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The Ohio State Buckeyes, as expected, are the champions of the 2011 Big Ten Tournament, defeating a game Penn State Nittany Lion team in the finals at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, 71-60.
The Buckeyes carried a 29-23 lead into halftime of this one, and managed to expand their lead to as much as 17 in the second half, as they were just too deep and too strong for the Nittany Lions on this afternoon.
The Buckeyes got a balanced attack, as William Buford led the team with 18 points, while Jon Diebler and Jared Sullinger kicked in 15 points a piece in the winning effort. For Penn State, Talor Battle led all scorers with 24 points on the afternoon, and Jeff Brooks had 19, but no other Penn State player had more than six.
The win gives the Buckeyes some solid momentum going into the 2011 NCAA Basketball Tournament, where they are expected to be the number one overall seed. Penn State's performance in the tournament has given them a spot in the Big Dance, too, by all accounts.
A lot of people expected the Ohio State Buckeyes to be in the title game of the Big Ten Tournament. Very few people outside of Happy Valley expected their opponent to be the Penn State Nittany Lions. But that's the match-up we'll have in the finals of the Big Ten Tournament from Conseco Fieldhouse this afternoon.
The Buckeyes got here by defeating Northwestern on Friday afternoon by a score of 67-61, and besting the Michigan Wolverines yesterday, 68-61. This will be Penn State's fourth game of the tournament. They started things by beating the Indiana Hoosiers on Thursday night, 61-55. They then moved on to the quarterfinals, where they defeated the Wisconsin Badgers by a score of 36-33, and got past the Michigan State Spartans yesterday afternoon, 61-48.
Over at Along the Olentangy, they seem pretty confident of their chances to cut down the Conseco Fieldhouse nets this afternoon.
Ohio State's biggest offensive advantage over Penn State is in their diversity of scorers, and the path to taxing the Penn State defense was set out in the last battle between these two teams. Forwardand guards and the aforementioned Diebler all scored double digits against the Lions on March 1st, while Battle was held in check by a stifling Buckeye defense. If the Buckeyes can continue their offensive efficiency from that game, they should stretch the Nittany Lions across the court and pick up right where they left off. Everything works off of Sullinger, and when the freshman phenom is on, the entire Ohio State offense is on. When the Nittany Lions spent two bodies on guarding Sullinger in the paint, Buford had an easy lane to the basket and Diebler had space to shoot his 3's.
Four of their five starters are seniors, and that experience has helped them play a bit above their statistical bearing. The defensive turnaround is truly bizarre, but I attribute that to desperation for an NCAA tournament berth and poor shooting from opponents. It is a tournament, so anything can happen, but Penn State's failure to launch on Senior Night has removed any fear I have of them. They're a solid team with a great player in Talor Battle, but we've already seen what happens once Battle is bottled up and the opponent is shooting well. I don't expect another 21-point victory, but I also don't expect another nail biter like the first game against the Nittany Lions in Columbus.
However, over at Black Shoe Diaries, they think they have a pretty good shot at pulling off the upset.
Penn State's senior class might well be heading to the NCAA Tournament by day's end, win or lose, but it has never beaten Ohio State. You can bet that's somethingan Co. would like to check off their college career bucket list in their final conference game. It's not going to be easy by any means. The Buckeyes have an extra day of rest and a deeper bench to throw at a paper thin Penn State lineup playing its fourth game in four days, but it's hard to beat a team three times in one season. With two games between these teams already in the books, Ohio State will have no secrets against Penn State. The question is whether the Lions can make the most of what they know is coming.
Tip-off for the Big Ten Tournament Championship is set for 2:30 PM Central time, and you'll be able to watch all of the action on CBS.
The Penn State Nittany Lions knew they had to go on a bit of a run if they were to stake a reasonable claim to a spot in the 2011 NCAA Tournament. Today, they notched their third win in a row in the 2011 Big Ten Tournament, and that might just be enough to get them a spot on the dance floor.
Talor Battle poured in 25 points on the afternoon, and Tim Frazier added 22 for the Nittany Lions as they took down the Michigan State Spartans by a final score of 61-48. That win earns them the right to take on the Ohio State Buckeyes in the finals of the tournament tomorrow afternoon.
The two teams went into the locker room tied at 26, and Michigan State took a 29-28 lead early in the half, but the Nittany Lions went on a 14-2 run, keyed by four straight three-pointers by Battle. The Nittany Lions remained firmly in control the rest of the way, as Michigan State just couldn't get anything going after the halftime break.
The Spartans were led in scoring for the afternoon by Kalin Lucas, who has 16. Durrell Summers chipped in with 11, and Draymond Green added 10 in the losing effort.
So, the Big Ten Tournament finals are set, as we'll have Penn State taking on Ohio State from Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Tip-off is set for 2:30 PM Central time tomorrow, and you'll be able to watch all the action on your local CBS station.
The Penn State Nittany Lions and the Michigan State Spartans are locked in a good one in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals from Conseco Fieldhouse, as the two teams are tied at 26 as they head into the locker room at halftime.
Michigan State got off to a hot start, scoring 11 of the game's first 13 points to take a 11-2 lead, and had another nine-point lead at 19-10 with 10:43 left in the half. But the Nittany Lions chipped away at the Spartans' lead, going on an 11-2 run of their own to tie the game at 21. The Nittany Lions even had the lead towards the end of the first half at 26-23, but Keith Appling hit a three pointer late in the half to give us a tie game.
Penn State's Tim Frazier leads all scorers with 11 points, and Talor Battle has chipped in with eight for the Nittany Lions. On the Michigan State side, Durrell Summers leads the way with eight, and Draymond Green has six.
We're twenty minutes away from setting the finals of the Big Ten Tournament. Penn State has never made the tournament championship before, while Michigan State has gotten there a few times. Whatever happens, we'll have a recap here at SB Nation Minnesota when it's all said and done.
An unlikely semifinal match-up will finish up our action for Saturday in the 2011 Big Ten Tournament, as the Penn State Nittany Lions will fight to tighten their tenuous grip on a spot in the NCAA Tournament against a team that has already done just that this week, the Michigan State Spartans.
