant no chance at a comeback. Jae’Sean Tate and Marc Loving each scored in double figures, combining for 29 points.

Penn State 54, Louisiana Monroe 50

Neither team scored 30 in either half in this low-scoring affair. Penn State shot just 32.7 percent and went just 3-for-20 from 3-point range. But the Nittany Lions went on an 11-4 run over a four-minute span late in the game and clung to their lead down the stretch to hold on. The Lions were outshot, out-rebounded by 16 and missed 10 free throws, but the Warhawks turned the ball over 18 times. Brandon Taylor had 16 points for Penn State, and Payton Banks had 10.

Purdue 95, Youngstown State 64

Another rout for the Boilermakers, who improved to 11-0 with the win. Purdue shot 55 percent from the field — assisting on 26 of its 33 made baskets — and held Youngstown State to just 34.8-percent shooting. A.J. Hammons had a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds (also blocking three shots), while Caleb Swanigan also had 15 points, Isaac Haas had 13 points and Rapheal Davis had 13 points, hitting a trio of 3-pointers.

[MORE BIG TEN: Illini finally over .500, but rocky start to season continues]

George Washington 83, Rutgers 49

Rutgers got crushed, outscored in the first half by 22 points. The Knights were limited to just 34-percent shooting and turned the ball over a jaw-dropping 22 times as the Colonials had an incredible 18 steals. Bishop Daniels and Mike Williams were the lone Rutgers representatives in double figures, Daniels scoring 12 off the bench and Williams totaling 11 points.

Marquette 57, Wisconsin 55

Marquette led by as many as 14 in the second half before a 12-4 Wisconsin run sliced that down to four. Four minutes later, a Bronson Koenig triple got the margin down to two, and a Vitto Brown bucket tied the game at 53 with a minute and a half to play. Marquette took a two-point lead with 27 seconds left before Nigel Hayes missed a pair of shots and the Badgers couldn’t corral a rebound on a missed free throw. Marquette shot 52.2 percent on the game. Zak Showalter had a double-double for Wisconsin, scoring 10 points and grabbing 10 rebounds, while Brown finished with a team-high 15 points as the Badgers lost on their home floor for the third time this season.

[SHOP BIG TEN: Get your Spartans gear right here]

A roundup of Big Ten basketball action from Sunday, Dec. 13, 2015:

Nebraska 70, Rhode Island 67

The Huskers trailed by 11 in the first half and by nine with eight and a half minutes to go. But a 9-2 run cut that margin down to a basket, and the game was tied a couple minutes later. The Rams took a two-point lead with three minutes left, but a Benny Parker 3 with 1:14 to go gave the Huskers a 67-65 lead they didn’t relinquish. Nebraska shot 51.2 percent from the field and made 20 free throws, getting 19 points form Shavon Shields and 17 from Glynn Watson Jr.

Northwestern 77, Chicago State 35

The Cats closed the first half on a 15-2 run, creating all the distance they needed in this blowout. Northwestern allowed just 13 first-half points, only 20 in the second half, shooting 51.8 percent on the night and hitting 15 3-pointers. Tre Demps had 23 points with five made 3s, and Nathan Taphorn scored 11 points. Northwestern is one of just four Big Ten teams with one or fewer losses on the season.

See how they stack up: Week 12 college football top 25 rankings


See how they stack up: Week 12 college football top 25 rankings

With Week 12 in the books, here’s my top 25:

1. Oklahoma (10-1)

Still the team with the best resume in the country, no one can compete with OU’s wins over TCU, Ohio State and Oklahoma State, the latter two coming away from Norman. Baker Mayfield might not be a choir boy, but he’s the best player in the nation.

2. Miami (10-0)

You might think that being down 28-14 to Virginia in the second half was cringe-worthy, but the Canes made up for things by storming back with 30 unanswered points. Now they finally have to go away from South Florida for the first time since almost losing to North Carolina last month.

