Big Ten Weekend in Review

Posted by Brendan Brody on February 17th, 2015

Valentine’s Day weekend in the Big Ten was dominated by love for the three-pointer. Indiana showed its affection for the trifecta by bombing away to the tune of a school-record 18 makes against Minnesota. Purdue was able to nail eight threes of its own in a key win against Nebraska, including four from a struggling Kendall Stephens. Northwestern hit on nine attempts from long distance in its surprising upset of Iowa. Finally, Michigan State’s aptly-named Denzel Valentine broke hearts all over the Buckeye State by hitting a game-winning three in the waning seconds of its win. Here are the rest of the highs and lows from an interesting weekend around the league.

Troy Williams led Indiana in reboudning as they dominated the glass against Minnesota.  (Chris Howell/Herald Times)

Troy Williams led Indiana in reboudning as the Hoosiers dominated the glass against Minnesota. (Chris Howell/Herald Times)

  • Player of the Weekend: In a weekend full of great performances, Indiana’s Troy Williams gets this weekend’s nod in that he managed to do his usual work on the glass (nine boards) while also scoring 19 points on a very efficient 10 field goal attempts. The sophomore also tripled his three-point output for the season, hitting both of his attempts after entering the game only 1-of-6 on the year. If Williams can add a long-range shot to his offensive arsenal, he will be a certain first-round pick whenever he chooses to leave Bloomington for the professional ranks.
  • Super Sub of the Weekend: Chicago Catholic League alumnus and Northwestern freshman Scottie Lindsey has largely struggled to adapt to Big Ten play. Heralded as a knockdown outside shooter, the lanky swingman didn’t hurt Iowa over the weekend with his shooting prowess. Instead, Lindsey subbed for fellow freshman Vic Law (foul trouble) and played a season-high 38 minutes off the bench. He contributed seven points, six rebounds, a couple assists and three of his team’s 13 blocks as the Wildcats notched a win that they desperately needed.

  • Best Win: Michigan State currently finds itself anywhere from #7 to #11 in the various bracketology projections, and Sparty’s best win prior to Saturday was either at Iowa or at home against Indiana. So while Denzel Valentine’s game-winning three over Ohio State didn’t necessarily save his team’s season, it could be something that ensures another trip for Tom Izzo’s club to the NCAA Tournament. Michigan State held D’Angelo Russell to only 10 points and got solid contributions from Branden Dawson and Lourawls Nairn, Jr. The Spartans are now fourth in the conference standings with a rough final six games ahead. They had to hold serve at home here, and they did thanks to Valentine.
  • Worst Loss: All anyone needs to do to see how Iowa did in any particular game is to review its shot chart. If you see a bunch of shots inside the paint, the Hawkeyes will have done pretty well. If you see a bunch of long twos or anything above 15 attempts from three, then there’s a good chance they didn’t. Iowa shot 32.3 percent from the field against Northwestern on Sunday, doing tremendous damage to an already shaky NCAA Tournament profile. Jarrod Uthoff scored 25, but no other Hawkeye =scored more than eight. It says here that Iowa needs to win four of its final six games to secure a bid.
  • Best Efficiency: In a very close call, Wisconsin edges out Indiana mainly because it managed 1.39 points per possession against an Illinois team that has a top 50 defense. The Badgers only turned the ball over four times and attacked the offensive glass to nab 15 offensive rebounds (51.7%) and a bunch of extra possessions. They also uncharacteristically went 9-of-15 from the charity stripe, but it didn’t matter much after holding the Illini to 40.o percent shooting on the day. Neither Rayvonte Rice nor Kendrick Nunn were allowed to get going (17 points combined on 6-of-22 from the field), which is a positive sign because the Badgers haven’t been very consistent on defense lately.
Brendan Brody (307 Posts)

Brendan Brody is in his fourth season covering the Big Ten for RTC. Email him at, or follow him on twitter @berndon4.

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