Cody Zeller scored 24 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead No. 3 Indiana past Illinois 80-64 Friday in the Big Ten quarterfinals. The top-seeded Hoosiers (27-5) are off to a good start after claiming their first outright conference title in two decades and earning a first-round bye.
The opening day of the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament in Chicago had its fair shares of thrills. Now that four teams are headed home and four others are headed on, let’s look at all four of Friday’s tournament matchups.
Thursday’s opening day of the Big Ten tourney featured a game-winning buzzer-beater (Illinois over Minnesota) and an upset (No. 10 Nebraska over No. 7 Purdue). Catch up on the best performances, numbers and highlights from the opening day of action at the United Center in this post.
The Fighting Illini didn’t shoot well (32 percent) but forced 19 turnovers and had 21 points off of those turnovers. Early foul trouble for Minnesota big man Trevor Mbakwe helped Illinois, as the sixth-year senior had just eight points and played only 27 minutes. The Gophers have now lost three in a row but still appear to be a lock for the NCAA tourney.