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.
Brandon Paul scored 25 points and hit a fadeaway jumper at the buzzer to lead Illinois to a 51-49 victory over Minnesota in the first round of the Big Ten tournament on Thursday.watch the video of the shot in this post and listen to Gus Johnson and Shon Morris on the call. Illinois (22-11) led by as much as 12 but was trailing by three when D.J. Richardson nailed a 3 with 47 seconds left to tie it at 49. That basket came after the Illini missed four shots on the possession. Find videos, photos and links in this post.
Minnesota’s Trevor Mbakwe threw down an incredible dunk in the second half of the opening game of the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament against Illinois then Illinois’ Brandon Paul responded with a nice move at the other end of the court. Watch it here, and follow all of our Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament action now.
BTN.com offers something new for the 2013 Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament – deeper live box scores provided by Stats LLC. How are they different? The Stats’ SportVU Tracking System captures X/Y positioning coordinates of the players and the ball to deliver unique performance data by merging the in-depth tracking data with traditional play-by-play information. What do the new stats include? Read about it below in this post.
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Most every mock bracket already has these teams in the NCAA tourney. So, what are they playing for in Chicago? Probably just NCAA seeding. No doubt, more was expected from each team entering the season. So, the tourney is a new beginning and chance for redemption for these veteran teams that each went 8-10 in Big Ten action. Don’t be shocked if either one makes an extended run. See highlights of the last time they played in this post. Thursday’s game starts at noon ET and airs on BTN/BTN2Go.