Northwestern survived a scare from Indiana last night, prevailing 77-75 in a 69 possession game. This game featured a lot of accurate shooting, but also a lot of turnovers. As it was, both teams averaged about 1.1 points per possession, and if you subtracted the turnover possessions, that number would be around 1.5. The shooting was incredible as both teams were 12-23 from behind the arc. So neither defense was particularly effective. In fact, the only thing that stopped these teams from scoring were themselves. They combined for 41 turnovers, and viewers were confused as to whether they were watching an entertaining high scoring event or a sloppy battle featuring plenty of passes to the scorer's table.
The Wildcats appeared to have this one in hand midway through the second half, opening up a ten point lead. But the Hoosiers fought back, tying the game at 75, and they even had a chance to win it with six seconds left. Unfortunately, Kevin Coble stole the inbounds pass to seal it for Northwestern, but you have to be impressed with how Crean's team battled back. I still think Indiana will beat someone in the conference this season. Those home games against Northwestern and Iowa look like solid possibilities.
Craig Moore led the Wildcats with 21 points on 11 shots, and Devan Dumes had 26 on 16 attempts for the Hoosiers. Box score.
Ohio State blasted Michigan, 72-54 in a 66 possession game. This was definitely an encouraging sign for Buckeye fans. The defense has been a weakness for Thad Matta's team ever since conference play began, so this easily qualifies as their best effort against a Big Ten team. And just as you would expect for a team featuring two of the country's best shotblockers, things were not easy for Michigan on the inside. The Wolverines shot just 35% from two point range, and this on a night when their outside shots weren't falling either (27%). Oh, and on top of that, they committed 21 turnovers.
Manny Harris had a bizarre line - he scored 22 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, but he also had ten turnovers. Harris was scintillating in the non-conference season, but he's struggled in conference play. At this rate, he's not going to make the Third Team All-Big Ten.
Evan Turner, on the other hand, was his usual efficient self, scoring 24 points on just 9 shots. Ohio State again put on a shooting clinic, shooting 71% from two point range. Michigan was just too short for the Buckeyes' imposing front line. Box score.
Tonight, Michigan State visits Iowa, while Illinois looks to make it 21 straight against Minnesota.