For the first time since 1999 and the third time since the field expanded in 1985, the Big Ten has four teams in the Sweet 16. Indiana, Michigan State, Ohio State and Wisconsin all made it through the first weekend of the tournament, meaning each is two wins away from the Final Four, four from claiming the national title. The competition only gets stiffer the rest of the way, of course, so it’s important to consider what these teams did against elite foes. See how the Big Ten’s remaining teams fared this season vs. the Sweet 16 field in this post.
All season, the computer rankings said that the Big Ten was the nation’s strongest conference. The league lived up to that hype through the first week of the NCAA tourney. Four of the six schools that received bids are still playing, with No. 1 Michigan State, No. 2 Ohio State, No. 4 Indiana and No. 4 Wisconsin advancing the second weekend of the tourney. No. 4 Michigan fell in the second round to No. 13 Ohio, while No. 10 Purdue lost in the third round to No. 2 Kansas.
Greg Bartram-US PRESSWIRE
As of this writing, there is a 45.9 percent chance your NCAA Champion will be from the Big Ten. It was a good weekend for the conference, as four teams advanced to the Sweet Sixteen. But before we get to that good stuff, let’s deal with the unpleasantness.
(AP) Elijah Johnson scored 18 points, including the go-ahead basket in the final minute, and No. 2 seed Kansas rallied to beat Robbie Hummel and No. 10 seed Purdue 63-60 on Sunday night. Thomas Robinson managed 11 points and 13 rebounds for the Jayhawks (29-6), who trailed nearly the entire game. Purdue was clinging to a 60-59 lead and had the ball and under a minute remaining when Lewis Jackson, the shot clock winding down, lost control at the top of the key. Johnson picked it up and went the other way for the go-ahead layup with 23.3 seconds left. Robbie Hummel scored a game-high 26 points. Read the full AP recap and check out the box score.
Michigan State held off Saint Louis on Sunday to advance to its fourth Sweet 16 in the last five seasons (recap). As usual, Draymond Green had an impressive all-around game (tweets). With the victory, Michigan State joins Indiana, Ohio State and Wisconsin in the Sweet 16. It looked like Purdue may join the group, too, but it fell to Kansas in the final seconds of a game it led throughout Sunday night (recap).
(AP) With Michigan State’s season in peril, Draymond Green turned to Keith Appling during a timeout and told him to be ready. His moment was near. And when it arrived, Appling delivered. His shot, the one Green urged him to take, helped save the Spartans. Appling’s critical 3-pointer with 1:34 left, a 20-foot jumper set up by Green’s pass, gave Michigan State a 65-61 win Sunday over Saint Louis and thrust the top-seeded Spartans into the round of 16. Read the full AP recap, check out the box score, and see the tweets about Green’s great game.
Simply put, Big Ten Player of the Year Draymond Green is on a tear. Riding a two-game triple-double streak in the NCAA tournament, dating back to last season, Green posted 16 points, 13 rebounds and six assists Sunday to lift Michigan State past Saint Louis and into the Sweet 16. The guy literally does it all — he even wiped the floor in the final minutes Sunday. And, of course, Twitter was all over his latest gem of a game. Check out what former rivals and talking heads tweeted about Green.