Big Ten fans and Wisconsin fans, in particular, are going to hear a lot about Marshall Henderson between now and Friday’s Wisconsin-Ole Miss NCAA tourney game. The much-talked-about Henderson receives more than his share of national attention, nearly as much the result of his personality as his overall game. On Monday, Henderson tweeted about facing the Badgers.
Wisconsin may be under-seeded as a No. 5, but it could be pushed by No. 12 Ole Miss and Marshall Henderson in the opener. The Rebels are hot, coming off the SEC tourney title. This team can score. But good defense typically trumps good offense. And no one does defense like the Badgers.
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.
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.