After the disaster of the Gavitt Games for the Big Ten, the conference needed big wins to put these games in the rearview mirror. While Maryland kept their game tighter than necessary, the conference successfully ate their cupcakes without getting sick this weekend.
That left the two preseason tournaments in which Purdue and Michigan competed for the defining big wins in the conference. Purdue held his end of the bargain and took the Big Ten’s record against the Big East to 3-6 over the season en route to a tournament victory and possibly the top 5 in the AP poll on Monday.
Unfortunately Michigan had a tougher time and fell short of their expectations in Las Vegas against Arizona.
Cheez-It Hall of Fame Tip
Considered one of the best non-conference tournaments of the season, the Hall of Fame Tip-Off has kept its promises with 4 top 25 teams and a March atmosphere in the arena. Purdue is winning gear and has shown that they are a very dangerous team capable of achieving great things this season.
# 6 Purdue Boilermakers 93, # 18 North Carolina Tar Heels 84
Purdue’s offense continued its strong start to the season, scoring 90 points for the fourth game in a row (a Purdue record for that matter). Sasha Stefanovic’s hot shot early on (14 of Purdue’s first 22 points) helped the Boilers quickly gain a lead. But 2 fouls for Zach Edey and Trevion Williams in the first 12 minutes of play meant Caleb Furst was forced to play the emergency center minutes for the last 8 of the first half. Substitute PF Mason Gillis was still suspended for this game and Ethan Morton had to play 4th place. During that streak, Purdue held UNC to a 17-17 draw despite some rebound issues due to two of the nation’s top rebounders not being available. Furst and Morton deserve a lot of credit for Purdue maintaining their 6 point lead at halftime.
The second half saw North Carolina slowly reduce Purdue’s lead until they finally secured their first lead of the game with 9:21 remaining at 65-64. Less than 20 seconds later, Purdue equalized him when Zach Edey made 1 of 2 free throws.
Enter Jaden Ivey. Following a three-point misfire, Ivey blocked the rebound and quickly brought the ball back to the ground. While the Tarheel were still defending, Ivey led the left side of the lane, causing three UNC defenders to crash into his position. Instead of forcing a contested shot at the rim as has been his decision in the past, Ivey fired a pass to a wide-open Stefanovic at the top of the key which emptied the 3. The next possession, UNC missed three more. and Ivey caught the bounce again and start sprinting the field with the ball. He got to the free throw line outlining the defense before passing it to a wide open Thompson who buried 3 more. The next possession, Edey got the defensive rebound and the Boilers sprinted in transition again. Ivey put the ball on the right wing, pushed to the edge, Euro-crossed the front of the basket before completing the layup and taking the foul. With 8:56 to go, UNC had the ball and it was tied. With 7:54 to go, Purdue was up 9 thanks to three good plays and decisions from Jaden Ivey.
North Carolina would make another run to close it to 2 points before Purdue saluted the win by throwing the ball inside Trevion Williams on the low block and letting him go to work. The Boilermakers shot 55.7% from the field and 43.5% from 3. The Tarheels aren’t the best defensive team Purdue will see this season, but 93 points is still really impressive against a 25 team. better.
Stefanovic, Ivey and Williams (in just 13 minutes) all scored 20 points with 23, 22 and 20 respectively. Ivey also had 10 rebounds and 6 assists. The Boilermakers had only 9 turnovers. Defensively, the Boilermakers played well but not very well. The Tarheels presented some clashing issues for Williams and Edey at this end of the field as Dawson Garcia (26 points) was able to retreat for the jumpers far from the rim. RJ Davis and Caleb Love both had 18 points for the Tarheels and North Carolina shot 41.4% of 3.
# 6 Purdue Boilermakers 80, # 5 Villanova Wildcats 74
I’ll be honest, for the first 30 minutes of this game the W / ildcats were the better team. For most of the first half the two teams felt each other, but at the start of the second half Villanova took a lead in the high numbers and then in the low double digits. . Villanova found a way to attack Zach Edey on defense and exploit Purdue’s assist defense for open three-way looks. The Wildcats repeatedly attacked this flaw in Purdue’s defense and made their three pointers to a 40s% clip.
In the last ten minutes, however, Purdue’s offense flipped the switch. They would make 11 consecutive shots from the field. After trading buckets for a few minutes, Purdue was still down 9 with 7:23 to go. But then Villanova started missing shots from 3s and the FT line due to a combination of better defensive switching from Purdue and tired legs from Villanova. Purdue would start an 18-2 streak over the next 5+ minutes of the game. Purdue’s depth and Villanova’s lack of depth – who only played 7 players and were playing their second game in two days – helped Purdue make this comeback.
