Big Ten Weekend in Review: Iowa Sparkles While Illinois FaltersPosted by Brendan Brody on January 14th, 2014
The second weekend of the B1G conference season was considerably more exciting than the first, featuring two of the biggest upsets of the early season schedule. Northwestern won a game well before anyone would have predicted, and Iowa got the quality road win that it needed down the line. Meanwhile, Indiana, Michigan State and Purdue all survived nail-biters. Here’s some other highlights from the second weekend in Big Ten play.
Player of the Weekend: Roy Devyn Marble: Noah Vonleh and Denzel Valentine were both worthy candidates here as well, but Marble had a tremendous game against the Buckeyes. The main takeaway from his effort on Sunday afternoon was that he didn’t force anything. In the other losses this season for Iowa, Marble tried a little too hard to take over the game. He scored 27 points in the loss against Wisconsin a week earlier, but needed 24 shots to do it. In this game, he only needed 13 attempts to get to 22 points. He also added four rebounds, three assists, three steals, and two blocks to his all-around floor game. His size was a problem for Aaron Craft and Shannon Scott all day, as he did most of his damage on cuts and drives into the lane. He also was disruptive defensively, using his long arms to get into the passing lanes for steals. When Marble plays within himself and lets the game come to him, Iowa is just that much more dangerous.
Super Sub of the Weekend: Tre Demps: No Dave Sobolewski meant more minutes for Northwestern’s Demps, and he more than took advantage of the opportunity. He was simply an assassin in the second half, hitting three huge three-pointers in the last 6:32 of the game that proved to be the difference in the Wildcats’ 49-43 upset win over Illinois. Demps also chipped in eight rebounds and five assists in 33 minutes of action. The Big Ten’s third leading scorer off the bench might have triggered a permanent move of JerShon Cobb to the point, freeing up more minutes for the sophomore to make more of an impact in future games.
Most Entertaining Game: The 10-point final deficit is a tad deceiving, because for 35 minutes Iowa-Ohio State was one of the best games of the season. There was a whopping 16 lead changes in the game, 12 of which happened in the first half. Both teams got up and down the floor, and Iowa took advantage of off nights from Craft and Lenzelle Smith Jr. to steal a really important road win. Iowa finally sealed the game with a 20-9 run in the last 4:55 to put Ohio State away, wrapping up a gigantic win for their RPI and high-seeding chances when it comes NCAA Tournament season.
Most Important Win: Indiana looked as though it was about to start off conference play at 0-3, essentially sealing their fate in terms of NCAA Tournament hopes. Instead, the Hoosiers were able to pull out a last-second win at Penn State, giving them a chance to get to .500 in league play at home against Wisconsin tonight. While it’s true that the Hoosiers may already have one foot in the grave, but they would have probably been completely done for had they lost that game on Saturday.
Worst Loss: Illinois has gone from being nationally ranked to losing two road games in embarrassing fashion. The Wisconsin loss is somewhat understandable, but only putting up 43 points (0.74 points per possession) in a miserable loss at Northwestern will more than likely leave a bad taste in the selection committee’s mouth when they take a hard look at the Illini’s resume. They can right the ship with wins at home this week against Purdue and a beat-up Michigan State unit, but their stock has fallen considerably with this particular loss.