3. Alabama (11-0)

Tide gonna roll. But this Cupcake Weekend in the SEC has got to stop. While teams in other conferences are slugging it out against rivals, Bama gets to take a day off against Mercer? It’s just not fair. Also, Bama’s schedule is so soft, there’s no way it deserves to be the No. 1 team in the country.

4. Georgia (10-1)

The Dawgs should wrap an 11-1 regular season this weekend against Georgia Tech. But the SEC title game presents a kind of no-win scenario: undefeated Alabama or Auburn, who throttled Georgia earlier this month.

5. Wisconsin (11-0)

You didn’t need Wisconsin to do what it did to Iowa and Michigan to prove it had one of the best defenses in the country — but that sure didn’t help. Stockpiling national love with those two wins, a win in the Big Ten title game figures to make the Badgers a Playoff lock.

6. Clemson (10-1)

Why’d Kelly Bryant have to go and get hurt for that Syracuse game? The Tigers would be No. 1 and the undisputed best team in the country. Still, though, a win over Miami in the ACC title game ought to get the champs back into the Playoff.

7. Auburn (9-2)

Great job pounding Louisiana-Monroe, Tigers. You shall not escape the wrath over Cupcake Weekend in the SEC. That dumb game aside, Auburn and Alabama will meet in a titanic Iron Bowl this weekend with a trip to the SEC title game on the line — and perhaps a Playoff spot, as well.

8. Ohio State (9-2)

Not that pummeling Illinois is any big deal, but the Buckeyes are still alive in this thing and look like a team capable of making some Playoff noise. First, Ohio State has to win The Game and then the Big Ten title game to knock out undefeated Wisconsin.

9. Notre Dame (9-2)

Out of the Playoff chase thanks to that loss at Miami, Notre Dame squeaked by Navy this past weekend. Hope a New Year’s Six bowl game is enough for the Irish. We know it’s not enough for those ND fans. So maybe join a conference? Just saying.

10. TCU (9-2)

The Frogs can still make their mark on the Playoff race, even if they can’t get in themselves. The Big 12 title game will almost surely be TCU’s attempt at revenge on Oklahoma. Unfortunately, if revenge does come, it will probably cannibalize the conference’s Playoff hopes, too.

11. Penn State (9-2)

Why Penn State gave up 44 points to Nebraska, I do not know. What I do know is that probably no one cared because Penn State is going to go down as the most inconsequential 10-2 team of all-time. Such a bummer considering the preseason expectations for both the team and Saquon Barkley.

12. USC (10-2)

Yeah, I guess there’s still a way for USC to make the Playoff, but it’s hard to imagine that madness unfolding, even in the oft-mad college football. The Trojans get the winner of the Apple Cup in the Pac-12 title game.

13. UCF (10-0)

Finally we get our much-anticipated UCF-USF showdown this weekend. Make it count, Knights. This is probably gonna be Scott Frost’s last regular-season game in Orlando.

14. Washington (9-2)

It’s hard to say who has the edge in the Apple Cup, but certainly the stakes are high, with the winner going off to play USC in the Pac-12 title game. Can either team make the Playoff? Well, probably not, no.

15. Washington State (9-2)

Is this it for Mike Leach on The Palouse? He could be a hot candidate this offseason and leave for perceived greener pastures. Winning the Apple Cup would go a long way toward making that happen.

16. Mississippi State (8-3)

A win in the Egg Bowl means a 9-3 regular season for the Bulldogs with their three losses coming against three top-10 teams.

17. Oklahoma State (8-3)

Poor Okie State has been so good all year and had two losses to the two best teams in its conference, and then it went and lost to K-State for some ridiculous reason. The Mullet deserved better in 2017.

18. Northwestern (8-3)

The Cats are the fourth-best team in the Big Ten, simple as that, with wins over Michigan State and Iowa and conference losses to Wisconsin and Penn State. As commendable an effort as you’ll find in a highly competitive league. Plus, Fitz’s team is on a six-game win streak that could end up extending to eight.

