Big Ten Basketball: For the majority of the season, the Gonzaga Bulldogs and the Baylor Bears held the top two spots in Division 1. However Michigan was able to break the stronghold to leap into the second spot. The Bears couldn’t stop Kansas on the road as the Jayhawks shot 51 percent from the field, giving Baylor its first loss of the season.
Gonzaga continues to hold down the top spot in the Top 25, just as it has all season, receiving 59 of 63 first-place. They are also the only undefeated team remaining in the country.
Last week the Wolverines have won seven straight games and 5-0 since the COVID-19 pause. They headed into Indiana winning eight straight against the school with three in their building. The game was a game of runs as Michigan had the bigger runs when Indiana tried to pull off a comeback.
The Hoosiers trailed 22-21 with 8:36 left in the first half and let the game get away. Isaiah Livers made four three points in the game putting him 38 points away from the 1000 point club. Hunter Dickinson added 13 points with seven rebounds after tying the school record for his seventh Big Ten freshman of the week honor on Monday.
Illinois Fighting Illini
The Illinois Fighting Illini are also in the top four in the AP top 25. The Illini played two games last week. Before the game, Ayo Dosunmu, a graduating senior, was honored before the game against Nebraska. They played with the national player of the year candidate due to a broken nose.
Kofi Cockburn scored 24 points and his teammate Adam Miller added 18 points. Illinois was 30-62 from the field and outrebounded the Huskers 43-29. They couldn’t stop Cockburn from getting to the free-throw line as he went 8-10 from the stripe.
Illinois may slip out of the top 10 due to the loss against the Michigan State Spartans.
On Saturday, they faced Wisconsin without Dosunmu for the second straight game. D’Mitrik Trice scored 29 points and went 6-9 from behind the arc. However, it wasn’t enough to stop Illinois.
Cockburn followed with a 19 point performance. Wisconsin trailed by 13 with less than three minutes left in the game. Trice almost bought the Badgers back by scoring 19 points with 2:12 (sixth 3-pointer with 6.7 seconds left). The Illini were able to hold on, winning 74-69.
They completed their first sweep against the Badgers since 2005. It will be interesting how the AP ranks Illinois.
Iowa headed into hostile territory against Michigan in the Crisler Center. Hunter Dickinson gave Luka Garza some problems below the basket. Garza was limited to 16 points. The fifth-best team in the country kept it close when the second half began.
Garza’s three-point play early in the second half put the Hawkeyes up 37-36. However, the red-hot Wolverines answered 14-2 run while Dickinson was on the bench.
Most of the Hawkeyes positives came in the first half but their defense was their kryptonite Iowa dealt with a few injuries in the game. Jack Nunge was injured in the first half and needed help to walk off the court. In the second half, Connor McCaffery went down with a left foot injury. Iowa had Ohio State next on the schedule.
After losing to Michigan earlier in the week, Iowa had a chance to redeem themselves against the Ohio State Buckeyes. Garza scored 24 points in this matchup against Ohio State. His teammate Joe Weiskamp added 19 points on 5-9 shooting from downtown.
Duane Washington Jr. of Ohio State made a 3-pointer to cut the Hawkeye’s lead down to seven points with 3:29 left in the first half, but a 10-3 Iowa run made it 42-28 at the break. Garza had 15 points and Weiskamp had 13 points to end the half.
The Buckeyes started the second hot of the gates with a 14-2 run to open the second half and got back within two points with 16:49 left. However, Weiskamp and Garza too much for Ohio State to handle, winning 73-57. With this win, Iowa moved up to ranking number 5.