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Big Ten CommunicationsPublished: 3/1/2024, Last updated: 3/15/2024
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Big Ten Weekly Men's Basketball Central - March 1-4

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Big Ten. Big News.

  • Four Big Ten players have been named to the USBWA National Player of the Year and All-America Watch List, the organization announced on Tuesday afternoon. Illinois’ Terrence Shannon Jr., Northwestern’s Boo Buie, and Purdue’s Zach Edey and Braden Smith were included among the 40 names on the watch list. The organization will announce its All-America Team prior to the start of the NCAA Tournament, while its Oscar Robertson National Player of the Year will be announced at the Final Four. 

  • Purdue head coach Matt Painter has been named to the Werner Ladder Naismith Men’s Coach of the Year Watch List Presented by AXIA Time, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced on Friday. Painter is one of 15 coaches named to this year’s list. Painter also was a Naismith finalist in 2008 and 2023 and a semifinalist 2018, 2019. The list of 15 will be whittled to 10 national semifinalists on March 15, with four finalists to be announced on March 25. the Winner will be announced on April 7.

  • Former Wisconsin men’s basketball head coach Bo Ryan has been named one of 14 finalists for the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2024, as announced by the Hall of Fame’s on Friday afternoon. The winningest coach in Wisconsin history with a record of 364-130 (.737), Ryan led the Badgers to seven Big Ten championships. Ryan guided UW to 14 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances, including seven Sweet 16s, three Elite Eights, back-to-back Final Fours and the 2015 national championship game. Ryan received four Big Ten Coach of the Year honors.

  • MILESTONE WATCH... Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo is on a short countdown to coaching his 1,000th career game. With five more games on the Michigan State bench, Izzo will join a club that included just 12 active coaches at the beginning of the season.

  • Five teams were included in this week’s AP and USA Today Coaches polls, released on Monday. Purdue moved up one spot to No. 2 on the AP poll, while remaining at No. 3 according to the coaches. Illinois fell one spot to No. 13 in the AP list and slid to No. 16 in the USA Today poll. Wisconsin continued to receive votes in both polls and was joined by Nebraska and Northwestern.  

  • Purdue’s Zach Edey was named Men’s Basketball Player of the Week presented by Air National Guard for the week of Feb.19-25, 2024. Edey broke a tie with Ohio State’s Evan Turner with his 11th career Player of the Week honor, while his six honors this season are one shy of Turner’s mark from 2009-10. Edey averaged 30 points on 80.8 percent shooting from the field and 11 rebounds as No. 2/3 Purdue claimed a pair of wins last week. The center shot 7-8 from the field and 11-11 from the free throw line for 25 points and grabbed seven rebounds in 27 minutes of a 96-68 win over Rutgers and closed the week with 35 points 14-18 shooting from the floor with 15 rebounds, including eight on the offensive glass, in an 84-76 win at Michigan.

  • Indiana freshman Mackenzie Mgbako claimed his second Freshman of the Year honor after averaging 14.5 points and 4.5 rebounds in a pair of Hoosier losses last week. Mgbako scored a game-high 22 points and grabbed seven rebounds in an 85-70 loss to Nebraska.

Recent Game Recaps

Indiana 74, Wisconsin 70 (Tuesday, Feb. 27)

The Hoosiers overcame a blown 15-point first half lead and road a 27-point, 11-rebound performance from Kel’el Ware to put an end to their four-game losing streak. Ware shot 8-8 from the floor for 18 points in the game’s first 14 minutes, but Indiana’s 15-point advantage slid to 38-33 after Max Klesmit’s lay-up beat the halftime buzzer. The Badgers completed their comeback in the second half, leveling the score and taking several slim leads. Tyler Wahl’s jumper at the 2:06 mark gave Wisconsin its final lead at 70-68, but Trey Galloway evened the score on Indiana’s next possession. Galloway found Malik Reneau for the game-winning lay-up with just under a minute to play, as the Hoosiers held Wisconsin scoreless over the game’s final two minutes.   Reneau and Mackenzie Mgbako finished the night with 14 points, while Galloway handed out 12 assists. Five Badgers scored in double figures, led by Chuckey Hepburn, wo tallied 15 points, seven rebounds and six assists, all team highs.