19. Stanford (8-3)

Already with a win over Washington, Stanford could close the regular season with two wins over top-10 teams in its final three games. Also Bryce Love is back in the groove after back-to-back 100-yard games.

20. Memphis (9-1)

The Tigers have lost just one game all season, to the best Group of Five team out there. Heck of a season by Memphis.

21. Michigan State (8-3)

A 17-7 win over Maryland couldn't have been the most exciting way for anyone to spend their weekend. Sparty's had a mighty fine season, though, considering how badly things went in 2016.

22. LSU (8-3)

The SEC has seemingly gotten increasingly better as the year has progressed, with LSU and Mississippi State making for a solid-enough middle tier. But remember when LSU lost to Troy? That wasn’t good.

23. South Florida (9-1)

If not for that loss to Houston, USF’s showdown with UCF this weekend would be for Group of Five supremacy. Even without that, though, this should be a highly entertaining affair.

24. Virginia Tech (8-3)

The Hokies have a chance to salvage their tumble at the close of the season with a win at Virginia. But given how well the Cavs played at Miami this past weekend, a VT win is no sure thing.

25. Iowa State (7-4)

I understand the math and all, but can't the Big 12 just suspend its rules and send Iowa State to the title game? We all want to see the OU-ISU rematch. Why are you preventing us from being happy, Big 12?

See how they stack up: Week 11 college football top 25 rankings


See how they stack up: Week 11 college football top 25 rankings

With Week 11 in the books, here’s my top 25:

1. Oklahoma (9-1)

The Sooners probably won’t be No. 1 in the Playoff rankings, as the committee will almost surely move Bama up a notch. But OU has an incredible resume, one much better than the Tide’s, with wins over Ohio State, TCU and Okie State. No one in the country can compete with those wins.

2. Miami (9-0)

The Canes are too legit to quit after pulverizing Notre Dame on Saturday night. That signature win teamed with the prior week’s win over Virginia Tech makes that near loss to lowly North Carolina seem like forever ago. Welcome to Miami, indeed.

3. Alabama (10-0)

A great win on Saturday night by the Tide in what seemed like their first actual game of the season. The schedule has been soft as silk, but now Auburn’s status as an SEC juggernaut makes the Iron Bowl a colossal clash.

4. Georgia (9-1)

Knocked off the top of the college football mountain, the Dawgs still deserve to be in the Playoff field, just a one-loss team with that one loss coming to another top team and that still-excellent win at Notre Dame. The resume’s still there, but now the SEC title game will be for all the marbles.

5. Wisconsin (10-0)

Bucky’s sitting pretty after making Iowa look like an FCS team on Saturday — especially impressive considering what Iowa did the week prior. Expect Michigan and Minnesota to provide decent enough challenges, but it seems like Wisconsin’s set up for a Big Ten title-game date with Ohio State.

6. Clemson (9-1)

Miami is the king of the ACC, but thankfully the ACC title game looks to be a Playoff play-in game between the Tigers and Canes. The champs still have as good a shot at this thing as anyone.

7. Auburn (8-2)

Two-loss Auburn in the Playoff? It’s not crazy at all after what the Tigers did to Georgia on Saturday, destroying the No. 1 team in the country and setting up what will be another titanic Iron Bowl meeting with Bama.

8. Notre Dame (8-2)

The Irish’s Playoff hopes sank like a ship in Biscayne Bay thanks to the demolition Miami dolled out on Saturday night. ND’s resume is still fine — two losses to two Playoff-caliber teams. But with no conference title to play for, a two-loss ND team might as well be a six-loss ND team.

9. Ohio State (8-2)

Guess who's still lurking in the Playoff race? It seemed Brutus was dead as could be after getting woodshedded by Iowa last weekend, but then Ohio State put a whooping on Michigan State and everyone’s ears perked up again. Appearing destined for the Big Ten title game, things could get interesting.

10. TCU (8-2)

The Frogs will most likely still get a crack at a Big 12 title — and revenge on the Sooners, who picked em apart on Saturday — but the Playoff might be out of the cards now.

