Big Ten Daily, Volume 3: Road Teams Have a Huge Sunday

Tom Brew

Winning on the road in the Big Ten was next to impossible — until it wasn't. That storyline has blown up in a hurry.

During the first 49 conference games, the road team won over seven times, a 14.3 winning percentage. But this past week, the visitors won eight of the 14 games, including all three road teams on Sunday. The tide has turned.

Here were this week's road warriors:

  • Jan. 21 — Illinois 79 at Purdue 62
  • Jan. 21 — Maryland 77 at Northwestern 66
  • Jan. 22 — Penn State 72 at Michigan 63 
  • Jan. 23 — Minnesota 62 at Ohio State 59 
  • Jan. 25 — Illinois 64, Michigan 62
  • Jan. 26 — Maryland 77, Indiana 76
  • Jan. 26 — MIchigan State 70, Minnesota 52
  • Jan. 26 — Ohio State 71, Northwestern 59

Is there a reason for this? Sure. Part of it was the schedule, where several teams at or near the bottom of the standings — Northwestern, Michigan, Ohio State — lost home games. But that doesn't explain conference losses from Indiana, Purdue and Minnesota, who had all been unbeaten at home in the league until this week.

Purdue coach Matt Painter, who has two road games coming up this week at Rutgers and Northwestern, says experiencing road games a month into the Big Ten season now probably has a lot to do with it.

"As the season goes on, you see things start to shape up,'' Painter said. "Anytime younger players can be on the road for their first experience, especially in really tough environments, it's hard for them. The game is younger, so that plays a little bit into it, but there are quality teams with really good coaches, so it;s harder to win there on the road.

"You can't be an  average team and win at home all the time. Teams like Maryland Rutgers that haven't lost at home, they're really good. When you have younger teams out there, it's a little bit harder to win on the road.''

Here we go with Volume 3:

LOOKING BACK

Sunday's game: Maryland 77, Indiana 76

  • The skinny: Jalen Smith had a huge night, scoring 29 points and grabbing 13 rebounds. He also hit the game-winning shot in the final minute, spurring the Terrapins's 7-0 comeback run to get the win.
  • What it means for Maryland: The Terrapins (6-3 in the Big Ten, 16-4 overall) got the signature win they've been lacking all year in the Big Ten. It was a great comeback from down six in the final minute, and being able to close out a game like that should carry over.
  • What it means for Indiana: The Hoosiers (5-4 in the Big Ten, 15-5 overall) might have a hard time getting over that one, because they absolutely played well enough to win. They were down 14 early and made a great comeback, getting up by eight at one point. But they couldn't score in the final minute and let one slip away.
  • Game story: Terps win with last-minute rally
  • Indiana column: Last play was perfect, but ball didn't go in 

Sunday's game: Michigan State at Minnesota

  • The skinny: No. 11 Michigan State needed to get back on track after a Thursday night loss to Indiana, and they did just that, dominating Minnesota on the road behind Cassius Winson and Xavier Tillman, who had 18 and 17 respectively.
  • What it means for Michigan State: The Spartans (7-2 in the Big Ten, 15-5 overall) are still the best in the Big Ten in my book, but that doesn't mean Tom Izzo is in the mood to settle. He juggled playing time for several people against the Gophers and got a positive response. Don't be surprised to see them go on a run now.
  • What it means for Minnesota: The Gophers (5-5 in the Big Ten, 11-9 overall) had a rough night shooting the ball, going only 5-for-28 from the 3-point line, a dismal 17.9 percent.
  • Michigan State must-read story: Tom Izzo talks about Kobe Bryant and the Spartans' big win 
  • Minnesota must-read story: Minnesota coach Richard Pitino sums up the loss. 

Sunday's game: Ohio State 71, Northwestern 59

  • The skinny: Ohio State needed a win in the worst way and got it thanks to a great performance by freshman guard D.J. Carton, who had 17 points off the bench.
  • What it means for Ohio State: The Buckeyes (3-6 in the Big Ten, 13-7 overall) stopped the bleeding after losing six of seven games and now get all week to prepare for a Saturday home game with Indiana. It will be interesting to see if the Buckeyes can get on a little run now.
  • What it means for Northwestern: The Wildcats (1-8 in the Big Ten, 6-13 overall) keep getting quality play from Miller Kopp (20 points), but he wasn't enough against an Ohio State team that was on a missions.
  • Ohio State must-read story: Buckeyes' Carton shines in new role off the bench.

LOOKING AHEAD

  • Monday's game: Wisconsin at Iowa

    • Who: Wisconsin at No. 18 Iowa, 8:30 p.m. ET (TV: Big Ten Network)
    • What it means for Wisconsin: The Badgers (5-4 in the Big Ten, 12-8 overall) had an up-and-down shooting week, setting a school record for 3-pointers on Tuesday and then missing their first 12 long balls in an ugly loss to Purdue on Friday night. Maybe the quick turnaround will be a good thing.
    • What it means for Northwestern: The Hawkeyes (5-3 in the Big Ten, 14-5 overall) have been sneaky good all year, and now they're thinking they can get right back into this conference race. Luke Garza needs a big night against that Wisconsin front line. 
    • The line: Iowa is favored by 6.5 points, according to Vegas Insider.
    • Wisconsin must-read story: Kobe King is out for Monday night's game against the Hawkeyes. 
    • Iowa must-read story: Season built on early toughness 

Upcoming Games This Week

  • MONDAY
  • Wisconsin at No. 19 Iowa, 8:30 p.m. ET (TV: Big Ten Network)
  • TUESDAY
  • Michigan at Nebraska, 7 p.m. ET (TV: ESPNU)
  • Purdue at No. 24 Rutgers, 8 p.m. (TV: Big Ten Network)
  • WEDNESDAY
  • Northwestern at No. 11 Michigan State, 6:30 p.m. ET (TV: Big Ten Network)
  • Indiana at Penn State, 8:30 p.m. ET (TV: Big Ten Network)
  • THURSDAY
  • Minnesota at No. 21 Illinois, 7:30 p.m. ET (TV: FoxSports1)
  • No. 19 Iowa at No. 17 Maryland, 8:30 p.m. ET (TV: Big Ten Network)
  • FRIDAY
  • No games
  • SATURDAY
  • Indiana at Ohio State, Noon ET (TV: ESPN)
  • Michigan State at Wisconsin, 1 p.m. ET (TV: FOX)
  • No. 24 Rutgers at Michigan, 4:30 p.m. ET (TV: Big Ten Network)
  • Penn State at Nebraska, 7 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network)
  • Purdue at Northwestern, 9 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network)
  • SUNDAY
  • No. 21 Illinois at No. 19 Iowa, 1 p;m. ET (FoxSports1)

Big Ten Standings

Screenshot 2020-01-27 18.05.52

Real-Time Big Ten Standings CLICK HERE

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