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 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.
Indiana and Wisconsin tipped things off on Saturday in a back-and-forth affair that did not go according to script. For one, Indiana was supposed to be the athletic offensive rebounding powerhouse, but it was Wisconsin that was crashing the offensive glass early, collecting 43 percent of its misses in the first half.
If it’s highlights you’re looking for, the Big Ten tourney was the place to be. From Brandon Paul’s buzzer-beater in Thursday’s opening round to Keith Appling’s drive and posterizing dunk on Friday, there was no shortage of highlight-reel plays. Watch some of our favorite Big Ten tourney plays from the first three days in this post.
The last time Indiana beat Bo Ryan and Wisconsin, the calendar had just flipped to 2007. The date, to be exact, was Jan. 31, 2007. Since then, the Badgers have won 12 consecutive over the Hoosiers, the latest coming in Saturday’s Big Ten tourney semifinals.
The Badgers slowed down the prolific Indiana attack, keeping the Hoosiers under 60 points. And this was an Indiana squad that came in averaging 80.8 points in all games. Wisconsin did a great job denying entry passes to the post and rarely offered open looks from 3-point range. Bottom line: It was a textbook Wisconsin victory. You see, this is why Bo Ryan was the Big Ten coach of the year. And, that’s 12 wins in a row for Wisconsin over Indiana.