Indiana has done it again.
Three weeks after upsetting No. 1 Kentucky in Bloomington, the Hoosiers bounced back from their first loss of the year to beat No. 2 Ohio State at Assembly Hall.
It was one of the best played and poorly officiated games you’ll ever see. There was drama, big shots, lead changes, runs, alley oops and whistles.
The officiating crew called 42 fouls. Many for incidental contact. Some for very little contact. But any contact was going to draw a foul.
So much for the physical Big Ten.
All five Indiana starters ended up in double figures: Jordan Hulls with 17, including a cold-blooded 3-pointer late. Victor Oladipo – who drove Aaron Craft nuts late in the first half – had 15. Verdell Jones III and Cody Zeller scored 14, and Christian Watford had 10, including two free throws with 2.9 seconds to play to ice the game.
Craft led the Buckeyes with 16, while Jared Sullinger overcame early foul trouble to finish with 15 points and nine rebounds.
The win leaves Indiana (13-1, 1-1 Big Ten) with one of the most impressive resumes in the nation – wins over the top two teams in the nation (at the time) and a lone loss to a very good Michigan State team in East Lansing. This is the first time Indiana has beaten the Nos. 1 and 2 teams in the same season, let alone the same month.
“Give credit when credit is due. IU basketball is back everybody…. Tough basketball team,” the ever classy Sullinger Tweeted after the game.
Still, as we saw earlier in the week, they will have their struggles on the road in the Big Ten.
Ohio State? The Buckeyes (13-2, 1-1) are far and away the best team in the Big Ten right now – even after suffering their first loss with Sullinger healthy.
- Indiana: Home against Michigan, Jan. 5
- Ohio State: Home against Nebraska, Jan. 3
So let’s see here …
Iowa loses at home to Creighton, the Campbell Fighting Camels and Clemson – and on the road to Northern Iowa and Iowa State – to limp to a wholly uninspired 8-5 non-conference record.
After pushing Purdue to the final seconds in a home-opening Big Ten loss, the Hawkeyes of course spent Saturday beating No. 11 Wisconsin. In Madison. Wisconsin. 72-65.
This is a Wisconsin team that battled North Carolina tough in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge.
This is a Wisconsin team that had been holding opponents to 28 points below their season averages.
This is a Wisconsin team that held opponents to 43 points or fewer in eight games already this season.
And now this is a Wisconsin team that lost to Iowa at home.
But, as Matt noted in a post earlier today, this also is a team that can struggle to score:
Well, Wisconsin is 12-2 with an offense that is inconsistent, at best. I still worry that the offense will suffer from scoring droughts that no good or even great defense will be able to overcome, but Wisconsin should at least keep itself in virtually every game on account of its defense.
And the Badgers (12-3, 1-1) certainly struggled today, going 3 of 28 from 3-point range (10.7 percent, which is just 10.7 percent better than I shot today). Overall, Wisconsin managed to make just 34.8 percent of their shots from the field.
Freshman Aaron White led Iowa (9-6, 1-1) with 18 points – including 16 in the second half – on 6 of 7 shooting in just 20 minutes on the floor. Bryce Cartwright added 17.
Jordan Taylor led Wisconsin with 17 points.
- Wisconsin: Home against Michigan State, Jan. 3
- Iowa: At Minnesota, Jan. 4
The Spartans seemed to forget that they were Michigan State and Nebraska was, well, Nebraska in the first half (trailing 28-21 with 4:49 to play) before going on a 21-6 run over the next six minutes to build a 13-point lead.
Then they forget again, as Nebraska closed to 53-50 with 8:43 to play. From there, it was all Spartans – reminiscent of the way they closed out Indiana earlier in the week.
If Michigan State (13-2, 2-0) ever puts together a full game, they’ll blow people out. Still, they are tied for first place in the Big Ten and have a game on upper-tier teams after Ohio State and Wisconsin lost today.
Draymond Green led the Spartans with 19 points and eight rebounds. Bo Spencer had 15 for Nebraska (8-5, 0-2).
- Michigan State: At Wisconsin, Jan. 3
- Nebraska: At Ohio State, Jan. 3
Purdue 75, Illinois 60
After trailing early, Purdue (12-3) dominated the rest of the way to beat the struggling Illini (12-3) in West Lafayette even though Robbie Hummel managed just five points.
Kelsey Barlow led Purdue with 14 points, while the Illini’s Brandon Paul led all scorers with 17 points.
- Purdue: At Penn State, Jan. 5
- Illinois: At Northwestern, Jan. 4