Michigan was beat handily by Duke on Friday in the Coaches vs. Cancer final. The Wolverines stuck around with the Blue Devils in the first half, but Duke's defensive pressure proved to be too much. This doesn't mean that Michigan is back to focusing on the NIT, however. I think Beilein's crew could still get to 20 wins, but I think that's less than a 50/50 proposition. That said, there's some good news here - Beilein's turnover magic was on display against the Blue Devils, harassing Duke into a 22.6% TO Rate, while maintaining a sparkling 16.6% TO Rate on offense. That's not an easy thing to do against the Dukies. Duke took excellent care of the ball last year, and forced a lot of TOs on defense. While Michigan still has some things to work on, I feel confident in stating the TO situation appears to be vastly improved. Manny Harris continued his hot streak, scoring 25 points on just 12 shots. Box score.
Wisconsin was taken to overtime by a resilient Iona team. It's just one game, but this is a bad sign. Iona does not figure to be very good this season, so this was a pretty disappointing result. But hey, a win's a win. This game was reminiscent of the debacle against North Dakota State a couple of years ago, in which the Badgers shot only 25%. Bad shooting nearly sunk the Badgers on Friday, as Wisconsin converted only 31.3% of their field goal attempts. Not only that, but the Badgers coughed it up 19 times in a 62 possession game. What saved the Badgers? Well, a big FT gap. Wisconsin attempted 34 FTs to the Gaels' 15. Trevon Hughes led all scorers with 21 points on just 10 shots. Box score.
Last night, Hughes again led the Badgers with 22 points on 11 shots, as Wisconsin defeated San Diego 64-49. He turned a similar trick last season (he averaged over 15 points per game during last year's non-conference stretch), but the real test will come in conference play. Overall the Badgers shot much better in this contest, finishing with a 54.6 eFG. The FT gap again proved difficult to overcome for San Diego. Wisconsin attempted 23 FTs to 7 attempts for the Toreros. The Badgers advance to the final of the Paradise Jam, where they will match up with #2 UConn. Box score.
Purdue trounced Coppin State 66-46 on Saturday. The offense wasn't great, but the defense was superb. Nothing worked for Coppin State, as the Boilermakers created misses, turnovers, rebounded those many misses, and limited CSU's chances at the line as well. Do-everything forward Robbie Hummel led the way with a 20/11 dub-dub on 12 shots. Box score.
Craig Moore and some dudes beat Brown on Saturday, 73-64. Moore led Northwestern with 31 points on just 15 shots, including nine three pointers. Michael Thompson chipped in 15 points on seven shots, and also provided 5 assists (0 turnovers). As you would guess, Northwestern's offense was clicking in this glacial 52 possession affair. But there's the flipside - the defense was awful. In fact, it wasn't a lot different than when Brown defeated the Wildcats in Welsh-Ryan last season. Now, Brown was a good offensive team last year, but this defense needs to tighten up with the Wildcats are going to play past the Big Ten Tournament. Box score.
Minnesota sweated out a 72-71 victory over Colorado State on Saturday. The Gophers are 4-0 for the first time in six seasons, and this was a road game, but CSU lost all 16 of their conference games in the Mountain West last year. I'm sure Tubby expected better, especially on defense. Even though the Gophers forced 20 turnovers in the 68 possession contest, CSU still averaged over a point per possession. This was mostly due to the effective shooting (52.0 eFG) and the incredible offensive rebounding on display for the Rams (44.6% OReb Pct.). That can't happen if the Gophers intend on making the NCAA Tournament. Minnesota got 20 points on just 10 shots from BTG fave Blake Hoffarber. Box score.
Illinois defeated Jackson State 78-64 in Champaign yesterday. The Illini offense was humming, but a couple areas of concern were also on display. On offense, Illinois turned it over 14 times in a 65 possession game, which is too high for this team to be successful. On defense, the Illini defensive rebounding was bad. Jackson State recovered 40.5% of the available rebounds on that end of the floor. This was a concern going into the season, and it doesn't appear to be going away anytime soon. However, that's not going to lose a game in which the Illini post a 68.0 eFG. Mike Davis led the way with 20 points on 10 shots, and Dominique Keller chipped in 16 on 8 shots. Box score.
In more action from yesterday, Penn State took down New Hampshire 70-50 in a 64 possession affair. It was a quality game offensively and defensively. The most impressive stat was probably the 12.5% TO Rate posted by the Nittany Lions. That will win games. New Hampshire just couldn't make a shot, posting an eFG of 39.1. Talor Battle continued his torrid start, scoring 24 points on just 11 shots (oh, and he grabbed 8 rebounds too). Penn State will go as far as the sophomore takes them over the next three seasons. Ed DeChellis looked down Penn State's bench a bit more this game, as only Talor played 35 minutes. Box score.
Iowa's offense was clicking on all cylinders yesterday, as the Hawkeyes took down Oakland, 66-57. However, after taking excellent care of the ball against The Citadel, Iowa was back to its turnover ways, giving it up on 23.2% of their possessions. And although the Hawkeyes have posted a 60.0 eFG or better every game this season, that will not continue in B10 play. When the shots stop falling, Iowa will be in trouble unless they start taking better care of the ball. Anthony Tucker led the Hawkeyes with 19 points on 12 shots, Cyrus Tate posted an 11/13 dub-dub, and BTG fave Jake Kelly posted 16 points on just seven shots. Box score.
Tonight, Indiana begins play in the Maui Invitational against Notre Dame, Ohio State hosts Bowling Green, and Wisconsin faces off against UConn in the Paradise Jam finale.