If you’re a fan of college basketball, then you have to appreciate how entertaining Day One of the Big Ten men’s basketball tournament was. Four games were decided by a total of 24 points, with No. 11 Northwestern closing out Thursday’s session with a memorable 67-62 upset victory over No. 6 Iowa.
Iowa’s struggles continued vs. Northwestern on Thursday night in the opening round of the Big Ten tourney, as the Hawkeyes lost for the sixth time in their last seven games. What’s wrong with Iowa? What do they need to fix or change before the NCAA tourney? I asked Iowa fans on Twitter for their answers, and they were quite entertaining.
Day One of the Big Ten Tournament is officially in the books. Just as the regular season was, the opening round of the tournament was anything but predictable. No. 11 Northwestern upset No. 6 Iowa, Ohio State and Minnesota recorded narrow wins over Purdue and Penn State, respectively, and Illinois topped Indiana, who many believed could make a run in this tournament.
Iowa’s tailspin to close the regular season has carried into the postseason in the form of a stunning loss to Northwestern, 67-62.
The way the regular season went you just knew there would be an upset or two on the first day of the Big Ten tourney. No. 9 Illinois beat No. 8 Indiana, but that’s not much of an upset. No. 11 Northwestern over No. 6 Iowa, the team that beat the Wildcats by 26 in both meetings this year? That would be an upset. And that’s just what we had. Get Tom Dienhart’s instant reaction in this post.
(AP) Tre Demps had 20 points, including four 3-pointers, and Drew Crawford added 15 points and six assists to lead 11th-seeded Northwestern to a 67-62 victory over No. 6 Iowa in the Big Ten Tournament Thursday night. The Wildcats (14-18) became the first 11th-seed to win in the Big Ten tournament. They went on a 7-2 run when Crawford made a lay-up to give the Wildcats a 55-51 lead with 3:52 remaining before Alex Olah drew a charge and scored a pair of free throws.
Needing a victory to keep its at-large hopes alive, Minnesota gutted one out against a persistent Penn State squad. Although the Gophers’ lead touched double digits at times, the Nittany Lions kept fighting and had opportunities down the stretch to make a real game of it. An Andre Hollins three with 12 seconds left would ice it, and Minnesota fans could finally exhale.
In a game it needed to win to keep its NCAA tourney hopes alive, No. 7 Minnesota was able to hold off Penn State, 63-56, Thursday night in Indianapolis. The Gophers, led by Austin Hollins’ 18 points, meet No. 2 Wisconsin at 6:30 p.m. ET Friday on BTN/BTN2Go. Get Tom Dienhart’s instant reaction in this post.
The Iowa Hawkeyes will be wearing pregame shooting shirts with “P-Mac” printed across the front in honor of head coach Frank McCaffery’s son, Patrick, who was recently diagnosed with a thyroid tumor. McCaffery said that the tumor was discovered last week and that a surgery has been scheduled for next week. It has not yet been determined if the tumor is cancerous.
(AP) Austin Hollins scored 18 points, Deandre Mathieu added 13 and Andre Hollins hit a late 3-pointer Thursday to give Minnesota a badly needed 63-56 win over Penn State in the Big Ten tournament.
In a game that featured three-fifths of the recently-selected Big Ten All-Defensive Team, it was indeed defense that ruled the day as Ohio State held off a stiff challenge from Purdue. This was a ragged affair, with both teams scoring under a point per trip and combining for 29 turnovers. The squads combined to shoot 3-for-24 from downtown, a number that stung even more for the Boilermakers when Terone Johnson’s would-be game-winning three at the buzzer came up short.
Reigning Big Ten tourney champ Ohio State nipped Purdue, 63-61, in the second of four games Thursday in the Big Ten tourney. The fifth-seeded Buckeyes avoided becoming just the second team, and first since 1999, to lose to the lowest seed in event history. Get Tom Dienhart’s instant reaction to Ohio State’s narrow Round 1 win in this post.
(AP) LaQuinton Ross scored 19 points and Aaron Craft finished with 16 on Thursday, helping No. 24 Ohio State hang on for a 63-61 victory over Purdue in the Big Ten tournament. The win sent the defending tourney champs into Friday’s quarterfinals against fourth-seeded Nebraska.
No. 9 Illinois dropped No. 8 Indiana, 64-54, in the opening game of the Big Ten tourney Thursday afternoon at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. With the win, the Illini advance to the quarterfinals and will face Big Ten champ and No. 1 Michigan on Friday. Get Tom Dienhart’s instant reaction to the Illini’s win in this post.
Illinois rode a strong defensive effort to a victory over Indiana in the opening game of the 2014 Big Ten tournament. From the outset, it was clear that the Illini were going to aggressively double-team Indiana freshman Noah Vonleh on every touch, with the idea that a packed-in defense would force the Hoosiers to win the game from the perimeter.
It was just one year ago when Brandon Paul hit an unforgettable buzzer-beater to lift Illinois to a memorable 51-49 victory over Minnesota in the opening round of the Big Ten tournament.
(AP) Tracy Abrams had 25 points to lead ninth-seeded Illinois to a 64-54 win over eight-seed Indiana on Thursday in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament. The Illini (19-13) used runs of 9-0 in the first half and 11-0 in the second half to improve to 6-2 all-time against Indiana in the Big Ten Tournament.
The Big Ten tourney kicks off in a few hours and I’m in Indianapolis ready to watch all the games up close and personal. Like so many of you, I’ve been following this Big Ten season from the very start. Before the first game tips on BTN/BTN2Go, here are four quick thoughts on today’s matchups. I’ll be posting to BTN.com all day from press row – follow me on Twitter @BTNTomDienhart.
Ready for today’s four opening games of the Big Ten tourney? If not, don’t worry, former Flyin’ Illini and BTN analyst Stephen Bardo is posting quick preview clips to his YouTube channel throughout the tournament. Check out Bardo’s previews for No. 8 Indiana-No. 9 Illinois, No. 5 Ohio State-No. 12 Purdue, No. 7 Minnesota-No. 10 Penn State and No. 6 Iowa-No. 11 Northwestern in this post.
It’s almost tourney time so watch our experts in Indianapolis make their predictions in this post. Plus, our TV producers and editors worked long and hard to compile a glorious six minutes and 33 seconds of the best images from the 2013-2014 Big Ten basketball season. We’ve embedded it in this post, too.
Ohio State invaded Evan Turner’s new home, Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Thursday for the Big Ten tournament. Turner, who was traded to the Pacers at the NBA trade deadline, and the rest of his teammates were around the arena for much of the first session Thursday. That meant the former Ohio State star and 2010 national player of the year was able to meet up with Thad Matta.
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The Big Ten Tournament opens Thursday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. If this year’s Big Ten season is any indication of what’s to come this weekend, we are all in for one wild conference tournament. At this point in the year, teams have figured out both their strong points and weaknesses. And so, there isn’t a team in the Big Ten that doesn’t have some area that could be improved.