Today was the first round of the 2013 Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament. All 12 teams were eligible to play this year. Top four seeds got first round byes, those byes are as follows:
#2 Ohio State
#3 Michigan State
Today seeds 5-12 were in action. All four games were exciting from start to finish, here is how they all turned out:
8 Illinois 51 9 Minnesota 49
The Fighting Illini and the Golden Gophers came into this game needing to win in order to impress the NCAA Tournament selection committee. Illinois won the only regular season meeting between these two teams, they hoped to use that to their advantage today.
It was a slug fest from start to finish. Both teams traded baskets in the first half but Illinois would eventually take a 23-19 lead at the half. In the second half the Golden Gophers would mount a comeback and cut it close in the very end. It would come down to the final minute with both teams neck and neck. It would take a last second shot by Brandon Paul to win it for the Fighting Illini. One thing that helped Illinois was the fact that they forced Minnesota to commit 19 turnovers.
Despite being outscored 33-26 in the second half, the Illini managed to hang on for the victory. Here is what head coach John Groce had to say after the game: “I thought that defensively we were really good in the first half. Maybe as good as we’ve defended in a long time. Then I thought they flipped the switch on us and got stops and got us out of our rhythm a little bit.”
Illinois has inched themselves closer to an NCAA Tournament bid. The Fighting Illini will play the top seeded Indiana Hoosiers tomorrow morning. Here is the box score from this game: http://www.fightingillini.com/gametracker/launch/gt_mbaskbl.html?event=1244887&school=ill&sport=mbaskbl&camefrom=&startschool=&
5 Michigan 83 12 Penn State 66
Just over a week ago, Michigan took a trip to Penn State and blew a second half lead and lost the game. Today, they were determined not to make the same mistake.
During the first half Michigan took an early lead but Penn State kept it close. D.J. Newbill and Ross Travis kept the Nittany Lions competitive in the first half. But a strong effort from Michigan’s Tim Hardaway Jr., Trey Burke, and Mitch McGary gave the Wolverines a 35-33 halftime lead.
When the second half began it was pretty much the same. Both teams continued to trade buckets within the first few minutes of the half. Then Michigan went on a 19-14 run midway through forcing PSU to call a timeout. From there it was all Michigan……
Tim Hardaway Jr., Nik Stauskas, Trey Burke, Mitch McGary, and Jon Horford all scored in double figures for the Wolverines. They finally managed to pull away and send the Nittany Lions packing. After the game Michigan head coach John Beilein said “I am really proud of this team, the way they bounced back from a disappointing loss on Saturday. Bouncing back is always a difficult thing to do.”
Tomorrow the maize and blue will go up against the Wisconsin Badgers. Here is the box score from this game: http://www.bigten.org/gametracker/launch/gt_mbaskbl.html?event=1244888&school=big10&sport=mbaskbl&camefrom=&startschool=&
7 Purdue 55 10 Nebraska 57
Both of these teams were in desperate need of a victory heading into this contest. The Boilermakers and the Corn Huskers still had a slim chance to get a postseason bid. Nebraska surprised Purdue in the first half. Good perimeter shooting, solid defense, and a presence in the paint kept them going in the opening half. The ‘Huskers shot 13-25 from the field and led 30-28 at halftime.
As the second half began, Nebraska immediately jumped out on an 11-4 run. The Boliermakers came out of the locker room cold as they missed nine of their first 11 shots coming out of the break. With just under five minutes remaining, Purdue would battle back and cut Nebraska’s lead to four. But Nebraska would continue to hit shots down the stretch while Purdue kept missing shots and squandering comeback opportunities.
Purdue head coach Matt Painter was not too happy after this one. “We didn’t have good ball movement” Coach Painter said, “we didn’t transition well and we made mistakes on offense.” And those mistakes cost the Boilermakers dearly. They will now return to West Lafayette, Indiana and start building for next season.
Nebraska will stay alive for at least one more day. But on Friday afternoon the Ohio State Buckeyes will try to stand in their way. Here is the box score from game three: http://www.bigten.org/gametracker/launch/gt_mbaskbl.html?event=1244889&school=big10&sport=mbaskbl&camefrom=&startschool=&
6 Iowa 73 11 Northwestern 59
Iowa won both regular season meetings against Northwestern and scored a total of 141 points in those games. Today was a chance for Northwestern to save their season and perhaps Bill Carmody’s head coaching job as well. But that would not be the case as the Wildcats were flat out stomped.
Northwestern was scoreless for the first eight minutes of the game. By the time they got their first basket, the Hawkeyes already had 15 points. In those first eight minutes, Northwestern was 0-5 from field goal range, 0-2 from three-point land, and they committed two turnovers in that stretch.
By the time the second half started Northwestern had already used all of it’s timeouts. Iowa led by as much as 19 and late in the second half, Northwestern started playing dirty out of frustration. In all honesty, the Wildcats never had a chance. And now Bill Carmody will play the waiting game and find out if he will be brought back next season.
As for the Hawkeyes, they will have to contend with the mighty Michigan State Spartans on Friday. Here is the box score from tonight’s game: http://www.bigten.org/gametracker/launch/gt_mbaskbl.html?event=1244890&school=big10&sport=mbaskbl&camefrom=&startschool=&
So to recap, here are the quarterfinal match ups for Friday:
#1 Indiana VS #8 Illinois
#4 Wisconsin VS #5 Michigan
#6 Iowa VS #3 Michigan State
#2 Ohio State VS #10 Nebraska
You can continue to follow me on Twitter @GabeSalgado82 #ExtraSports for Big Ten Tournament updates.