Both of these teams will be playing their third game of the tournament. Penn State started off the tourney by beating the Indiana Hoosiers, 61-55, and followed that up by lulling the Wisconsin Badgers to sleep in a 36-33 victory. Michigan State defeated the Iowa Hawkeyes on Thursday, 66-61, and then thumped the Purdue Boilermakers by a score of 74-56 last night.
The folks at Black Shoe Diaries are cautiously optimistic about the Nittany Lions' chances of advancing to their first-ever Big Ten Tournament title game.
There aren't many things in college basketball more difficult than beatingand Michigan State in March. The Spartans have earned all the headlines of their last two tournament runs for a reason: they're good and they know it. At the same time, the Lions earned their fair share this season as well, and for that reason, they'll don the white jerseys in this game. It might be little more than symbolic, but Penn State is the higher seed and needs to play with the confidence that should come with that. The Lions are good, too, and the stage is their to prove it to the world. Time to get it done and lock up a bid. A decade's wait is long enough.
At The Only Colors, the Spartan faithful are a little surprised at who they're playing today.
So, it's a bit of a surprise playing a team in blue instead of a team in red today. This is probably a good thing: empirically, Wisconsin is a better team than Penn State, and while MSU has lost games to the Lions in recent years (including this year), those difficulties are nothing compared to the struggles MSU has had against the Badgers in the Bo Ryan era. Games against Wisconsin are always emotional affairs for MSU, and no doubt avoiding the Badgers means that MSU will be less exhausted heading into the BTT championship and/or the opening rounds of the big Tournament.
Nonethless, MSU is only 4-2 against the Lions in the past three years, and many of the wins have been been of the nail-biter variety. As always,is the Lions' headliner, but (who should have been on one of the all-Big Ten teams) is a big threat down low, and performed very well against MSU in January. This game clearly means more to Penn State than to MSU: many bracketologists have PSU as one of the last 4 teams in, a position which very well may be compromised with a loss today. Conversely, MSU is probably safe at this point, but winning this tournament would bring more than a modicum of redemption to an otherwise disappointing season. You know Lucas, Green, Roe, Summers, Kebler, and the rest want this badly.
This one is set to tip off in about 20 minutes or so, and the action will be broadcast on CBS.
The Ohio State Buckeyes led by as many as 18 points in the second half, and used that big cushion to take down their rivals from Michigan, 68-61, in the semifinals of the 2011 Big Ten Tournament.
Ten minutes into the second half, Tim Hardaway, Jr. made a shot to pull the Wolverines to within two at 47-45, but the Buckeyes went on a big 16-0 run after that to open their lead up to 18. The Wolverines didn't get any closer than four the rest of the way.
The Buckeyes had a balanced attack this afternoon, with Jon Diebler leading the way with 16 points, and Jared Sullinger and William Buford chipping in with 14 points each. Sullinger also pulled down 13 rebounds for the Buckeyes.
For the Wolverines, Darius Morris led the team with 16 points, and Hardaway, Jr. put in 15.
The Buckeyes now await the winner of the second game of the day between Penn State and Michigan State in the Big Ten Tournament finals.
In our first Big Ten Tournament semifinal of the day, the Ohio State Buckeyes have the lead over the Michigan Wolverines by a score of 31-27.
Jon Diebler has led the way so far for the Buckeyes, with his 12 points leading all scorers in this one. Jared Sullinger has made his presence felt as well, scoring seven points and pulling down eight rebounds during the first twenty minutes of play.
Darius Morris leads the Wolverines thus far with nine points, and Tim Hardaway, Jr. has scored six for Michigan.
Michigan has done well from long range, having hit four of eleven three point attempts. The Buckeyes have knocked down two of their seven shots from behind the arc.
The winner of this game will advance to the Big Ten Tournament finals, where they will play the winner of this afternoon's second game between the Penn State Nittany Lions and the Michigan State Spartans.
When you think of Ohio State and Michigan, your thoughts will more than likely turn to the Big House, the Horseshoe, and college football. But this afternoon, those two teams will lock horns for the right to advance to the finals of the 2011 Big Ten Tournament.
Ohio State got here on the strength of their 67-61 overtime victory against Northwestern yesterday, while the Wolverines defeated Illinois 60-55.
At Along the Olentangy, SB Nation's Ohio State site, the fans of the scarlet and gray like their chances.
I was confident about yesterday's game against Northwestern, and my confidence turned out to be misplaced. I'm confident about this game, but for more concrete reasons than an athleticism advantage. Michigan has to shoot absurdly well to account for their rebounding and free throw rate deficiencies, and that's a tough task against the Buckeye defense.
Over at Maize n Brew, they're pretty happy to be in the NCAA Tournament after being on the bubble for so long.
Yesterday was a great day for Michigan. They won a critical bubble game against a bubble team in Illinois. They significantly improved their NCAA Tournament resume even with other bubble teams pulling off upsets. How much? They jumped 6 spots in RPI, and now sit comfortably at 50th. Michigan's Strength of Schedule remains 17th, but after playing Ohio State today, that will likely jump as well.
This one will tip off at 12:40 PM Central time, and you can see all the action on CBS.
We're down to the final three games today in Indianapolis, and after last night's upsets, the semifinals of the 2011 Big Ten Tournament have a bit of a different look than we might have expected.
The first game of the afternoon will feature the top-seeded Ohio State Buckeyes taking on the fifth-seeded Michigan Wolverines. Ohio State survived in overtime yesterday against the Northwestern Wildcats, 67-61, while Michigan had a huge second half to knock off the Illinois Fighting Illini, 60-55.
These two teams met twice in the regular season, with Ohio State coming out victorious both times. The Buckeyes won 68-64 in Ann Arbor on January 12, and were victorious in Columbus on February 3 by a score of 62-53.
This one will tip off at 12:40 PM Central time, and you'll be able to watch it all on CBS.
The late game features the two teams that pulled off a couple of pretty impressive upsets last night, as the Michigan State Spartans will do battle with the Penn State Nittany Lions. Michigan State blew out the Purdue Boilermakers last night by a score of 74-56, while the Nittany Lions won one of the lowest scoring games I've ever seen, as they knocked off the Wisconsin Badgers by a score of 36-33.
