Big Ten Weekend in Review

Posted by Brendan Brody on March 10th, 2015

The regular season is finally complete, and the Big Ten looks to have a solid six NCAA Tournament teams with Indiana and Illinois still with work left to do. With a busy seven-game slate from the weekend to cover, there’s really not else in the form of an introductory paragraph needed. Here is the final┬áBig Ten Weekend in Review of the season.

DJ Newbill scored 31 points and hit a buzzer-beating three to give Penn State a win at Minnesota. (GoPSUsports.com)

DJ Newbill scored 31 points and hit a buzzer-beating three to give Penn State a win at Minnesota. (GoPSUsports.com)

  • Player of the Weekend: DJ Newbill would get a bunch more recognition if Penn State hadn’t finished the season with just a 4-14 league record. He’s basically put the Nittany Lions on his back for much of the season, and he did so once again as Penn State nipped Minnesota by three. It was looking like it was going to be the Andre Hollins show early on as the Gophers were celebrating Senior Night for the Memphis native and his four fellow seniors. Newbill simply took over the game in the second half, as he scored 2o points in the final 15:01 of the game. He did so in his usual fashion, combining three-point shooting with a kind of old man game which consists of mid-range pull-ups, and drives to the rack. All told, the senior ended up with 31 points on 11-for-22 shooting from the floor. He made five threes, and made all four of his shots at the line. He also led Penn State with four assists and two steals. Another stellar effort from a player who should probably get more love than he does.

  • Super Sub of the Weekend: Lost in the shuffle a bit from the stellar play of fellow first-year player Aubrey Dawkins and his 31 points, is the fact that Kameron Chatman played arguably his best game of the season in Michigan’s 79-69 win over Rutgers. Chatman played arguably his best, and most efficient ball of the season as he scored a career-high 13 points in 16 minutes. The former starter made all three of his shots from beyond the arc, and also had three rebounds and a steal. This was covered last week after the heartbreaking loss over Northwestern, but there are a good deal of things for Michigan fans to be happy about in what is definitely a down year for the program. The main aspect being that many of the young players have gotten a chance to get some quality minutes. Chatman had previously been disappointing, but the highly-touted wing showed flashes Saturday of what he could become down the line for a team that should be back at the top of the league standings next year.

    Tom Izzo

    Tom Izzo and Michigan State picked up a huge win over the weekend. (Getty)

  • Best Win: Michigan State took on a wounded animal in Indiana, and were able to pick up a crucial road win without the services of their best player. They did so by pounding the offensive glass, and by getting timely contributions from little-used subs Alvin Ellis III, and Marvin Clark Jr. Ellis came through with 16 huge points, while Clark ended up with 14 points and six boards, four on the offensive end. The Spartans forced 14 turnovers, and were able to grab 15 offensive rebounds to offset another poor free throw shooting effort (11-for-20) that made things a bit closer than they should have been at the end. Now they are safely into the field of 68, while the Hoosiers probably need another win or two in the Big Ten Tournament to feel safe and secure about their March hopes.
  • Worst Loss: While the Indiana and Ohio State losses were pretty bad, Illinois is realistically looking at an NIT berth for the second consecutive season after missing out on a golden opportunity in losing at Purdue. They raced out to a 26-13 lead, but let it slip away in losing 63-58 to a Purdue team that also is frantically trying to escape out of bubble hell. The Illini uncharacteristically missed eight free throws, and coughed the ball up 14 times. Purdue got them into foul trouble, and they were able to survive despite turning the ball over a whopping 20 times in the win. Now the Illini will have to hope they can upset Wisconsin if they can get past Michigan in the Second Round of the proceedings in Chicago. Many things in other tournaments could change the landscape, but if things hold right now, the Illini blew a chance to not have to beat a potential Final Four team just to go dancing.
  • Most Efficient Win: Iowa continued to roll, this time leading from start to finish against Northwestern on Saturday. They murdered the Wildcats on the backboards 39-24, and used this advantage to attempt 18 more field goals than the road team on Senior Day in Iowa City. Aaron White posted his fourth consecutive 20-point game in notching 25 points. The Hawkeyes only turned the ball over six times, and point guard Mike Gesell managed nine assists to one turnover on the game. Iowa only shot 42 percent from the field, but they still put up 1.13 points per possession based largely upon the fact that they created extra possessions, and because White and Jarrod Uthoff combined for 6-for-12 from three point land.
Brendan Brody (307 Posts)

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


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