Seven Big Ten teams made the NCAA tournament, and now it’s time to look at one key player from each team who could help fuel a tourney run. I’m not talking about the obvious stars, such as Trey Burke, Deshaun Thomas or Cody Zeller, here. Instead, these are guys who either have struggled lately or have heated up down the stretch.
Ohio State won the Big Ten Tournament this weekend, the fourth time that Thad Matta’s team has taken home the crown. While the Buckeyes won largely on the strength of its defense—holding Wisconsin to under 0.8 points per possession—this Ohio State team has been offensively excellent over the back half of its Big Ten schedule:
The dust has settled after a fast and furious Selection Sunday. Do you have your bracket filled out? If not, there’s time. Until then, check out what some of the Big Ten’s leading pundits are scribbling about.
The NCAA bracket features seven Big Ten teams and that’s no shock to anyone following the conference. And the Big Ten’s power was reflected in four teams being seeded No. 4 or higher—No. 1 Indiana; No. 2 Ohio State; No. 3 Michigan State; No. 4 Michigan. Wisconsin just missed as a No. 5 seed.
This is the Buckeyes’ third Big Ten tourney title in the last four years and fourth in seven years. No Big Ten team has more. Ohio State’s march to this point is impressive when you consider they lost Jared Sullinger and William Buford off of a Final Four team from last season. To win today, it was all about defense. In fact, these are the two best defensive teams in the Big Ten. And it showed. How rough was it? The Buckeyes shot just 38.5 percent.
DeShaun Thomas scored 17 points and No. 10 Ohio State used its stout defense to beat No. 22 Wisconsin 50-43 on Sunday for the Big Ten tournament title. Thomas was 6 for 19 from the field, but made some big free throws down the stretch to lead the Buckeyes to their fifth tournament title in nine appearances. Aaron Craft had nine points and six rebounds, and LaQuinton Ross also delivered a couple of huge plays for Ohio State (26-7).