Big Ten

Big Ten hoops roundup: Michigan wins 2K Classic, Spartans survive FGCU scare


Big Ten hoops roundup: Michigan wins 2K Classic, Spartans survive FGCU scare

A roundup of Big Ten basketball games from this past weekend:

Friday, Nov. 18

Michigan 76, Southern Methodist 54

The Wolverines won the 2K Classic with two mighty impressive wins in New York. Thursday, Michigan bested Marquette by 18, and this one was a 22-point win over SMU. The Wolverines shot 52.9 percent from the field and splashed home 13 3-pointers. Derrick Walton Jr. had a monster game, hitting seven of those 13 triples. He finished with a game-high 23 points to go along with his six assists. Zak Irvin and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman also scored in double figures with 16 and 12 points, respectively.

Purdue 64, Georgia State 56

The Boilermakers were in unexpected trouble in this one, but they closed the game on a 20-point run to come back and beat the Panthers. Georgia State extended its lead to 12 with a little more than seven minutes to play, but Purdue scored the last 20 points, connecting on five of its last six shots and hitting seven of 11 free-throw tries. The Boilers shot an ugly 37.8 percent from the field and made only five of 22 shots from 3-point range. But Purdue had a massive edge at the free-throw line, despite missing 12 from the stripe, going 25-for-37 compared to Georgia State’s 7-for-11 mark. Caleb Swanigan made nine of those free throws and led the way with 19 points and 11 rebounds for his second double-double of the young season.

Minnesota 92, St. John’s 86

Amir Coffey scored 30 points in leading the Gophers to their fourth win in four games this season, this one coming against a major-conference foe. Coffey was 9-for-14 from the field and 11-for-12 at the free-throw line, also grabbing four rebounds and coming away with a pair of steals. Three other Minnesota players scored in double figures: Dupree McBrayer had 18, Nate Mason had 13 and Jordan Murphy had 12. The Gophers limited the Johnnies to just 36.7-percent shooting and only turned the ball over six times.

Michigan State 100, Mississippi Valley State 53

Bouncing back from their defeat in the Champions Classic, the Spartans beat up on the Delta Devils, hitting the century mark with monstrous scoring advantages in each half. Michigan State was automatic, shooting 66.1 percent from the field and connecting on 16 of 28 3-point shots. The Spartans grabbed 46 rebounds and dished out 33 assists, making insignificant the fact that they turned the ball over 14 times. After shouldering the blame for the blowout loss to Kentucky, Miles Bridges was terrific in this one, posting a double-double with 24 points and 11 rebounds, also handing out six assists. Eron Harris and Matt McQuaid each had five makes from 3-point range and finished with 19 and 15 points, respectively. Nick Ward scored 18 points off the bench.

Illinois 89, Detroit Mercy 69

The Illini had little trouble with the visiting Titans, shooting 51.9 percent from the field and running away with things during a 50-point second half. Malcolm Hill was the high man with 25 points, hitting four 3-pointers, going 9-for-11 from the free-throw line and grabbing six rebounds. Tracy Abrams (15), Jaylon Tate (12) and Mike Thorne Jr. (11) also scored in double figures.

Saturday, Nov. 19

Duke 78, Penn State 68

The Nittany Lions led the No. 1 team in the country by a point three minutes in, but that’s the last lead they’d have. Predictably, Duke didn’t take long to build a sizable lead on Penn State, up by double digits midway through the first half, ahead by 12 at halftime and holding a lead as big as 17 in the early stages of the second half. Give the Lions credit for battling back, whittling that 17-point deficit down to nine with a 15-7 run at one point. But they never got closer than eight before time ran out. Both teams shot better than 50 percent after halftime, but Penn State was buried by a 30-percent first half. Four Lions scored in double figures: Tony Carr had 20 points, Shep Garner had 15, Payton Banks had 13 and Lamar Stevens had 11.

Indiana 87, Liberty 48

The Hoosiers shot 60.9 percent from the field on the game and cruised past Liberty, holding the visitors to just 19 first-half points. Though Indiana turned the ball over an eye-popping 26 times, it did destroy on the boards, winning the rebounding battle 55-20. James Blackmon Jr. led the way for the Hoosiers with 20 points, hitting five 3s and nearly recording a double-double with nine rebounds. OG Anunoby did have a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds, and Robert Johnson scored in double figures with 13 points.

Nebraska 65, Louisiana Tech 54

The Huskers didn’t win in pretty fashion, getting out-rebounded and shooting just 37.3 percent from the field. But a win’s a win, as they say, and Nebraska won this one thanks in part to knocking down 21 of its 24 attempts from the free-throw line. Tai Webster and Jack McVeigh combined for 44 points, scoring career highs with 23 and 21, respectively. Webster was 11-for-12 from the free-throw line, while McVeigh went 4-for-6 from 3-point range.