Iowa 90, Penn State 81 (Tuesday, Feb. 27)

Payton Sandfort tallied 26 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists to record the first triple-double in program history, as the Hawkeyes topped Penn State 90-81. Iowa jumped to an early lead, opening the game on a 16-4 run and leading by as many as 17 points in the first half. After trailing 47-39 at the break, the Nittany Lions rallied early in the second half, pulling to within 51-49 early in the second half. Minutes later, the Hawkeyes used a 10-0 spurt to build a comfortable 73-58 lead with 10:49 to play. Sandfort netted 21 of his career-high 26 points in the second half, connecting on all 13 of his second half free throw attempts. Josh Dix hit 8-10 from the floor, en route to 20 points, as four Hawkeyes scored in double figures. Qudus Wahab led the Nittany Lions with 18 points, while RayQuawndis Mitchell added 16 points in 14 minutes off the bench.

Northwestern 68, Maryland 61 (Wednesday, Feb. 28)

Nick Martinelli scored a career high 27 points and Brooks Barnhizer recorded a double-double, as the Wildcats scored their first sweep of Maryland since the Terps joined the Big Ten in 2012. Northwestern used a 13-1 run late in the first half to build a slim lead it would carry into the halftime break. The Wildcats’ lead ranged from 3-7 points for most of the second half, growing as high as 10 points. Northwestern relied on a stifling defensive effort, one that held the Terrapins to just 19 percent shooting in the first half and 2-22 from three-point range on the night. Barnhizer paired 14 points, including 10-10 from the free throw line, and 10 rebounds for his seventh double-double of the season. Jahmir Young paced Maryland with 24 points and six assists, while DeShawn Harris-Smith and Julian Reese combined for 26 points and 10 rebounds.

Illinois 107, Minnesota 97 (Wednesday, Feb. 28)

The Illini outlasted Gophers in a contest that featured 20 lead changes, 10 double figure scorers and 202 total points. Dawson Garcia gave Minnesota its final lead of the night with a pair of free throws that put the visitors ahead 63-62 with 14:15 to play. Terrence Shannon Jr.’s jumper on the ensuing possession put Illinois ahead for good. The game remained within Minnesota’s reach until an 11-2 run put the Illini ahead 91-79 with just over five minutes to play. While both teams shot north of 60 percent from the floor and combined for just nine turnovers, Minnesota shot a blistering 70 percent (14-20) from three-point range. Shannon led Illinois with 29 points, while Marcus Domask and Coleman Hawkins added 22 and 20 points, respectively. All five Gophers scored in double figures, led by Garcia’s 29 points and 23 from Cam Christie. Elijah Hawkins added a double-double with 10 points and 12 assists.

Ohio State 78, Nebraska 69 (Thursday, Feb. 29)

Jamison Battle scored a career-high 32 points, as the Buckeyes topped Nebraska for their third win in four games under interim head coach Jake Diebler. Both teams led by as many as seven points in the first half, but trailing 34-27 with 4:47 to play in the first half, the Buckeyes outscored the Huskers 12-3 to take a 39-37 lead into the halftime break. Ohio State’s run continued into the second half, as its lead swelled to 46-37 four minutes into the second half. Nebraska pulled within two points several times in the half, including after a pair of Juwan Gary free throws with 3:52 to play, but the Buckeyes scored the next nine points to build a 78-67 advantage with 52 seconds to play. Roddy Gayle notched his first career double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds, while Devin Royal scored 13 points. Rienk Mast and Jamarques Lawrence scored 14 points each for the Huskers, while Mast secured a game-high 12 rebounds.

Rutgers 82, Michigan 52 (Thursday, Feb. 29)

The Scarlet Knights put forth a complete team effort in Thursday’s victory over Michigan, as Rutgers scored its first ever season sweep over the Wolverines and third consecutive win over Michigan. The Scarlet Knights ran out to a 14-1 lead and never looked back. Rutgers shot north of 55 percent from the field in the first half and cruised to a 41-26 lead at the half. The Scarlet Knights held Michigan to its fewest points of the season and its fewest in a Big Ten game in six years. Clifford Omoruyi and Jeremiah Williams scored 19 points each to lead four Scarlet Knights in double figures and combined to shoot 18-23 from the field. Omoruyi also secured 15 rebounds, his conference season high. Dug McDaniel led Michigan with 13 points, while Tarris Reed Jr. paired 12 points and eight rebounds.