Michigan State 63 Illinois 57
Now that Michigan State is entrenched as the frontrunner, this was the first of the challenge games, to see if any of the contenders can move up. Illinois went into East Lansing and gave the Spartans all they could handle, but a noble effort came up a bit short, 63-57. It was a sloppy game, with the teams combining for 34 turnovers, but Tom Izzo's team relied on a familiar friend to prevail--rebounding. MSU owned the glass to a 39-26 count, and they doubled up on the Illini at the line 16-8 to give them the win.
Northwestern 74 Minnesota 65
Michigan State's win gave them a two-game lead in the conference when they got some unexpected help in Evanston. Minnesota showed up flat after their big win at Wisconsin and laid an egg at Northwestern. Both teams shot the ball well and Lawrence Westbrook had another strong game for the Gophers, with 18 points and 8 rebounds. But NU had a big scoring edge at the line, 21-5, and Craig Moore and Kevin Coble each broke the twenty-point barrier to key the upset.
Ohio State 65 Michigan 58
The Buckeyes went into Ann Arbor and came out with a big win against the Wolverines. Ohio State shot the lights out, going 55% from the floor. Evan Turner's 19 points and 8 boards keyed the win and B.J. Mullens chipped in 15 off the bench. Manny Harris was strong in defeat, knocking down 21 points, grabbing seven rebounds and chipping in six assists. It was a big loss for UM, which is now 3-3 in the league and has lost two on their home floor.
Penn State 65 Indiana 55
It's a mark of how fast the IU program has fallen that losing to Penn State at home doesn't even raise an eyebrow. Penn State got 19 from Stanley Pringle and 17 from Jamelle Cornley. Talor Battle was unusually quiet with only 12 for the Lions.
Purdue 75 Iowa 53
The Boilermakers rolled to an easy win at home. Iowa center David Palmer had the top individual performance with 19 points and 8 rebounds.
Player of the Sequence: There weren't a lot of great individual efforts this weekend. As such, for the first time I'll go to a player on a losing team and pick Manny Harris. I give the Wolverine guard the nod over Craig Moore or Kevin Coble, as the two NU players at least had each other to rely on. Harris pretty much carried the Wolverines.