Around the Big Ten: Week 1
Big Ten basketball is finally back, as Michigan State kicked off this season’s action with a highly anticipated matchup against No. 1 ranked Kansas at the State Farm Champions Classic on Tuesday.
It is safe to say that this was not head coach Tom Izzo’s ideal way to start the year, as we saw the No. 10 Spartans fighting from behind for the majority of the contest. Michigan State made a run late in the second half, but it was too little, too late.
Quentin Grimes scored 21 points in his college debut and Dedric Lawson added 20 points and 14 rebounds in what was an impressive 92-87 win for the Jayhawks.
While that nationally televised contest was being decided, two other ranked Big Ten teams took the court for their first action of the season, as No. 19 Michigan squared off against Norfolk State and No. 24 Purdue took on Maryland.
Michigan’s Jon Teske had 13 points, eight rebounds and a career-high four blocks as the Wolverines beat Norfolk State 63-44, giving head coach John Beilein his 800th career coaching victory on Tuesday night.
On the other hand, preseason Naismith Player of the Year favorite, Carsen Edwards, scored 30 points and made seven three-pointers as Purdue handled Fairfield 90-57 on Tuesday.
All five other Big Ten teams that began their seasons on Tuesday also emerged victorious, making the Big Ten 7-1 on opening day.
Homegrown freshman sensation Romeo Langford impressed in his collegiate debut, scoring a team-high 19 points to lead Indiana to a 104-55 win over Chicago State.
For Maryland, Jalen Smith had 19 points and 13 rebounds in his college debut. Bruno Fernando and Anthony Cowan each scored 15 as the Terrapins edged Delaware 73-67.
Amir Coffey opened the season for Richard Pitino’s Gophers by scoring 18 points in 24 minutes, and Daniel Oturu made his presence felt with 14 points and eight rebounds, helping Minnesota cruise to a 104-76 win over Omaha.
Nebraska held Mississippi Valley State to just one field goal in the game's first 10 minutes and did not look back, as they routed the Delta Devils 106-37.
Preseason Naismith Player of the Year candidate, Ethan Happ, recorded the second triple-double in Wisconsin history as the Badgers defeated Coppin State 85-63.
As for Wednesday’s lone Big Ten action, Ohio State spoiled a talented Cincinnati Bearcats’ home opener, as Kaleb Wesson scored 15 points, and C.J. Jackson hit a driving bank shot and a pair of free throws in the final 30 seconds to give the Buckeyes an impressive 64-56 win.
There were three Big Ten contests on Thursday, as Illinois, Iowa and Northwestern all cruised to comfortable season-opening wins against lower-level Division I programs.
Looking forward to this weekend, Penn State will kick off its season against North Florida on Friday, in what looks to be an exciting season for head coach Pat Chambers and the Nittany Lions.
Also beginning their season on Friday evening, Rutgers will look to start off on the right foot as they face Fairleigh Dickinson.
For the only team in the Big Ten with a loss, Michigan State will look to bounce back on Saturday in a matchup with the notorious Florida Gulf Coast Eagles.
Although it is only the very beginning of a long season, the Big Ten has looked solid in its first week of non-conference play. Time will tell whether or not these solid performances will hold up.
Pasquale Tartaro is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.