Day One of the Big Ten Tournament is officially in the books. Just as the regular season was, the opening round of the tournament was anything but predictable. No. 11 Northwestern upset No. 6 Iowa, Ohio State and Minnesota recorded narrow wins over Purdue and Penn State, respectively, and Illinois topped Indiana, who many believed could make a run in this tournament.
With that said, let’s take a look back at the best sights and sounds from Day One of the Big Ten Tournament.
Best win: No. 11 Northwestern defeating No. 6 Iowa, 67-62. The way the regular season went, we knew there was going to be some madness in Indy. No. 11 over No. 6 certainly qualifies as that, especially when one considers Iowa beat Northwestern by 26 points in both regular season meetings.
Best shot: Tre Demps’ deep jumper with 54 seconds remaining in the game, which sealed the victory for the Wildcats.
Best play: Sam Thompson’s alley-oop slam against Purdue.
Honorable mention: Austin Hollins And-1 finish vs. Penn State
Best player: Tracy Abrams, Illinois – 25 points, 7 rebounds, 8-16 shooting (50 percent)
Best player quote: Ohio State senior Lenzelle Smith Jr. on Nebraska – “I’m pretty sure they think they can beat us again, but if we come with our minds right, they’ll see that we got something else in store for them.”
Best coach quote: Illinois coach John Groce on Tracy Abrams – “He’s just a tough kid. He’s a bulldog. I love coaching him. Really, anybody that’s ever coached that kid loves coaching him.”
Best interview: Former Illinois star Brandon Paul.
Paul on his buzzer-beater against Minnesota in last year’s Big Ten Tournament – “It brings back some great memories. Looking back, it all seemed like it happened so fast, so it’s nice to see it now a year later.”
Paul on this year’s Illinois team – “They have a lot of talent, as much talent as any team in the Big Ten.”
Best fan costume: Buck-I-Guy
Best fan jersey: John Groce’s son, Connor