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2011-2012 Big Ten Men's Basketball

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Big Ten Basketball Weekly Recap



Tuesday, December 6

Minnesota 70, Appalachian State 56

Northern Iowa 80, Iowa 60

Wednesday, December 7

Wisconsin 70, Green Bay 42

Michigan State 89, Central Connecticut State 69

Purdue 65, Western Carolina 60

Illinois 48, Saint Bonaventure 43

Lafayette 61, Penn State 57

Nebraska 51, Florida Gulf Coast 50

Friday, December 9

Iowa State 86, Iowa 76

Saturday, December 10

Indiana 73, Kentucky 72

Wisconsin 62, UNLV 51

Kansas 78, Ohio State 67

Michigan 90, Oakland 80

Michigan State 74, Gonzaga 67

Minnesota 69, St. Peter’s 47

Purdue 61, Eastern Michigan 36

Duquesne 66, Penn State 59

Nebraska 69, TCU 57

Sunday, December 11

Illinois 80, Coppin State 63


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The moment Big Ten basketball fans had been waiting for over the past few years (well, except for Purdue fans and maybe Illinois fans) finally arrived on Saturday: Indiana returned to the big time as a true NCAA Tournament contender, giving ballast to this conference and making it feel so much more substantial in the world of college basketball. Christian Watford’s three-point shot at the final buzzer gave Indiana an exhilarating one-point triumph over top-ranked Kentucky. The game-winning shot by Watford –which was Indiana’s ninth trey of the afternoon – sent the home crowd into hysterics and unleashed a massive celebration throughout the IU campus. Yet, beating a rival in a battle of basketball-crazy programs is not the first and foremost prize for coach Tom Crean’s ballclub. The biggest part of this triumph for Indiana is that it gives the Hoosiers the kind of win that will look great on Selection Sunday. If there’s any doubt about Indiana’s place in the field of 68 teams, this win over Kentucky should give the Hoosiers the juice they need to pass other bubble teams and make the cut in the selection committee war room. College basketball is a livelier sport when Indiana succeeds, and that’s why this upset resonates so profoundly.

Beyond Indiana’s win, results were mixed for the Big Ten in early December. Michigan State helped itself immensely with a road win at Gonzaga. After last year’s struggles, the Spartans needed a marquee win to build confidence heading into Big Ten play. Tom Izzo just won a lot of leverage with his players in addition to a road win in Spokane, the city where former Michigan State coach Jud Heathcote resides.

Ohio State lost a main-event game to Kansas, but since the Buckeyes lacked prime post player Jared Sullinger, it’s hard to be too concerned about this loss. Moreover, the selection committee will note that OSU’s big man was out of the lineup. The game will help Kansas’s seeding, but it won’t dent Ohio State’s place on the big board in March.

Iowa and Penn State suffered perfectly awful weeks, losing non-conference games to mid-majors and seeing their stock plummet, as if that was possible to begin with. Wisconsin, to the surprise of no one, turned in a workmanlike performance and won at home against a solid UNLV club.



By Matt Zemek
DFN Sports Senior Staff Writer



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