Prior to Saturday’s game against Purdue at the Crisler Center, Michigan honored its seniors, including captains Stu Douglass (two-time) and Zack Novak (three-time). The maize and blue faithful gave the seniors a rousing standing ovation, and rightfully so. Novak and Douglass, after all, helped turn a previously struggling Michigan program, which went 15-17 in 2009-10, into the Big Ten contender it is now. The two Indiana natives went highly unheralded out of high school and made Big Ten foes pay throughout their careers. Corey Person and Ben Cronin also were honored. Watch the Senior Night ceremony now.
Michigan State’s legendary Jud Heathcote, who led the Spartans to 339 wins in 19 seasons as the head men’s basketball coach, was profiled Saturday in a new episode of Big Ten Icons, presented by Discover. Hosted by Hall of Fame broadcaster Keith Jackson, the show included new one-on-one interviews with Heathcote; Michigan State coach Tom Izzo; award-winning journalists Jack Ebling and Dan Wetzel; former MSU All-American Greg Kelser and others.
With a little more than a week to go, it has come down to Michigan State, Ohio State and Michigan in the race for the Big Ten title. But other story lines exist. Which four teams will secure first-round byes in the Big Ten tourney? The Spartans, Buckeyes and Wolverines look like locks for three of the slots. But who will get the fourth? Wisconsin? Indiana? Purdue? Or, how about white-hot Iowa?
Another night, another set of at-large hopes dashed. On Wednesday evening, Minnesota hoped to keep their NCAA Tournament hopes alive, at least for another few days, with a crucial home matchup against Michigan State. Things were looking up when the Gophers took a nine-point lead with just over 10 minutes remaining. Maybe Minnesota really would pull this off and get back onto the bubble.
Selection Sunday is March 11. Time is running out for teams to enhance their resumes for an NCAA tourney at-large berth. Michigan State, Ohio State, Michigan, Wisconsin and Indiana all look like locks for the Big Dance, with one winning the automatic bid and the others at-large spots. And Penn State and Nebraska appear to be but out.
Matt Gatens scored 33 points and grabbed three rebounds to lift Iowa to a 67-66 upset win over No. 15 Wisconsin on Thursday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City. Iowa (15-13) shot 48 percent from the field (24-of-50). It was the second straight career-high for Gatens, who had 30 points in Iowa’s win over then-No. 18 Indiana on Sunday (full recap). Iowa fans rushed the court (see the video in this post) to celebrate the win.