These two teams also met twice in the regular season, and split their two match-ups. Penn State won at home on January 8 by a score of 66-62, and the Spartans were victorious in East Lansing, 75-57.
This game will be on CBS as well, and will be tipping off approximately 25 minutes after the first game concludes.
The second upset of the day in the 2011 Big Ten Tournament happened just after the first one, giving us a highly improbable semifinal match-up tomorrow night.
The Penn State Nittany Lions, who may or may not still have NCAA Tournament aspirations, certainly played as though they did tonight, defeating the Wisconsin Badgers in what can charitably be labeled a snoozefest, 36-33.
If you'll recall, in the tournament's first game, Northwestern guard Michael Thompson set a new record by scoring 35 points. . .by himself. I would have to believe that Wisconsin's 33-point performance is the fewest points scored in a game in the history of the Big Ten Tournament.
Penn State actually got off to a pretty hot start, scoring 14 points in the game's first seven and a half minutes. . .then Wisconsin got their first bucket of the evening. The halftime score was 20-16 in favor of Penn State, so the teams combined for 36 points in the first half of play, and 33 in the second half.
Nobody from Penn State scored in double digits, as Talor Battle led the way with nine. Tim Frazier had eight, and David Jackson had seven. For Wisconsin, 26 of their 33 points were scored by Jordan Taylor, who had 16, and Jon Leuer, who had ten.
As you would expect, both teams were awful from the field, but Wisconsin was particularly bad from three-point range, hitting only two of 21 long-range shots. The Badgers shot 29.4% for the game, while Penn State shot 33.3% for the evening.
Penn State will now move on to take the evening's other upset winner, the Michigan State Spartans, in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals tomorrow night at Conseco Fieldhouse. Wisconsin is done, and they'll have to wait until Sunday to see exactly how much damage they did to their seeding with this performance.
Thanks for following all of our coverage here at SB Nation Minnesota. Look around the site a little bit, because there's been a whole lot of action taking place while this Big Ten Tournament has been going on.
Penn State is playing like they still have a chance to get into the Big Dance, and if they keep this up, they could end up making a pretty good case for themselves.
The Nittany Lions scored the first 14 points of the ball game to build a big early lead, but the Wisconsin Badgers haven't rolled over, putting together a nice run of their own to close out the half and go down to the locker room down by just four, 20-16.
Wisconsin didn't get a basket until nearly seven and a half minutes into the proceedings, and have only had two players dent the scoring column in the first half. Jordan Taylor has ten points for the Badgers thus far, while Jon Leuer has six.
The Nittany Lions have a balanced attack, as David Jackson leads the way with seven points, and Tim Frazier has six. Andrew Jones and Talor Battle have gotten on the board with four and three points, respectively.
The Badgers are only shooting 28% from the floor, and an abysmal 1-for-11 from behind the arc. Penn State hasn't been much better, only shooting 34.8% in the first half.
There's one half of basketball left in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament. Will Penn State pull off the night's second upset, or will Wisconsin right the ship and move on to take on Michigan State?
With three games already in the books, including one significant upset, the evening of basketball in the 2011 Big Ten Tournament will conclude with the Wisconsin Badgers taking on the Penn State Nittany Lions. Penn State still harbors some NCAA Tournament aspirations, but they most likely need a victory over the Badgers tonight in order to have a shot at making that happen.
At Black Shoe Diaries, they know what the Nittany Lions have to do tonight to get past the Badgers.
Penn State will likely bring intensity and emotion into its performance tonight with an at-large berth on the line. As we learned against Ohio State, though, those things won't always do the trick. The Lions need to make sure they play smart and focused, from the top and point guarddown to the reserves. Otherwise, it might be a long winter.
The folks at Bucky's 5th Quarter have high hopes as well.
So the Big Ten Tournament is already halfway over and the Badgers haven't played yet. That means they have any easier shot to win it, right?
Not really, but it does mean that Wisconsin could play in three of the remaining four games this weekend. Every Big Ten team besides Wisconsin has played a game in this year's Big Ten Tournamen and three of them have played twice already.
That's the perk of being the three seed. Although some believe it's an advantage to have a game under your belt like Penn State does. We already know the Nittany Lions are dangerous as they beat the Badgers Jan. 29 in Happy Valley.
This one will get underway in about 20 minutes or so here, and your television coverage will be provided by the Big Ten Network.
In the biggest upset of the Big Ten Tournament thus far, the Michigan State Spartans fully dominated the Purdue Boilermakers on Friday night, winning by a score of 74-56 in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament.
Kalin Lucas had a huge game for the Spartans in their winning effort, finishing with 30 points, including going 4-of-6 from three-point range. Lucas had been questionable to play in this one after suffering an ankle injury in Michigan State's victory against the Iowa Hawkeyes last night. Keith Appling was Michigan State's second leading scorer with 10.
Purdue just couldn't get anything going on the night, JaJuan Johnson tried to keep his team afloat, finishing with a team-high 21, but the Boilermakers as a whole had an awful night from long distance, hitting only three of sixteen attempted three pointers.
Michigan State now advances to the semifinals, where they'll take on the winner of the upcoming match-up between the Wisconsin Badgers and the Penn State Nittany Lions.
Apparently, the Michigan State Spartans want to make it abundantly clear that they want a spot in the 2011 NCAA Tournament.
They've just gone into the locker room at half time in Indianapolis, and Sparty holds a 14-point lead over the second-seeded Purdue Boilermakers, 37-23.
For Michigan State, guard Kalin Lucas. . .who was questionable to play in this game at all with an ankle injury, has been on fire, hitting 7-of-10 from the field and leading everyone with 18 points at the break. JaJuan Johnson has 10 at halftime for the Boilermakers, but nobody else on the Purdue side of the ledger has more than four.
The big difference thus far has been three-point shooting, with the Spartans having hit 7-of-9 from behind the arc, while the Boilermakers have hit only 1-of-10 from long range.
