Three teams and three games. That’s what it has come down to for the Big Ten on the opening weekend of the NCAA tournament.
Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
It was fun while it lasted, Nebraska. The whole “Nebrasketball” thing was a phenomenon this season. The world was watching … or at least it felt like it for a while. And that’s pretty amazing, when you consider how far off the radar this program was flying.
Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
The first full-fledged day of NCAA tournament action was a success for the Big Ten. Yes, No. 11 Iowa lost a play-in game to No. 11 Tennessee on Wednesday. And No. 6 Ohio State fell to No. 11 Dayton today. But neither loss was a stunner. But the fact the defeats came early in the tourney, it caught the attention of critics. No matter, the Big Ten’s “Big Three” opened with victories today. And they looked good doing it.
Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
Please, tell me you aren’t shocked by Ohio State’s 60-59 loss to Dayton in its opening NCAA game. Yes, the seeds said it was an upset, as the Buckeyes were a No. 6 seed and the Flyers were a No. 11 seed. But this was little more than a good-not-great Ohio State club. Has been all season.
Well, Iowa’s first taste of March Madness didn’t last long. Heck, it wasn’t really even a taste. More like a sip, as the Hawkeyes were bounced in a play-in game by Tennessee. I guess it shouldn’t be a shock. The Hawkeyes lost six of their last seven games entering the tourney. Conversely, the Volunteers arrived in Dayton, Ohio, with some mojo. It’s just too bad it all had to end like this for Iowa, whose season once glowed with such promise.
The NCAA Tournament officially kicked off on Tuesday and Wednesday with the “First Four.” But today is when things get really juicy. Four Big Ten teams kick off their Big Dance experience. Here are four thoughts on today’s action.
Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports
It’s official: America has fallen in love with Michigan State. It’s mad-crazy tattoo-her-name-on-your-chest love that has mushroomed in a flash, going from 7th-grade crush to full-grown infatuation/borderline stalking.
With the regular season in the rear-view mirror and the NCAA tourney underway, I decided it was a good time to share some of the things I didn’t expect to see this season in the Big Ten – whether it be from a team, player or coach. See my list of 21 things in this post.
Pat Harty of HawkCentral.com wonders if an Iowa win over Tennessee on Wednesday will put a feel-good note on that 1-6 run-up to the NCAA tourney. It certainly couldn’t hurt. This Iowa team has been through a lot. A victory vs. the Vols would be the Hawkeyes’ first NCAA win since 2001.
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
With the regular season finished and the NCAA tournament upon us, experts from across the nation are offering their predictions. It’s a fun time, no doubt, and I decided to offer a few predictions of my own. Check out what I see when I look into my crystal ball in this post.
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
The NCAA tourney begins on Tuesday with four first-round games. Iowa will take part in the opening round, as it battles fellow No. 11 seed Tennessee. The other five Big Ten teams will wait until Thursday or Friday to take the lid off NCAA tournament play. Here’s an A-Z took at the Big Ten and the Big Dance.
I have made no secret of my affinity for John Beilein. I love the fact he paid his dues by coming up the back roads of his profession, grinding his way up the ladder. He’s a terrific coach who knows how to win in March. The secret to his success? It’s right here.
March is when schools and coaches earn their reputations. The stakes are high, the chips are down and the pressure is on. Which Big Ten teams are feeling the most urgency to deliver big results in March? Glad you asked. My March Pressure GAUGE will tell us.
Everyone is talking hoops. And why not? But here’s some spring football for ya. First, Nebraska, where work has begun on developing the offensive line—among other things. And many are watching the quarterback spot, where Tommy Armstrong is the man to beat. It will be a big shock if he doesn’t keep the job. Would Bo Pelini dare hand over the reins to a neophyte like Johnny Stanton in his critical season? Nah.
Get out your pencil: The NCAA bracket has been announced. Six Big Ten teams earned bids: Michigan and Wisconsin are No. 2 seeds; Michigan State is a No. 4; Ohio State is a No. 6; Iowa and Nebraska are No. 11 seeds, though the Hawkeyes have to participate in a play-in game.
INDIANAPOLIS—If Tom Izzo had written a script for his Michigan State team in the Big Ten Tournament, he couldn’t have come up with a better scenario.
The lid is being taken off the James Franklin era. And it’s an exciting time. He brings energy and enthusiasm—not to mention a strong resume that saw him win 24 games in three seasons at Vanderbilt—to State College.
This will be the first time that Michigan and Michigan State will meet in the Big Ten tourney. And, it seems fitting that the initial encounter between these rivals should take place in the title game. It’s No. 1 Michigan vs. No. 3 Michigan State on Sunday.
INDIANAPOLIS–I’d like to be one of the first to welcome back Michigan State. I have missed the Spartans.
INDIANAPOLIS — Michigan comes at foes in waves. Ready or not, here come the Wolverines. And, god bless if you aren’t ready, because you’ll be run off the floor, up the ramp and out the door. The start of today’s game with Ohio State was a perfect example. There was …
What had been speculated soon after the final buzzer sounded on another disappointing season for Purdue has become reality: Ronnie Johnson will transfer. Official word came from Purdue coach Matt Painter on Saturday.
The Big Ten tourney semifinal field is set, and it will be No. 1 Michigan vs. No. 5 Ohio State and No. 2 Wisconsin vs. No. 3 Michigan State. Hard to complain about those matchups, huh? Get Tom Dienhart’s previews to both games, plus vote for your winners, in this post.
Healthy again, Michigan State toppled Northwestern, 67-51, on Friday night in the Big Ten tourney quarterfinals. The win marked the third-seeded Spartans’ third win over the Wildcats this season. Get Tom Dienhart’s instant reaction to the game in this post.
No. 2 seed Wisconsin delivered a significant blow to No. 7 seed Minnesota’s NCAA tourney hopes in an 83-57 victory over the Gophers on Friday in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tourney. Ben Brust scored a career-high 29 points to lead Wisconsin to the semifinal. Get Tom Dienhart’s instant reaction to Wisconsin’s win in this post.