Before getting into Thursday’s action, wow–what major upsets in the Big Ten:
Northwestern continues to tread water, but winning at Wisconsin raised some major eyebrows across the country. Led by the 10 for 15 shooting and season high 30 points from Drew Crawford, Northwestern overcame a sluggish first half to hold the Badgers to only 26.3 percent shooting (a rather anemic 15 for 57 from the field, 5 for 24 from long distance) in a 65-56 win.
The Wildcats pulled to within a half game of being tied for fourth in the conference with not only the Badgers, but also Minnesota. Their 11-11 record is good enough to be just 1/2 game ahead of perennial cellar dwellers in Penn State.
Speaking of Penn State, they won at the other impossible location for any road team to win in the Big Ten, at Ohio State. This was the first time since PSU entered the Big Ten in 1993 that both schools won on the road. D.J. Newbill’s three tied the game to send it into overtime and his pull-up jumper over Aaron Craft with two seconds to play won it in overtime 71-70. The bigger telling story in this upset at Columbus was having PSU shoot 28 of 58 (for 48.3%), while holding the Buckeyes to 21 of 55 shooting. Penn State also won the rebounding battle, 31-27. A major surprise was seeing Aaron Craft only score 8 points during the entire game.
Form held throughout the rest of the nation, in spite of several mid-major teams canceling games throughout the South due to the massive ice and snow storm paralyzing more than 2/3 of the nation this week.
- Andrew Wiggins scored 29 as Kansas remained unbeaten in Big Ten play winning a huge game over once dominant Iowa State, 92-81. KU outscored the Cyclones 46-38 in the second half to win going away.
- Syracuse and Arizona continue to remain undefeated, with Arizona surviving a major scare at Stanford, 60-57.
Thursday’s action saw Cincinnati win a huge AAC matchup in Louisville and stayed unbeaten in conference play (five days after the Cards’ Chase Bohannon decided to transfer to Colorado State) 69-66. The Bearcats continue to climb towards a top 3 seed position moving their overall record to 20-2, and their RPI entering the contest was 20.
Florida and Connecticut rolled to easy wins, while Michigan outdistanced Purdue in West Lafayette, 75-66.
Another light schedule is on tap for Friday, but two games to keep an eye online include:
7 p.m. Eastern, Princeton at Harvard–battle for first in the Ivy League, the only conference not to have a post-season tournament.
9 p.m. Eastern, Murray State at Austin Peay, two perennial Susan Lucci-wannabes (one and done in past NCAA Tournaments) will square off.
Time to gear up for Saturday’s twinbill in New York on Fox Sports One:
12:30 p.m. Eastern, St. John’s hosts Marquette, while at 3 p.m. Michigan State tangles with Georgetown. Wichita State will also be hosting Evansville at 3 p.m. Eastern time to try and keep their undefeated season going into the final full month of the regular season.
As the warm air finally returns to the South, pray that the Midwest’s next round of snow does not add to the misery most people are currently suffering with. The extreme cold was one thing, but the extra snow is just too much to deal with.