Michigan State would likely solidify itself as the sixth Big Ten team in the big dance with a victory this evening, and they're well on their way to doing so. Of course, lots of people probably thought the same about Illinois earlier today as well, and the Illini are heading home after falling to Michigan's big second-half comeback.
The second half is about to get underway in this 2011 Big Ten Tournament match-up. We'll be back with a recap when it's all said and done.
The coverage of the 2011 Big Ten Tournament will shift from ESPN to the Big Ten Network this evening, and while they'll be hard-pressed to follow up the action that we got in the two early games, we should still get a couple of pretty good contests.
The first game of tonight's session from Conseco Fieldhouse will pit the second-seeded Purdue Boilermakers against the seventh-seeded Michigan State Spartans. Michigan State got here by knocking off the Iowa Hawkeyes in the opening round of the tournament last night.
Over at Hammer and Rails, SB Nation's Purdue blog, they seem to like their chances against the Spartans this time around.
I am very wary of playing the Spartans for a third time, but I am encouraged that we drilled them both times. The second half of our game in East Lansing is about the best we have played all year, especially withtearing them apart. They have yet to prove this season they can stop LewJack, or for that matter. I think our guys have been itching for another game all week to get the bad taste of that Iowa game out of their mouths. It is good that Michigan State won, because if we had lost to Iowa again we would have probably dropped to a four seed. Now I think we have a three seed even if we lose to Michigan State because they are good, desperate team trying to get into the NCAA's. a win makes a two seed a very strong possibility, especially if some other things go our way.
Over at The Only Colors, Spartan fans know what's on the line for this one.
So, it hasn't been the best day so far for MSU's bid chances. Viz.:
- Michigan finished the game on a 21-4 run to beat Illinois. Michigan essentially clinches a tournament bid, and Illinois is probably still in good shape (even though their profile is remarkably similar to MSU's).
- Alabama beat Georgia. Both teams are likely to make the tournament now.
- Dayton beat Xavier. Normally we're all about Brian Gregory's team, but he certainly didn't do us a solid by probably creating an additional bid for the A-10.
On a more positive note, Clemson and North Carolina won, but those good results certainly don't cancel out the bad things that have happened so far today.
Obviously, MSU can end the discussion entirely with a win against Purdue.
The Spartans haven't been terribly competitive in two match-ups against the Boilermakers this season, but March has a way of bringing out the best in teams. Things will tip off at 5:30 PM Central time on the Big Ten Network.
If the Michigan Wolverines were on the bubble going into today's action, they should be off of it now.
The Wolverines, who at this time last week were largely projected to end up in an NCAA Tournament "play-in" game, appear to have placed themselves firmly on the floor for the Big Dance after knocking off the Illinois Fighting Illini by a score of 60-55 in the 2011 Big Ten Tournament. Illinois was in control early, taking a 34-23 lead into the locker room at halftime, but Michigan stormed back in the final 20 minutes, outscoring the Illini 37-21 to give themselves the victory.
The Wolverines were led in scoring by guard Darius Morris, who scored 17 for the victors. Tim Hardaway, Jr. hit four of seven three-point attempts and wound up with 16 points in the winning effort. For Illinois, Brandon Paul, Mike Tisdale, and Demetri McCarney each had ten points.
In what may be a Big Ten Tournament record, the Fighting Illini only went to the free throw line three times on the afternoon, making two of their three foul shots. Michigan went 11-of-14 from the free throw line.
Michigan moves on to tomorrow's action, where they'll take on the Ohio State Buckeyes in the Big Ten semi-finals. Illinois' Big Ten Tournament is finished, but they'll likely still wind up in the NCAA field as a lower-seeded at-large team.
Next up is the evening session, which will kick off with the Purdue Boilermakers taking on the Michigan State Spartans. That game will get underway at 5:30 PM Central time on the Big Ten Network.
Ohio State and Northwestern put on a heck of a show to kick off Friday's action in the 2011 Big Ten Tournament, but Illinois and Michigan will attempt to follow it up when they battle for the right to take on Ohio State in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals. You can watch all of the action on ESPN.
Over at Hail to the Orange, SB Nation's site for the Fighting Illini, they think they've got a pretty good shot at advancing to take on the Buckeyes.
If Illinois plays the way they have been lately, in two wins against Iowa and Indiana, and a road loss to Purdue, they should dispatch the Wolverines handily. Illinois matches up very well against UM, as they have a great deal of defensive strength and speed on the perimeter, as well as three post players that may be able to score with easy against the undersized Wolverine front line.
On the other hand, as we have seen in the past, if Michigan gets hot from three, there is no telling how many points they will put on the board. The Wolverines heaved up 18 three's in their loss in Champaign, but only connected on two of them. I doubt we can be so lucky as to have such a low deep shooting percentage again, but it may not matter if Illinois can manage to get enough points and boards out of their big men, something we have been saying of course, for three years.
The folks at SB Nation's Michigan Wolverines site, Maize n Brew, don't seem to be quite as optimistic, for some reason.
If you listen to the prognosticators, for the first time this season Michigan is going into a game with something to lose. Something that can be taken away from them. And how that will effect their play is the great unknown.
Even though we as fans and the media have them "solidly" in the Tournament, what the hell do we know? No invitation has been extended. Michigan's resume is good, but not a lock for inclusion. No one is talking about seeding, they're only talking about making it. Put simply, it ain't a done deal yet.
That's why today's game is such an opportunity for this young Michigan squad. They've been written off once before this season, and they certainly don't want to allow anyone the opportunity to do that again. This is an opportunity to erase a two point loss to the Illini earlier this season. It's an opportunity to show just how good they are. The opportunity to get to the next level years ahead of where even the most optimistic Michigan fans thought it would take. The opportunity to carve their ticket to the Dance in stone.
It should be a good one, and it will be getting underway here shortly.
It wasn't pretty, and it wasn't easy, but the Ohio State Buckeyes managed to get the job done and advance in the Big Ten Tournament on Friday afternoon.
The Northwestern Wildcats put up one heck of a fight, but just didn't have enough down the stretch, as the Buckeyes outscored them in the overtime, 15-9, and took home a 67-61 victory to advance to the semi-finals.
