Big Ten Weekend In Review: 03.01.16 Edition

Posted by Brendan Brody on March 1st, 2016

We’re now only 13 games away from complete resolution to the Big Ten regular season, as last weekend’s action, like much of the regular season, gave us some close games sprinkled among a few blowouts. Indiana clinched a share of the regular season crown without playing a game, and the four teams chasing the Hoosiers still have a double-bye in Indianapolis to play for. Here’s are the highlights from the second-to-last weekend of the regular season.

Keita Bates-Diop (right) influenced things offensively and defensively for Ohio State as they knocked off Iowa( Jay LaPrete, AP).

Keita Bates-Diop (right) influenced things offensively and defensively for Ohio State as they knocked off Iowa (Jay LaPrete, AP).

Player of the Weekend: With apologies to Illinois’ Malcolm Hill, who teamed with Kendrick Nunn to look like Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen toying with Toni Kukoc in the 1992 Olympics because Minnesota was playing without guards, Ohio State’s Keita Bates-Diop gets the nod because he essentially out-Uthoffed Iowa’s Jarrod Uthoff. He had a highly efficient scoring night with 19 points (8-of-11 shooting) and four blocks as Ohio State came back in the final few minutes to beat Iowa. The surging Buckeyes held an Iowa team that scores 31.4 percent of its points on the season from the three-point line to a quiet 3-of-12 from the perimeter, and Uthoff in particular continued to struggle (16 points on 5-of-14 shooting). Iowa is now in the midst of another late-season swoon.

Super Sub of the Weekend: Before Saturday’s game against Maryland, Purdue sophomore Dakota Mathias had only scored in double figures twice all season. Both of those instances occurred in games where Purdue scored over 100 points against weak competition. But Mathias saved his best game of the year for Saturday as Purdue held off Maryland for a big win in West Lafayette. Mathias has now shot 6-of-11 from distance over his last five games, hitting three treys against the Terrapins en route to a career-high 17 points for the game. One of Purdue’s strengths is its outstanding depth, and in order to make a postseason run, players like Mathias need to step up.

Best Win: Ohio State absolutely had to win against Iowa on Sunday at home, and they ended up pulling it out do to the heroics of Bates-Diop, Loving and Kam Williams (11 points). It wasn’t necessarily pretty on the offensive end of the floor (1.00 points per possession), but the Buckeyes were able to hold the Iowa stars in check defensively (0.94 points per possession) to get the win. If Ohio State wins at Michigan State this Saturday, its case for an eighth straight NCAA Tournament bid gets significantly better.

Worst Loss: Michigan didn’t do itself any favors in losing at Wisconsin on Sunday night, as the Badgers shut down the perimeter in holding Beilein’s Bombers to only five threes in an 11-point win. Now at 20-10 overall and 10-7 in league play, Michigan’s once-safe position in the NCAA Tournament field is a little less secure this week. The Wolverines will need a better effort than the combined 9-of-26 shooting they got out of Zak Irvin and Derrick Walton Jr on Sunday night to beat Iowa this weekend in Iowa City.

Most Efficient Performance: You shouldn’t necessarily get a medal for pummeling a Rutgers team that could be the worst power conference team of the last five seasons, but Northwestern should get some credit for the way it played in beating the Scarlet Knights Saturday afternoon. The Wildcats scorched the nets in putting up an absurd 1.51 points per possession, shooting 17-of-28 from deep and winning the rebound battle by 20. Seniors Tre Demps and Alex Olah combined for 38 points and the team logged assists on 33 of their 37 made field goals. This team runs hot and cold with its overly heavy dependence on three-point shooting, but don’t discount some Cinderella potential from Chris Collins’ team in the Big Ten Tournament should the Cats get hot from the outside.

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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