Sunday, Nov. 20

Michigan State 78, Florida Gulf Coast 77

Controversy surrounded the ending of this one, clouding what was a ridiculously close game down the stretch. Michigan State had a one-point lead with three seconds left, only for Eron Harris, who was otherwise terrific, to miss two straight free-throw attempts, giving FGCU a shot at the win. After Miles Bridges batted down one baseball-pass attempt, the Eagles got one off with one second remaining, and a game-winning try was missed. But hold everything, apparently the clock operator started the clock before the ball was touched, and FGCU was livid, screaming for another try. But, as the FGCU head coach reported after the game, the rules allow the refs to review the clock only if the shot had gone in. Crazy finish. The Spartans had a modest lead throughout much of the second half before an 11-2 charge by the Eagles turned a five-point Michigan State lead into a four-point FGCU lead with under four minutes to go. From there, Harris hit two huge 3s to twice tie the game. A couple free throws put the Spartans in front briefly, but an Eagles layup tied the game at 73 with under a minute to play. Two more baskets were traded before Cassius Winston split a pair of free throws to put Sparty in front, and that lead grew to three with a pair of Miles Bridges free throws. FGCU got a layup with eight seconds left before Harris’ missed free throws and the nutty ending. Michigan State shot 55 percent from the field on the game but got beat up in the rebounding battle and missed 14 of its 33 free-throw tries. Harris did yeoman’s work with 31 points, going 6-for-6 from 3-point range. Bridges, with 13 points, was the only other Spartan in double figures.

Maryland 71, Towson 66

The Terps struggled mightily with Towson and trailed by as many as 13 in the early stages of the second half. Thankfully for Mark Turgeon’s crew, that 13-point deficit got bumped down to two with a 12-1 run. Anthony Cowan and Justin Jackson each had game-tying baskets with under eight-minutes to play, and a go-ahead 3 by Melo Trimble with six and a half minutes left gave the Terps their first lead in more than 17 minutes of play. The game was tied a couple more times in the final minutes, but Maryland never trailed again, Trimble hitting a pair of free throws with 36 seconds left to break the final tie. Trimble and Jackson did most of the heavy lifting, production-wise, with both guys scoring in double figures in each half. Trimble finished with 27 points, going just 3-for-10 from deep but making 16 of his 17 free-throw attempts. Jackson was 5-for-7 from 3-point range and finished with 21 points.

Cincinnati 71, Penn State 50

The Nittany Lions were trounced by the Bearcats, scoring just 19 points in the first half. Cincy shot 50 percent on the game, while Penn State shot just 34.7 percent, also getting beat in the rebounding battle, turning the ball over 19 times and making just five of 20 3-point attempts. Shep Garner had a team-high 20 points but was 7-for-16 from the field and 4-for-11 from deep. Tony Carr scored in double figures, too, with 10 points.

Iowa 95, Texas Rio Grande Valley 67

The Hawkeyes trounced the visiting Vaqueros, shooting better than 50 percent on the game. Peter Jok hit five 3-pointers and finished with 27 points. Tyler Cook had 15 points, with Isaiah Moss and Brady Ellingson coming off the bench to score 14 and 11, respectively.

Rutgers 78, Niagara 65

Nigel Johnson scored 20 points to lead the Scarlet Knights, also stuffing the stat sheet with five assists, four rebounds and three steals. Mike Williams was the only other Rutgers player in double figures with 12 points. The Knights held the visiting Purple Eagles to just 30.5-percent shooting.

Northwestern set to play Wisconsin at Wrigley Field in 2020

Northwestern set to play Wisconsin at Wrigley Field in 2020

Weeks will separate a perfect 10-year anniversary where Northwestern will play at Wrigley Field for one of its regular season games in the upcoming years.

Back on Nov. 20, 2010, the Wildcats battled it out with Illinois, known as the “Wrigleyville Classic,” which saw the Illini take a 48-27 win.

Even though it’s still two years out, Northwestern still planned ahead and announced its opponent for its game at Wrigley Field on Nov. 7, 2020, against Big Ten rival Wisconsin.

“Obviously an exciting opportunity for our football program to come back to Wrigley Field, one of the Cathedrals of sporting venues in the world,” Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said. “When I announced it to our team, they were absolutely ecstatic.”

“The opportunity to play at Wrigley field is unique to us, being Chicago’s Big Ten team, and to have the chance to come down and play in an atmosphere like we did a few years back was a bowl game type atmosphere, and I look forward to this special opportunity.”

This game though will be a little different than it was back in 2010. Both the Wildcats and Illini played toward the west end zone due to a tight squeeze near the right field wall due to box seats that were added down the third base line.

Now, Northwestern and Wisconsin do not have to worry about that problem because the bullpens have since moved to the outfield.

Cubs president of business operations Crane Kenney spoke at a news conference earlier on Tuesday at Wrigley.

“So excited to welcome back Northwestern to Wrigley Field to talk about football again,” Kenney said. “We had an incredible experience with them back in 2010."

Kenney also mentioned new seating is on a temporary platform that can all be removed and the dugout tops can be removed as well, and the field will expand west, to allow for a longer field.

With a sellout crowd in the last go around for the Wildcats, don’t be surprised for another sellout at the Friendly Confines.

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?