Michigan State losing at unranked Iowa sends Big Ten race into a tailspin

SONG SELECTION:

“Linger”, by The Cranberries

Found on the 1993 album, Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?

Led by Mike Gesell pouring in a game high 25 points on Tuesday, unranked Iowa sent Michigan State back to East Lansing with their first loss of the season.

Expect either Kansas or Oklahoma to take over as the new number 1 when the first poll of 2016 is released on Monday (and yes, both #1 and #2 will meet on ESPN at 9 p.m. Eastern time at Allen Fieldhouse to settle the score, at least for the time being).

Northwestern off to best start in school history

Northwestern rallied from a halftime deficit to move their overall record to 13-1 by winning their Big Ten opener at Lincoln, Nebraska by a final score of 81-72.  Adopting the Chicago Cubs and Blackhawks mantra of ‘taking care of business’, freshman Dererk Pardon (yes, that is the correct spelling of his name) scored 23 of his 28 points in the second half.

Playing in only his second game due to a leg injury suffered by senior Alex Olah, he also had a game high 12 rebounds as the Wildcats shot a blistering 50 percent from the field.  Northwestern also won the rebounding battle decisively 40-25.  The last time an NU squad had this many wins at this point in the season, you have to go back to the early days of the Great Depression in the 1930-1931 school year.

They get a titantic test on Saturday at Welsh-Ryan Arena as Maryland pays a visit to Evanston.  Will the ‘Cats keep the Terps guards close all night?  Stay tuned and find out.

Elsewhere in the Big Ten…

Indiana outlasted Rutgers in New Jersey 79-72 and Michigan got a nice win at the State Farm Center in Champaign, outgunning Illinois 78-68.  Maryland overcame a halftime deficit and toppled Penn State at the Xfinity Center in College Park by a 70-64 count.

In the ACC, Grayson Allen scored a career high 33 points to go along with 5 rebounds and 6 assists as Duke hit the century mark for the second straight game outlasting a gutsy effort from the 49’ers in Long Beach State 103-81 at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

The only major games of note on New Year’s Eve are on Fox Sports 1 at noon Eastern when Xavier heads east to take on Villanova in Philadelphia.

The Missouri Valley has a cool game fans should check out at 2 p.m. Eastern on ESPNU as Wichita State hosts Drake.  About 35 minutes later on the CBS Sports Network, a key Big East encounter has Providence trying their luck at the venerable Hinkle Fieldhouse and suddenly hot shooting Butler.

The best of the rest include an online showdown on the WatchESPN app (or ESPN3 for those of you who have laptops or desktops) is Gonzaga at Santa Clara at 5 p.m. Eastern, but you can flip back to ESPNU during Ryan Seacrest’s annual countdown to the ball drop on Times Square at 11 p.m. as BYU heads on the road to take on St. Mary’s in California.

Hope everyone has a safe and nice New Year’s Eve on Thursday night.

I will hope to return sometime over the coming weekend with the latest hoops news fit for blogging and discussing.  See you then.

 

 

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