It was exhilarating. It was exhausting. And it may end up being a very memorable win for Wisconsin. Trailing 75-74, Wisconsin not once, not twice, but three times grabbed offensive rebounds before Ben Brust finally drained a 3-pointer to give Wisconsin a 77-75 lead over Oregon.
(AP) Branden Dawson scored a career-high 26 points to help fourth-seeded Michigan State fend off a wild Harvard rally Saturday for an 80-73 victory in the NCAA tournament.
It’s a big day for the Big Ten, as No. 2 Michigan, No. 2 Wisconsin and No. 4 Michigan State (I still can’t believe Sparty is a No. 4!) look to punch their ticket for the Sweet 16. Here are four thoughts on today’s games: Wisconsin vs. Oregon (7:45); Michigan State vs. Harvard (8:40). Michigan took down Texas in the first game.
Eight-year-old Michigan State super fan Lacey Holsworth — featured on “The Journey” several times — has become an inspiration throughout the college basketball world, and beyond. That became more than evident today as Holsworth, who is battling an aggressive form of cancer known as neuroblastoma, found out she has a new follower on Twitter: ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas.
Ohio State dropped a tight one against an in-state “Little Brother,” which had to make the loss all the more frustrating. There wasn’t anything especially unique about this loss—once again, Ohio State’s offense stalled out when it had to play in the half-court. The outside shooting was tepid (3 of 12 on 3s), and the ballhandling was suspect (the Buckeyes turned it over on 21 percent of their possessions; Aaron Craft and LaQuinton Ross each had five of their own). And on the 27 occasions when Ohio State had an opportunity to rebound one of its frequent misses, Thad Matta’s team came up with the ball just three times.
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.