Around the Big Ten: Week 4 (Basketball)
The Big Ten is arguably the deepest and most talented conference in all of college basketball this year, and conference play is finally here.
In the conference opener, Michigan defeated Penn State in Ann Arbor 62-58 in a tough Big Ten matchup. Both teams played well, with Penn State having a chance near the end to win the game, but a missed layup by Sam Sessoms allowed the Wolverines to hold on.
Michigan and Penn State did not get the best play from their stars in the matchup, with Michigan forward Isaiah Livers and Penn State forward Seth Lundy being non-factors on the offensive end. Both teams have a lot to build on for the rest of the season, and watch out as these two teams are potential sleepers in the loaded Big Ten conference.
A team that has played extremely well early on this year has been the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. The Knights are ranked No. 19 in the polls and sit at 5-0 on the season. Rutgers' last two wins were huge ones over Syracuse and Maryland, teams who have historically dominated the Scarlet Knights. Head coach Steve Pikiell has built the team to contend this year, and with veteran leadership from Ron Harper Jr. and Jacob Young, the Knights are in perfect position to compete for a Big Ten title this year.
No. 3 Iowa has looked great this year, and are led by arguably the best player in college basketball in Luka Garza. The Hawkeyes have won every game this year by at least 13 points, and have shot the ball extremely well, averaging over 11 threes per game.
The Hawkeyes face their toughest test of the season on Saturday when they go on the road to face No. 1 Gonzaga. Arguably the biggest game of the entire season in college basketball, both teams come in looking to make a statement for the season. Gonzaga has had issues with COVID-19, so hopefully those will be resolved so these two extremely talented teams can go play on Saturday.
The conference has played only three conference games so far, and have already seen an upset. Purdue knocked off No. 20 Ohio State 67-60 in West Lafayette on Wednesday night. The Boilermakers were led by forward Trevion Williams, who played a phenomenal game. Off the bench, Williams had 16 points, nine rebounds and eight assists in the win.
This game should be a preview for what to expect in the Big Ten this season, as every game teams play will be big time college basketball against an opponent who is looking to boost their resume for March.
A huge matchup in the Big Ten will take place on Sunday, when No. 13 Illinois travels to Piscataway to take on No. 19 Rutgers. This game matches up two of the best guards in the Big Ten with Illinois guard Ayo Dosunmu and Rutgers guard Ron Harper Jr. Both teams have looked great this year, and this matchup should be a must-watch game between two of the best teams the Big Ten has to offer.
Every week in the Big Ten is huge, as every conference game matches up two teams hoping to make the NCAA Tournament. So, every team needs to bring their best every night, or they could be in for a tough night as there are no easy games in the Big Ten this year.
Adam Sheetz is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Junior / Broadcast Journalism