Michigan State struggles on the road; Northwestern rolls

Michigan State struggled at lowly IPFW - the Spartans actually trailed with 11 minutes to go, then went on a 13-0 run to take control and eventually won 70-59. Raymar Morgan scored 8 in that run and finished with 22 points on just 11 shots. Kalin Lucas chipped in with 17 on 12 shots. This game was played at a typically slow Big Ten pace - 63 possessions - casting doubt on whether MSU truly will run a lot this year. Despite mediocre shooting (47% on twos, 27% on threes), the Spartan offense was still good due to low turnovers, strong offensive rebounding, and a lots of free throws. The defense wasn't as good - IPFW managed to post a 94.3 efficiency, with the exact opposite method of MSU - strong shooting (50% on twos, 39% on threes) and nothing else. That isn't a high efficiency, but we expect more of Michigan State defense against this type of opponent. Box score.

As the only other Big Ten team in action last night, Northwestern blew out Texas A&M-CC, 66-48. Yes, an 18-point win is most certainly a blowout when you're playing at a slowww 60-possession pace. Northwestern was good on both ends, and actually posted a better offensive efficiency against TAMCC than Illinois did earlier this week (109.1 vs Illinois' 105.3). The more impressive number was Northwestern's defensive efficiency - a stingy 79.4, almost as good as the Illini's 77.5. Northwestern did it by forcing turnovers and holding TAMCC to an eFG% of just 40.7%. Northwestern's defense has looked much improved thus far - we'll see if that holds up as they face better opponents. The big star for the Wildcats was freshman PF John Shurna, with 17 points and 9 boards on just 7 shots. He threw in 3 blocks and 2 steals for good measure, along with 2 assists to just one turnover. Box score.

Tonight, we've got five conference members in action, including a couple High Major matchups. Ohio State finally starts their season, and we've got several credible possibilities for the first Big Ten loss tonight - the ACC is the only other undefeated conference remaining (all times CT):

5:30pm - Delaware State at Ohio State - Big Ten Network
6:00pm - Hartford at Penn State - bigtennetwork.com
6:05pm - Iowa at The Citadel - no TV
7:00pm - Illinois at Vanderbilt - FSN Midwest, espn360.com
8:00pm - Michigan vs UCLA (at Madison Square Garden) - ESPN2