Jared Sullinger had a monster game for the Buckeyes, finishing the afternoon with 20 points and 18 rebounds for Ohio State in the victory. Aaron Craft chipped in with 17 points as well. For the Wildcats, John Shurna led the way with 23 points, and Michael Thompson followed up his Big Ten Tournament-record performance from yesterday with a 15-point effort this afternoon.
Northwestern never had the lead in the overtime period, as the Buckeyes scored the first four points of extra time, and the Wildcats couldn't get any closer than a one-point deficit in the final five minutes of play.
The Buckeyes will now move on to battle the winner of the upcoming game between the Michigan Wolverines and the Illinois Fighting Illini. That game should be getting underway in about 20 minutes or so on ESPN.
We're heading to overtime in the first game of the day in the 2011 Big Ten Tournament, as the Northwestern Wildcats and the Ohio State Buckeyes are tied at 52 going into the extra session.
Ohio State went into the locker room with a 28-23 halftime lead, but the Wildcats outscored the Buckeyes 29-24 in the second half to force extra time.
John Shurna is leading the way for Northwestern with 23 points, while Michael Thompson has added 13 for the Wildcats.
Ohio State is still in this one despite shooting just 31% from the field. Northwestern hasn't been a whole lot better, currently sitting at 37% from the field.
With the overtime period just underway, the Buckeyes have taken a 56-55 lead over the Wildcats. We'll have a recap here as soon as it finishes.
The Ohio State Buckeyes are the top team in the nation and the top seed in the Big Ten Tournament, but they're getting all they can handle from the Nortwestern Wildcats thus far. As the teams have gone into the locker room at halftime, the Buckeyes have a five-point lead, 28-23.
Aaron Craft leads the Buckeyes with nine points through the first 20 minutes of play, and Jared Sullinger has already gathered 11 rebounds. David Lighty is the Buckeyes' second-leading scorer with six. For Northwestern, John Shurna leads all scorers in this one thus far with ten.
Northwestern had a lead at 23-19 with three minutes left to play in the half, but the Buckeyes closed things out on a 9-0 run to give them their current cushion.
The winner of this game will play the winner of the second game of the morning session, which will be contested by the Michigan Wolverines and the Illinois Fighting Illini. That game will start approximately 25 minutes after the conclusion of this game.
Day Two of the Big Ten Tournament gets underway in just a couple of hours, and we've got your early game previews right here.
The first matchup is the proverbial David vs. Goliath matchup, as Northwestern takes on the juggernaut that is Ohio State (11:00 CST). Northwestern, led by Michael Thompson, is coming off a solid win over our Minnesota Golden Gophers squad that seemed to epitomize the phrase 'going through the motions'.
Barring an improbable run to the Big Ten tournament title, Northwestern has virtually no chance to make the Dance, but they are a solid NIT team, and one that Ohio State shouldn't take lightly. A Northwestern win is considered improbable, but that's why they call it March Madness, boys and girls.
For the Buckeyes, they enter the Big Ten tournament as the #1 seed for winning the regular season conference champions, a probable #1 seed in one of the tournament brackets, and oh yeah, they're the #1 team in the country. From super freshman JD Sullinger to the backcourt of Jon Diebler and William Buford, the Buckeyes just seem to have way too many weapons for the Wildcats to handle.
The last early game is an evenly matched game against featuring Michigan against Illinois. MIchigan seems to have done enough to make the NCAA tournament regardless of the outcome of this game, but a win against Illinois would all but assure the Wolverines of a ticket to the Dance. We'll let Maize and Brew Dave from the Michigan blog Maize and Brew explain where Michigan stands:
If we're being honest it's a good, but not great resume. But then again we're talking about getting into the Tournament, not talking seeding. As for intangibles, Michigan is arguably one of the hottest teams in the country. They're balanced and they're obviously well coached. They've beaten several other bubble teams during their push toward the Tournament.
Certainly were biased here, but this resume should be enough to get Michigan into the tournament as it stands. But nothing is guaranteed. Michigan faces Illinois tomorrow in the second round of the Big Ten Tournament, and their performance will be closely watched by the selection committee. With an RPI of 38, the Illini are sitting pretty for the tournament regardless of the outcome (though I'm sure they'd happily improve their seeding). For Michigan to erase all doubt from Selection Sunday a win on Friday is a must. Beating Illinois would be their second best win on the season, and maybe even bump them to a 10 or 9 seed in the Tourney.
For Illinois, they're in and not worried about getting their bubble burst. The Illini are playing for tournament seeding, and you would have to consider them the favorite for this game, but not prohibitively so. They've had an up and down season, but have played strong down the stretch. Jon Kutsunis from Hail to the Orange explains:
That said, even thought the Illini only beat UM by two points in Champaign last month, I think they will come away with a victory tomorrow. Giving the Illini a shot at the No.1 Ohio State Buckeyes, and a real shot to get a great seed in the NCAA Tournament.
If Illinois plays the way they have been lately, in two wins against Iowa and Indiana, and a road loss to Purdue, they should dispatch the Wolverines handily. Illinois matches up very well against UM, as they have a great deal of defensive strength and speed on the perimeter, as well as three post players that may be able to score with easy against the undersized Wolverine front line.
The Illinois-Michigan game will tip off approximately 25 minutes after the Ohio State-Northwestern game has ended, and you can catch both games on ESPN.
As we head into Day Two of action in the Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis, here's what today's schedule looks like.
The first game of the day will pit the top-seeded Ohio State Buckeyes against the Northwestern Wildcats. Northwestern got here by knocking off the Minnesota Golden Gophers, 75-65, in yesterday's action. The tip-off for this one is scheduled for 11 AM Central time, and you'll be able to watch the game on ESPN.
The morning session will conclude with the only game that wasn't affected in any way by yesterday's action, the match-up between the fourth-seeded Illinois Fighting Illini and the fifth-seeded Michigan Wolverines. This game will also be on ESPN, and will get underway approximately 25 minutes after the conclusion of Ohio State/Northwestern.