The five Boilermaker starters were in double digits with Zach Edey in the lead with 21 points. Ivey once again showed great decision making by distributing 7 assists to accompany his 10 points and 7 rebounds. Thompson had 12 points on just 4-5 shots from behind the arc. And Caleb Furst shot perfectly in this one with his 5-5 effort from the field.
Purdue passed Villanova 38-26, but the Wildcats 4 turnovers – 0 in the first half – and hot shots helped them solidify their lead. Neither team attempted a free throw in the first half. Villanova, a very good FT shooting team that year, only went from 9 to 17 from the charity strip in this one and missed their 6 3-point attempts between 9:04 and 23 seconds. Four of Villanova’s starters played over 36 minutes. In contrast, only 2 of the Purdues played longer than 24 minutes and they were both limited to just 33 minutes. Purdue’s depth and ability to create an attack in different ways made the difference in this one.
Roman main event in Las Vegas
# 4 Michigan Wolverines 74, UNLV 61 Rebels
In the dying hours of the night, the Wolverines used their superior size and strength to score and their length advantage to limit the Rebels’ own opportunities and win the 33-24 rebound battle. Eli Brooks was very good and scored 22 points. Hunter Dickinson and Moussa Diabate would each add double-digit points and 7 rebounds. Michigan had 5 blocks to keep the rebels from finishing around the rim.
Arizona Wildcats 80, # 4 Michigan Wolverines 62
Michigan weren’t able to get him started in this one and Arizona just outplayed them as the Wolverines defense crumbled. Worse yet, the Wolverines shot a dismal 1 in 14 from the depths. While Arizona didn’t do very well behind the arc themselves (4 of 21), the Wildcats shot 50% overall from the field and were able to come out and run in transition.
The Wolverines will have to regroup and try to diagnose their issues so far this season. Hopefully Juwan Howard can find the prescription that works for them and they find a way to perform better.
MNW: It was an awesome DAMN teardown by Arizona. The Wildcats do some things that most Big Ten teams can’t, namely Christian Koloko’s size and blocking of shots and a formation that at one point was 7’1 “, 7’0”, 6 ‘ 7 “, 6’7”, 6’4 “- Hunter Dickinson and Moussa Diabate struggled to cope with this size, while UA’s defense made Caleb Houstan virtually useless.
But, as Boiler Choo Choo Man says, Michigan has a few questions to answer. Maybe the size and wrestling of the Big Ten will be a welcome respite, but even that only delays these questions until March.
# 20 Maryland Terrapins 69, Hofstra Pride 67
It was a back-and-forth between Pride and Terrapins throughout the game. The biggest lead for either team was 7. Hofstra was leading 2 with the ball within a minute of time. But they failed to score on this possession, the Terrapins tied it to theirs, then on Pride’s attempt to win the match 4 seconds from the end they ended up committing a foul following a block. by Eric Ayala. The Terrapins made their free throws and escaped with the win.
Nebraska Cornhuskers 78, Idaho State Bengals 60
Nebraska Cornhuskers 82, Southern Jaguars 59
Does the person in charge of planning Nebraska basketball games like big cats?
Minnesota Golden Gophers 78, Purdue Fort Wayne Mastodons 49
In bad news for Purdue University system basketball teams this weekend, the Gophers handed the Mastodons their first loss of the season. Sean Sutherlin went 7-7 on the bench and led the Gophers with 19 points.
I haven’t really watched the Gophers this season, but scanning their scores, nothing really stands out. The Gophers don’t really shoot great or overtaking teams in any meaningful way, or even get more possessions than their opponents. But they generally take care of the ball (only 12 turnovers in this one) and went to 4-0 on the season following the win. They even entered the KenPom top 100.
Michigan State Spartans 83, Eastern Michigan
Eagles emus 59
First of all, I will always refer to Eastern Michigan University as Emus. Any attempt to call them the Eagles is wrong.
After about 8 minutes in this one, Michigan State woke up and realized they were the better team. They would slowly but steadily build up a lead from that point on. That game was a 24-point victory despite Emus shooting 8-17 from behind the arc while the Spartans only managed a 4-17 performance from depth.
Indiana Hoosiers 76, Louisiana Ragin ‘Cajuns 44
Do you know the last person to win his first four games of his coaching career in Indiana before Mike Woodson? That’s right, it’s Bobby Knight. Which means the Hoosiers are back! National title # 6 approaching!
The Hoosiers went from 10 to 19 deep in it and held the Ragin ‘Cajuns to just 19.2% of shots on the field and just 10% of 3. I’m pretty sure that’s a good defense.
Who had the best weekend in the Big Ten hoops?
Who had the worst weekend?
Northwestern didn’t win a SINGLE GAME this weekend; late Chris Collins
115 votes in total
Sneak peeks of the Monday party week action coming later today. Wisconsin in no-Maui! Stay tuned.