Big Ten Basketball Tuesday Roundup

Michigan 67, Binghamton 39

Yes, the Wolverines are quite impressive. They’re 10-0 for the first time since the 1988-89 season (hey, they won the National Championship that season!) and are seventh in the nation in effective field goal percentage (eFG%). Against Binghamton on Tuesday night, Michigan unleashed its usual rain of three-pointers to bury its opponent. Trey Burke was 3-for-6 from beyond the arc and the amazing Canadian freshman Nik Stauskas was 4-for-8.

Burke led everyone with 19 points and had five assists to boot. Stauskas missed all three of his two-pointers and was the only other Wolverine in double figures. His supposedly hot shooting actual lowered his three-point percentage on the season to 59%. Meanwhile, another key freshman, Mitch McGary had almost as many offensive rebounds (four) as the entire Binghamton squad (five).

Tim Hardaway Jr. attempted the most threes out of anyone (nine) but he only made a pair. Since opening the season 8-for-11 from three-point range against Slippery Rock and Cleveland State, Hardaway has shot just 8-for-37 from that distance (22%). He really should take advantage of his athleticism and get to the basket more.

Minnesota 70, North Dakota State 57

The Gophers lost six of their last seven in the regular season last February, but a run to the NIT finals, combined with several returning players, further combined with the return of rebounding machine Trevor Mbakwe has turned Minnesota into a contender. The team’s nation-leading offensive rebounding prowess was on display once again on Tuesday night against North Dakota State. The Gophers only shot 38% from the field, but they grabbed 16 of their own misses and held the Bison to just six offensive rebounds.

Rodney Williams had four offensive rebounds, 19 points, and a spectacular dunk that you can view above. Mbakwe has had his minutes limited so far this season, but that hasn’t affected his impact on the game. In just 21 minutes on Tuesday night, he had six offensive rebounds, 12 defensive rebounds, as well as 14 points. By percentage, Mbakwe is the fifth-best offensive rebounder in the nation so far this season.

Illinois 64, Norfolk State 54

Norfolk State became famous last season when they upset Missouri in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. However, with the departure of star player Kyle O’Quinn to the NBA, the Spartans haven’t really been able to build on their one big win. This season, only one of their six wins came against a top-200 team (per KenPom), and they lost by 13 to Seton Hall (the only top-100 team besides Illinois on their schedule so far). The point is that Illinois should have one this game by a lot more than 10 points.

The Illini are undefeated this season because they’ve shot very well from long distance and limited turnovers. However, on Tuesday night they struggled from beyond the arc (26%) as well as from the free throw line (59%). John Groce’s squad was able to persevere, though, by only committing nine turnovers and by holding Norfolk State to 38% field goal shooting. Returning senior guard Brandon Paul led Illinois with 14 points and eight rebounds.

Both D.J. Richardson and Tracy Abrams suffered minor injuries during the game, but both were able to return.

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