From there, we'll move on to the evening session, which will start off with the #2 seed, the Purdue Boilermakers, locking horns with the #7 seed, the Michigan State Spartans. Sparty got a win yesterday over the Iowa Hawkeyes, but they may still need another one to cement their NCAA Tournament invitation, depending on what goes on in some other locales. Scheduled start time for this one from Conseco Fieldhouse is set for 5:30 PM Central time, and the television coverage for this one will shift over to the Big Ten Network.
The day will conclude with the third-seeded Wisconsin Badgers battling the sixth-seeded Penn State Nittany Lions. Penn State got past the Indiana Hoosiers in yesterday's action, but is still firmly on the bubble as they prepare to take on the Badgers. This one will also be on the Big Ten Network, and will get underway about 25 minutes after Purdue/Michigan State concludes.
We will continue to have all your coverage of the Big Ten Tournament here at SB Nation Minnesota.
The Penn State Nittany Lions didn't make it easy on themselves, but they ultimately got the job done in the first round of the Big Ten tournament with a 61-55 victory over the Indiana Hoosiers.
Penn State went into the locker room with a 28-27 lead thanks to a last-second tip-in by Jeff Brooks, and although Indiana managed to keep it close in the second half, they never regained the lead after halftime.
Brooks led the Nittany Lions with 15 points, and Talor Battle added 13 for the victors, who will move on to play the Wisconsin Badgers in tomorrow's tournament action. The Hoosiers were paced by Christian Watford's 15 points. Indiana has now wrapped up their third consecutive losing season, the first time that has happened since 1967-70.
With that, the Big Ten Tournament schedule for tomorrow is set. The action will kick off with the game between Ohio State and Northwestern, and that will be followed by Illinois and Michigan. Purdue and Michigan State will kick off the evening session, and the final game of the night will pit Wisconsin against Penn State.
We will continue to have all of the coverage here for you at SB Nation Minnesota.
The Indiana Hooisers have fallen on hard times as a basketball program recently, but they have a chance tonight to burst the bubble of one of the teams that may be teetering on the edge of an NCAA Tournament berth.
The Hoosiers, the lowest-seeded team in the Big Ten Tournament, will conclude the first night of the tournament by taking on the Penn State Nittany Lions. Penn State is on the edge of the bubble at this point, and would likely have to win at least two games in the Big Ten Tournament to get serious consideration for an NCAA Tournament spot.
Over at the Crimson Quarry, the Hoosier fans know the odds are pretty much stacked against them.
The odds are against the Hoosiers tonight, according to Vegas, Pomeroy, and Big Ten Tournament history. In the thirteen previous tournaments, only Illinois in 1999 has won a game as the #11 seed. As IU fans may recall, the Illini followed their win over #6 Minnesota with a beatdown of #3 IU and an upset of #2 Ohio State before losing to #1 Michigan State in the final. If there is any hope, it is that IU should have something of a crowd advantage over Penn State, the most distant Big Ten school and the school with the least interested basketball fan base. Penn State, while certainly better than IU in this category, has not been a terribly good road team this season. Until late February, Penn State's only win away from the Bryce Jordan Center was the aforementioned win at IU. The Lions finished strong on the road, however, winning at Northwestern and Minnesota in their final two road games. A win tonight at least would spare the 2010-11 Hoosiers the current distinction as the only team in IU history without a win away from Bloomington. Meanwhile, Penn State could play its way into the NCAA Tournament with a strong run at Indy, but as in 2009, when Penn State won the NIT, Penn State's non-conference schedule and performance may put the Lions on the wrong side of the line. I think it's fair to say that a loss to IU would burst the bubble.
The Nittany Lion fans over at Black Shoe Diaries know what's at stake as well.
Without looking too far ahead, it's important to point out that today is about more than Penn State vs. Indiana. Bubble teams everywhere will be starting conference tournament play, and the Lions would love to see as many of them drop as possible. Click here to see the bubble slate for the day. If Penn State can see any of Boston College, Memphis, Tennessee, USC, Georgia, Virginia Tech, Michigan State or Washington State fall, it'll be a productive day for their at-large hopes. Ultimately, Penn State can't be eliminated today if it wins, but its road could get either tougher or easier depending upon what happens across America.
Tip-off for this one is scheduled for 6:30 PM Central time on the Big Ten Network.
It wasn't easy, but the Michigan State Spartans took another step towards getting themselves off of the bubble and into the NCAA Tournament field.
Paced by 21 points and 14 rebounds from Draymond Green, the Spartans held off the feisty Hawkeyes by a final score of 66-61 in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament from Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
Kalin Lucas chipped in with 11 points for the Spartans, and Keith Appling contributed 10 points to the victorious effort. For the Hawkeyes, Bryce Cartwright led the way with 14, and Matt Gatens wound up with 13. Those two players combined for 21 in the first half for Iowa, but could only put in a total of six points in the second half of play.
After Michigan State went into the locker room with a two-point lead, the two teams went back and forth with the lead to start the second half. With the game tied at 45, Iowa went on an 8-0 run to take a 53-45 lead with 11:40 left. The Spartans responded with a 10-2 run of their own, and the game was tied again at 55 with just over eight minutes remaining.
The lead continued to change hands, until Durrell Summers hit two free throws with just 15 seconds remaining to make the score 64-62. Gatens missed a go-ahead three-pointer, and forward Zach McCabe missed a tip-in that would have tied it. Summers then hit two more free throws to provide the final margin of victory.
Michigan State will advance to take on the Purdue Boilermakers tomorrow, while Iowa's season is more than likely over and done with.
Next up, we'll have the final match-up of the evening between the Penn State Nittany Lions and the Indiana Hoosiers, which will air on the Big Ten Network. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:30 PM Central time.
Michigan State is probably fighting for their tournament lives this afternoon against the Iowa Hawkeyes, and Iowa is making sure that they do, indeed, have to fight to get into the NCAA Tournament field.
The second half is just underway at Conseco Fieldhouse, and Iowa has just taken the lead over the Spartans by a score of 35-33.
For Iowa, Matt Gatens has 11 points thus far, while Bryce Cartwright has put in ten.
The Spartans are just 2-for-11 from three point range this far in this one, while Iowa has only attempted four three pointers, hitting three of them.
