Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
The votes are in, and BTN.com’s 2012-13 Dunk of the Year bracket has reached the finals. The bracket opened with one dunk from every Big Ten team, which fans decided via polls, and it was seeded in accordance with the Big Ten tourney. Now, it’s time decide who had the regular season’s best dunk. Vote for the final winner in this post.
After a bruising and thrilling two days of basketball, the four top-seeded teams advance to Saturday’s semifinals of the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament. No. 1 seed Indiana faces No. 4 seed Wisconsin, and No. 2 seed Ohio State faces No. 3 seed Michigan State.
The Spartans had lots of chances to fold but never did. They came out sluggish and fell behind quickly, ending the first half trailing, 30-20. Wait, it got worse. With 10:55 left in the game, Iowa had pushed its lead to 12 points, 45-33. That’s when the Spartans went to work, chipping away and refusing to buckle.
Michigan State’s Keith Appling must be sick of hearing about how great teammates Branden Dawson and Adreian Payne are at dunking, because the point guard threw down his second ridiculous jam in as many games Friday night. Last week, it was this powerful beauty. Appling’s latest dunk may have been even better, as he drove the lane, again, and, this time, posertized Iowa’s Melsahn Basbabe. Watch the dunk here and see Twitter reaction to it in this post.
Adreian Payne had 18 points and 10 rebounds, leading No. 8 Michigan State to a rugged 59-56 victory over Iowa in the Big Ten quarterfinals on Friday night. Keith Appling and Gary Harris had 13 points apiece for the Spartans (25-7), who trailed by 12 midway through the second half. They advance to play Ohio State in the next round in a rematch of last season’s tournament championship, won by Michigan State.
The Buckeyes needed a few punches in the nose to wake up. Once aroused, Ohio State took it to Nebraska. The Buckeyes shot a robust 59 percent, showing great marksmanship from beyond the arc in nailing 52 percent (9-of-17). The Huskers looked tentative after a good first 10 minutes, committing 15 turnovers. And Ohio State scored 21 points off of those turnovers to go along with 13 fast break points. Add it all up, and you can see why Ohio State won by 21 points.