11. Oklahoma State (8-2)

You know who’s still really good despite having losses to the two top teams in the Big 12? Okie State. That was some game between the Pokes and the ‘Clones on Saturday. If only the Mullet could be unleashed on the Playoff. Alas.

12. USC (9-2)

Dramatically overrated in the last batch of Playoff rankings, the Trojans now seem to be the cream of the unimpressive Pac-12 after Washington’s loss. All sorts of madness would have to occur in order for USC — or any Pac-12 team — to land in the final four.

13. Penn State (8-2)

Great job beating up on Rutgers this weekend, Penn State. Now what? With games against Nebraska and Maryland left, will any preseason favorite (outside Florida State, of course) get less attention down the stretch than the Lions?

14. UCF (9-0)

Central Florida is that Group of Five team this year. If it beats USF in the regular-season finale, people you know will be like, “Why shouldn’t UCF be in the Playoff?” And you’ll just have to give them a look and walk away.

15. Washington State (9-2)

Wazzu has to win one game and it’ll play USC for a Pac-12 title. Despite the lack of Playoff stakes, the Cougs winning a conference championship would be a pretty big deal.

16. Washington (8-2)

Of course, standing in Wazzu’s way is Washington, which tripped up against Stanford and could follow up last year’s Playoff appearance with absolutely nothing.

17. NC State (7-3)

The ACC and SEC seemed to have flipped roles overnight. The once-mediocre SEC now has three playoff-caliber teams and a couple other decent ones. The once-awesome ACC now has two of the best teams in the country and then … NC State.

18. Mississippi State (7-3)

The Bulldogs put up one heck of a fight against Bama on Saturday, and if it wasn’t for that ridiculous sequence of play-calling following Bama’s missed field goal, they might have won. Oh well.

19. LSU (7-3)

LSU beat Arkansas on Saturday, which isn’t a terribly difficult thing to do. 2017 will go down as a “what if” year for the Bayou Bengals. As in, what if they hadn’t lost to Troy?

20. Stanford (7-3)

Two of Stanford’s losses have come against ranked teams. It’s now beaten Washington and could beat Notre Dame in two weeks. It has one of the best running backs in America. So shouldn’t Stanford be better?

21. Memphis (8-1)

Since losing at UCF, Memphis has rolled everyone, winning five straight by an average of 47.8-27.2. Good job, Memphis.

22. Arizona (7-3)

The Wildcats are 7-3 this season and have scored at least 45 points in every one of those wins. That includes last weekend’s win over Oregon State, in which Khalil Tate ran for 206 yards and two touchdowns. Dude's good.

23. Northwestern (7-3)

Meow. The Cats are winners of five straight, even if their overtime streak came to an end. The quest for a 9-3 finish is on, with only Minnesota and lowly Illinois left on the regular-season schedule.

24. Michigan State (7-3)

Two losses in three weeks for Sparty, who got absolutely steamrolled by Ohio State this past weekend. Michigan State will likely be rooting for Michigan in The Game as it would figure to wrap its regular season with wins over Maryland and Rutgers.

25. West Virginia (7-3)

The ‘Neers have only lost to Virginia Tech, TCU and Okie State, which is not too bad. But that’s a couple losses too many in the high-flying Big 12.

Others receiving votes:

Virginia Tech (7-3)

Things have bottomed out for the Hokies, who have lost back-to-back road games to Miami and Georgia Tech after a 7-1 start. Without the loss to the Jackets, Virginia Tech’s resume would look real nice. But alas.

Iowa State (6-4)

There was almost another Attack of the ‘Clones this past weekend in a thriller with Okie State. But the Pokes came out on top, sending Iowa State to its fourth loss. That dream Big 12 title game featuring the ‘Clones? A fantasy. Sigh.

Michigan (8-2)

Michigan only has two losses, which means it has to be kinda good, right? Well, it’s lost its only two games against ranked teams and its best win is Florida, so … no, I guess not.

South Florida (8-1)

Way to beat UConn, South Florida.