Big Ten Weekend in Review

Posted by Brendan Brody on March 3rd, 2015

On the penultimate weekend of Big Ten conference play, the heavy hitters came up with some large performances.Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky, Ohio State’s D’Angelo Russell, Iowa’s Aaron White, and Illinois’ Rayvonte Rice all stated their cases for all-Big Ten inclusion in leading their teams to key wins. The quartet combined for 99 points over the weekend, showing that they are ready to go as the calendar has flipped to March. Nothing too earth-shattering happened in terms of results from the weekend games, but as always, here are some of the highlights.

Frank Kaminsky managed to put up 31 points in his final home game in Madison Sunday. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

Frank Kaminsky managed to put up 31 points in his final home game in Madison Sunday. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

  • Player of the Weekend: As he’s done for the majority of the season, Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky lit up the stat sheet against Michigan State in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score indicated. If you thought that the Spartans’ front line may have given the Badgers a tough time down low, think again. Rather, Kaminsky and Nigel Hayes had their way inside with Tom Izzo’s team, combining for 28 points in the first half. Kaminsky, quiet from the outside lately, nailed 3-of-4 attempts from deep en route to 31 points for the game. He led the Badgers in scoring, steals and blocks, and tied for the team lead in assists — just a typical game from a senior who’s having an absolutely tremendous season.
  • Super Sub of the Weekend: Iowa’s Josh Oglesby hasn’t had a very good senior season. Considered one of the better outside shooters in the Big Ten, he is only shooting 31.4 percent from behind the arc, even after his 4-of-8 effort in Iowa’s 81-77 overtime win over Penn State on Saturday. That number won’t matter if Oglesby can find his stroke to give the Hawkeyes a consistent perimeter threat from here on out. He managed 12 points off the bench, combining with fellow senior Gabriel Olaseni to produce 24 of Iowa’s 27 bench points for the game. The Hawkeyes are still one of the most difficult teams in the country to figure out, but the riddle will be easier to answer if Oglesby can give his team some consistent outside scoring.

  • Best Win: Ohio State was down by 12 at the half after shooting 27 percent from the field in a must-win home game on Sunday against Purdue. They looked listless, and the Boilermakers looked like the better team. Once the second stanza began, however, Sam Thompson spearheaded a tremendous defensive half, forcing turnovers, blocking shots, and generally making life difficult for Purdue. D’Angelo Russell also shook off his recent poor shooting slump to score 28 points, which is the 13th time he’s scored more than 20 points in a game this year. Thompson added 14 points of his own, and the Buckeyes gutted out the key win.
  • Worst Loss: This is why you don’t lose to North Florida and Gardner-Webb, kids. Purdue should already be comfortably in the NCAA Tournament field after notching 11 conference wins with two games left to play. But because of those horrendous losses in December, they will have to sweat things out over the next two weeks. The Boilermakers didn’t play all that badly against Ohio State on Sunday, but they missed a golden opportunity to alleviate some stress by blowing a double-figure halftime lead. They turned the ball over way too much(22.6 percent of their possessions) and didn’t do a good job of adapting to the quick whistles of the referees. Jon Octeus missed most of the second half with foul difficulties, and the team looked completely out of sync without him on the floor. It’s not time to panic yet in West Lafayette, but winning at least one of their last two games at Michigan State or home versus Illinois is vitally important.
  • Most Efficient Win: Illinois played one of its best games of the season after managing 1.34 points per possession in knocking off what had been a red-hot Northwestern team — hitting 14 three-pointers helped considerably as the Illini moved to 8-8 in Big Ten play. They pummeled the Wildcats on the glass (+21) and had 15 assists on their 27 made field goals. They were just as balanced in scoring as they were efficient, with four players scoring between 14 and 19 points for the game. Kendrick Nunn and Malcolm Hill got back on track, and Maverick Morgan may have played the best game of his career with 10 points and eight rebounds. After looking disjointed since Rice returned, the Illini finally looked right again.
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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