Michigan State has a fight on their hands against the Hawkeyes, folks. You can check the action out on ESPN2.
With the first game of the 2011 Big Ten Basketball tournament in the books, we're just mere minutes away from the start of Game Two, which will feature one of the Big Ten's bubble teams, the Michigan State Spartans, taking on the Iowa Hawkeyes. The winner of this one will move on to battle the Purdue Boilermakers in tomorrow's action, and you can see it on ESPN2.
Over at Black Heart Gold Pants, they've visualized Iowa's path to the NCAA Tournament. . .a tall task for a team that was 11-19 overall this season and 4-14 in the Big Ten.
Iowa has beaten Sparty before, and there’s no reason they can’t do it again. The Spartans will be motivated, as a good run in the conference tournament is probably the only way they will make the big dance, but they are still a team of many flaws. Flaw #1: Bad offense. They are worst in the conference in two-point percentage and ninth in three-point percentage. As long as the Hawks don’t give up easy baskets, the Spartans can be counted on to shoot themselves out of the gym. Flaw #2: poor free throw shooting. They are the eighth worst free throw shooting team in the conference, and feature a trio of players (, and ) who all shoot under 70% from the line. I suggest a hack-a-name-starting-with-D strategy. Flaw #3: poor three-point defense. The Spartans are 9th in the conference in opponent three-point percentage, suggesting they have trouble locating shooters on the perimeter. If there’s a game where we need , and to get hot from the perimeter, this is it.
Over at The Only Colors, our Michigan State blog, they have a good idea about how they can beat the Hawkeyes.
Iowa, clearly, is an energy team. They score when they're getting second chances, pushing the ball in transition, forcing turnovers and generally keeping things at a frenetic pace. Things have certainly changed from the Lickliter era. If MSU can continue to take advantage of their size on offense and show more energy of their own on defense, they stand a good chance of winning this one and keeping their tournament streak alive. A failure to match Iowa's effort, and some better luck on jumpshots for the Hawkeyes, could put the Spartans in a very uncomfortable and unfamiliar position indeed.
If you just finished watching the Minnesota/Northwestern game, just keep your set right where it is and stick around for this one.
For a little while, it looked like the Gophers had a chance to get themselves a victory and move on to a match-up with the Ohio State Buckeyes on Friday afternoon. But, as has been the case for the past couple of months, the Gophers completely fell apart late.
The Gophers took a 44-42 lead on a dunk by Trevor Mbakwe with 12:54 left in the ball game, but from that point on it was all Wildcats, as Northwestern scored 24 of the next 30 points to turn what was a close contest into a laugher, ultimately beating Minnesota by a score of 75-65.
Michael Thompson was on fire for Northwestern, and wound up setting a record for most points scored in a single Big Ten Tournament game with 35 points on 11-for-22 shooting. Mbakwe led Minnesota with 19 points and 11 rebounds, and Ralph Sampson III chipped in with 13. Blake Hoffarber, in what might be his final game as a member of the Golden Gophers, finished with 12.
Northwestern will move on to battle Ohio State in tomorrow afternoon's first game, while the Gophers now have to sit back and wonder whether or not they'll even get an invitation from the NIT.
Up next, we'll have the Michigan State Spartans and the Iowa Hawkeyes.
We're at halftime of the first game of the 2011 Big Ten Tournament, and the Minnesota Golden Gophers and Northwestern Wildcats are locked in a close one, with the Gophers currently trailing the Wildcats by a score of 32-30.
Michael Thompson, who had 18 points the last time these two teams got together, already has 13 at the half to pace Northwestern. Drew Crawford has six points for Northwestern.
Neither team has had a great shooting day thus far, with both teams currently under 40% from the floor. Minnesota has shot 11-for-28 (39.3%), and Northwestern is currently 11-for-29 (37.9%).
The second half of play is coming up on ESPN2, with the next game between Michigan State and Iowa to follow on the same station.
We're an hour away from tip-off at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, and the first game of the day will feature the Minnesota Golden Gophers and the Northwestern Wildcats in a battle for the right to move on and play top-seeded Ohio State tomorrow afternoon.
I will say that one side is a bit more confident than the other in this one. . .and it isn't the side that you might expect. First, the Northwestern perspective from our friends at Sippin' On Purple.
Minnesota has been absolutely slipping and sliding, with only one win since playing NU all the way back in January, seriously struggling without Al Nolen. Nolen dressed up for their last conference game but didn't play - the Cats better hope that stays the same, because Maverick "You big stud" Ahanmisi is pretty bad in comparison. On NU's side of the MASH unit, Mike Capocci and JerShon Cobb are out and doubtful, respectively, leaving the question: does NU go with a six-man rotation in a tournament that they'll need to win four times back-to-back in order to win or give meaningful minutes to Nick Fruendt, or even walk-on Reggie Hearn? Peljusic is already kind of an option with Mirkovic and Curletti's tendency to get into foul trouble. I think the best option is to stick with your top six and hope Juice and Shurna have enough in the tank to pull it out - this game is more important because of NIT connotations than games that could hypothetically happen down the line, so, play to win the game.
Here's what The Daily Gopher has to say about Minnesota's chances in this one.
It is pretty simple, Northwestern shoots a high percentage, scores efficiently and doesn't turn the ball over. Everything else, they aren't very good at. By the efficiency numbers they are the worst defensive team in the Big Ten and 10th by all rebounding criteria. Against this defense our 17.6% three-point shooting in the last NU game is unacceptable. On their home court the Wildcats made seven more threes than we did, those 21 points are hard to overcome on the road. Even at The Barn the Gophers only made two threes compared to NU's 12 but they also hacked us and our 31 points from the free throw line was too much for the Wildcats.
I really should give the Wildcats more respect but teams that can't defend and don't rebound well, I tend to not hold in very high esteem. I expect those three point numbers to be much closer in today's Gopher win. I also expect that we will dominate the glass in today's Gopher win.
There you have it, folks. You can hit either of the links above to hit the Game Threads from each SB Nation site and discuss the game with your fellow Wildcat or Gopher fans.
The Big Ten Tournament is set to get under way from Indianapolis this afternoon with the first three matchups. Here is the schedule for today's portion of the Big Ten Tournament bracket.
