Seeded 14th, Rutgers turned some heads by beating No. 11 Minnesota in the first round. It was the second year in a row the Scarlet Knights had opened with a win in the Big Ten tourney. But Rutgers wasn’t satisfied, taking down No. 6 Indiana, 76-69, to advance to the quarterfinals.
No. 7 Penn State lives to fight another day following a 65-57 win vs. No. 10 Northwestern. And the Nittany Lions did it even though it shot 36 percent and was without key big man Mike Watkins, who is out for the entire tournament with injury.
Michigan was the pick of some to win the Big Ten tourney for a second year in a row. Last year, the Wolverines did it as a No. 8 seed. This year, Michigan is a No. 5 seed, arriving in New York riding a five-game winning streak.
This was a classic nip-and-tuck No. 8 vs. No. 9 game, as Maryland (8) took on Wisconsin (9). And the Badgers earned a hard-fought 59-54 win to move on to play No. 1 Michigan State on Friday.
Rutgers may have been the No. 14 seed, but the Scarlet Knights are still alive as they play on what essentially is their home turf, taking a 65-54 win vs. No. 11 Minnesota
No. 12 Iowa and No. 13 Illinois had the honor of tipping off the Big Ten tourney, and Hawkeyes live another day, taking a 96-87 decision.
With the Big Ten regular season in the rear-view mirror, it’s time to hand out some awards. It was a season dominated by three schools: Michigan State, Purdue and Ohio State. And those three schools dominate my postseason awards.
The Big Ten tourney kicks off Wednesday with two games, as No. 13 Illinois takes on No. 12 Iowa and No. 14 Rutgers battles No. 11 Minnesota. Here are some things to look for as the 21st Big Ten tourney preps to kick off.
Schools celebrated Senior Days across the Big Ten, so emotions packed many arenas. It was an exciting week of action, as Michigan State clinched its first outright Big Ten title since 2009 and schools looked to polish NCAA resumes with the Big Ten tourney right around the corner.
No one said it would be easy. But Chris Ash is making progress at Rutgers. That was apparent last season, his second with the Scarlet Knights. Rutgers improved from 2-10 (0-9 in the Big Ten) in 2016 to 4-8 overall (3-6 Big Ten) last season. But work remains to be done for a program that teems with potential. The offense struggled mightily all season, as Rutgers ranked 13th in the Big Ten in scoring (18.0 points per game) and last in total offense (262.7 yards per game). The passing game was abysmal, ranking last in the conference (115.6 ypg). Quarterback