The party will kick off at 1:30 p.m. Central time with the game between the eighth-seeded Minnesota Golden Gophers and the ninth-seeded Northwestern Wildcats. You'll be able to catch the coverage for this one on ESPN2.
Approximately 25 minutes after that game concludes, the next matchup of the day will begin. That one will pit the number seven seed, the Michigan State Spartans, against the tournament's No. 10 seed, the Iowa Hawkeyes.
For the nightcap, the coverage will shift to the Big Ten Network, as they'll show the matchup between the No. 6 seeded Penn State Nittany Lions, who are back on the bubble and probably need two victories to have a shot at the tournament, taking on the number eleven seed, the Indiana Hoosiers. The tipoff for that one will be at 6:30 p.m. Central time.
We'll have previews for all of the games as they come up, and hopefully a few additional updates along the way as well. The action will start in a little more than three and a half hours.
The 2011 Big Ten Tournament gets underway tomorrow in Indianapolis, so let's take a look at the three match-ups that will take place at Conseco Fieldhouse on the first day of tournament play.
Game 1 - #8 Northwestern vs #9 Minnesota, 1:30 PM Central on ESPN2
The Gophers haven't done anything of note since Al Nolen's injury. . .well, unless you count losing as noteworthy. The odds are against him being available for the Gophers tomorrow afternoon, from all accounts, so there's no reason to think that anything positive is going to happen for them tomorrow, either. Then again, one of their two wins since Nolen's injury did come against Northwestern, so maybe. . .nah.
Projected winner - Northwestern
Game 2 - #7 Michigan State vs. #10 Iowa, 25 minutes after Game 1 on ESPN2
Iowa handed Michigan State an awful loss in early February, stomping Sparty by 20 points. The Hawkeyes are also coming off a big upset of Purdue in the regular season finale. However, Michigan State knows that they have an NCAA tournament berth on the line, and need to win one game. . .and possibly two. . .to get themselves into the field. The Spartans have too much to play for, and they'll simply be too much for Iowa, barring something crazy happening.
Projected winner - Michigan State
Game 3 - #6 Penn State vs. #11 Indiana, 6:30 PM Central time, Big Ten Network
Another game between a team with everything to play for and a team with nothing to play for. Penn State, depending on who you talk to, is on the bubble, but probably needs to win at least two games in this tournament to have a shot at getting in. It may be a tall order, but the Nittany Lions are capable of it. If they win this game, they'll face a Wisconsin team that they know they've beaten once this season, so anything is possible. Indiana doesn't have any shot of any sort of post-season berth, and their season should come to an end tomorrow night.
Projected winner - Penn State
Not looking for any real surprises tomorrow, quite frankly. . .the only chance for an upset (as much of an upset as you can have in these games, anyway) is if the Golden Gophers finally figure out how to play without Nolen and bump off the Wildcats, but I wouldn't hold my breath on that taking place.
The Minnesota Golden Gophers' season went down the drain when senior point guard Al Nolen suffered an ankle injury, but he's still hoping to give it another go. Unfortunately, the likelihood of that doesn't appear to be very good at this point.
According to Gophers' coach Tubby Smith, Nolen still hasn't been cleared by the medical staff to play basketball yet. He was in uniform for Minnesota's 66-63 season-ending loss to Penn State on Sunday, but that was more or less for show for Senior Day than anything else.
The Gophers are 2-9 since Nolen's injury, and have lost nine of their last ten games.
Minnesota will play Northwestern in the opening game of the 2011 Big Ten Tournament tomorrow afternoon at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
You already know that the best place to get coverage of the Gophers on the internet is over at The Daily Gopher. But all of the Big Ten schools have outstanding blogs here on SB Nation, and we're going to give you the list of each of those sites so that you can get the perspective of all the schools in the Big Ten Tournament.
For a general overview of Big Ten Basketball, be sure to check out BT Powerhouse. For each specific school, check out the sites below:
Illinois Fighting Illini - Hail To The Orange
Indiana Hoosiers - The Crimson Quarry
Iowa Hawkeyes - Black Heart Gold Pants
Michigan Wolverines - Maize n Brew
Michigan State Spartans - The Only Colors
Northwestern Wildcats - Sippin' On Purple
Ohio State Buckeyes - Along The Olentangy
Penn State Nittany Lions - Black Shoe Diaries
Purdue Boilermakers - Hammer and Rails
Wisconsin Badgers - Bucky's 5th Quarter
Check them all out for the best coverage of their respective teams you'll find anywhere, both for the 2011 Big Ten Basketball Tournament and for all your other Big Ten needs.
The Big Ten regular season has come to a conclusion, and the seedings and match-ups for the 2011 Big Ten Basketball Tournament are officially set. Here's where and when you can see all of the Big Ten basketball action, starting next Thursday.
First Round, played on Thursday, March 10
Game 2 - #7 Michigan State Spartans vs #10 Iowa Hawkeyes, 25 minutes after conclusion of Game 1, ESPN2
Game 3 - #6 Penn State Nittany Lions vs #11 Indiana Hoosiers, 6:30 PM Central Time, Big Ten Network
Second Round, Friday, March 11
Game 4 - #1 Ohio State Buckeyes vs Winner of Game 1 (Northwestern/Minnesota), 11 AM Central Time, ESPN
Game 6 - #2 Purdue Boilermakers vs Winner of Game 2 (Michigan State/Iowa), 5:30 PM Central Time, Big Ten Network
Game 7 - #3 Wisconsin Badgers vs Winner of Game 3 (Penn State/Indiana), 25 minutes after conclusion of Game 6, Big Ten Network
Semi-Finals, Saturday, March 12
Game 8 - Winner of Game 4 vs Winner of Game 5, 12:40 PM Central Time, CBS
Game 9 - Winner of Game 6 vs Winner of Game 7, 25 minutes after conclusion of Game 8, CBS
Finals, Sunday, March 13
Game 10 - Championship Game, 2:30 PM Central Time, CBS
The Big Ten Basketball Tournament will be held at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. We will have all the coverage and results right here at SB Nation Minnesota.
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