You didn’t think Sam Thompson would return home to Chicago and not put on a show in the Big Ten tourney at the United Center, did you? That’s just silly. The Ohio State sophomore gave fans what they expected with a quartet of dunks, a soaring alley-oop being the best of all. Thompson got so high on the alley-oop, he almost goal-tended the pass that looked more like a shot. Watch the alley-oop now and find Thompson’s other dunks in this post.
Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports
DeShaun Thomas and Sam Thompson had 19 points apiece, helping No. 10 Ohio State rout Nebraska 71-50 in the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals on Friday night. The Buckeyes turned a close game into a runaway with an impressive 30-5 spree spanning halftime that included a little bit of everything. LaQuinton Ross connected on three consecutive 3-pointers, Aaron Craft made a couple of nifty passes and Thompson had two jams to go along with a 3-pointer.
If Jared Sullinger had his way, he’d be nowhere near the United Center this week. Thing is, the Ohio State product was sent to the Big Ten tourney by the Boston Celtics, his current employer. Sullinger, a first-round pick in last year’s NBA draft, underwent season-ending back surgery last month, and while he’s recovering, the Celtics decided to send him to Chicago to test his basketball IQ, if you will.
The Badgers were able to dictate the pace, playing a low-scoring, grind-it-out affair. Michigan? It wanted to play this game in the 70s or 80s—but it never was able to get on track with its array of high-flying perimeter talent. Wisconsin shot just 38 percent but hit eight 3-pointers to Michigan’s three.
Ben Brust scored 11 of his 14 points in the second half and No. 22 Wisconsin knocked off sixth-ranked Michigan 68-59 in the second round of the Big Ten tournament on Friday. Traevon Jackson had 16 points for the Badgers (22-10), who will play top-seeded Indiana in the semifinals on Saturday. Ryan Evans added 12 points, six rebounds and six assist.
The Hoosiers came out playing rugged defense, forcing Illinois into myriad bad shots in limiting the Illini to 21 first-half points and 25.9 percent shooting and forcing eight turnovers. And that theme continued in the second half in a game that never really was that close, as Illinois shot just 34 percent and had 12 turnovers. Brandon Paul had 16 points but hit just 2-of-13 shots.
The tournament opener between Illinois and Minnesota didn’t offer much in the way of aesthetically pleasing play, but a buzzer beater has a way of upping the entertainment value. The Gophers turned it over on a season-worst 35 percent of their possessions, allowing the Illini to stay in the game dispute big Minnesota advantages in every other category.
Cody Zeller scored 24 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead No. 3 Indiana past Illinois 80-64 Friday in the Big Ten quarterfinals. The top-seeded Hoosiers (27-5) are off to a good start after claiming their first outright conference title in two decades and earning a first-round bye.
Turns out, a Big Ten team will wear the new adidas camouflage (Zubaz?) uniform this postseason. Michigan tweeted a photo of the team’s uniform for Friday’s quarterfinal game vs. Wisconsin, and it’s the school’s version of what Cincinnati and Notre Dame, among others, have worn this week. See a photo of the picture in this post.
The opening day of the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament in Chicago had its fair shares of thrills. Now that four teams are headed home and four others are headed on, let’s look at all four of Friday’s tournament matchups.
Thursday’s opening day of the Big Ten tourney featured a game-winning buzzer-beater (Illinois over Minnesota) and an upset (No. 10 Nebraska over No. 7 Purdue). Catch up on the best performances, numbers and highlights from the opening day of action at the United Center in this post.
This was no shock, as Iowa was expected to take care of business vs. the Wildcats. And, it did with efficiency. The Hawkeyes overwhelmed an undermanned Northwestern team with a balanced attack. This is a team on a mission, as Iowa fights for its first NCAA bid since 2006. The Hawkeyes have won three in a row and four of five.
The emphatic Gus Johnson was a busy man during the first two games of the 2013 Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament as he called both of BTN’s Thursday games with analyst Shon Morris. That duo will team up again to call Friday night’s games. Our BTN.com editors went ahead and stitched together some of Gus Johnson’s best calls from both Thursday games for the video compilation in this post.
Time and again, Nebraska got right to the rim for easy baskets off of drives. Tim Miles’ squad shot 44.7 percent and hit 12-of-17 free throws. Conversely, Purdue shot 40 percent and hit just 7-of-14 free throws. That basically was the difference in a close game. The Huskers had a two-point halftime lead that they pushed to 11 at one point in the second half.
Devyn Marble scored 19 points to help Iowa hold on for an important 73-59 victory over Northwestern in the first round of the Big Ten tournament on Thursday night. Mike Gesell added 11 points, including a clinching three-point play with 1:41 left as the Hawkeyes (21-11) continued their late-season push for a spot in the NCAA tournament with their eighth victory in 10 games.
Shavon Shields scored 19 points, Brandon Ubel added 16 points and eight rebounds and Nebraska beat Purdue 57-55 Thursday in the first round of the Big Ten tournament. The Cornhuskers (15-17) hung on after Purdue’s Terone Johnson missed two shots in the closing seconds and will meet No. 10 Ohio State in the quarterfinals on Friday.
Michigan’s win over Penn State on Thursday in the opening round of the Big Ten tourney sets up an enticing No.4-No.5 quarterfinal matchup Friday at the United Center. The fifth-seeded Wolverines will battle No. 4 Wisconsin, and everyone remembers what happened the lone time these two teams met during the regular season. If not, watch this highlight. The Badgers went on to win in overtime.
Penn State stunned Michigan in State College (84-78) and gave them a tight game (79-71) in Ann Arbor. But there would be no nail-biting for Michigan in this meeting. The Wolverines trailed by as many as 11 points in the first half and led by just two points at halftime. But Michigan broke open the game in the second half, shooting 33 percent from three-point range (6-of-18) for the game and hitting 19 free throws to Penn State’s five over 40 minutes.
The Fighting Illini didn’t shoot well (32 percent) but forced 19 turnovers and had 21 points off of those turnovers. Early foul trouble for Minnesota big man Trevor Mbakwe helped Illinois, as the sixth-year senior had just eight points and played only 27 minutes. The Gophers have now lost three in a row but still appear to be a lock for the NCAA tourney.
Trey Burke scored 21 points and No. 6 Michigan beat Penn State 83-66 in the first round of the Big Ten tournament on Thursday, avenging a shocking loss to the Nittany Lions during the regular season. Find videos, photos, stats and more in this post.
Brandon Paul scored 25 points and hit a fadeaway jumper at the buzzer to lead Illinois to a 51-49 victory over Minnesota in the first round of the Big Ten tournament on Thursday.watch the video of the shot in this post and listen to Gus Johnson and Shon Morris on the call. Illinois (22-11) led by as much as 12 but was trailing by three when D.J. Richardson nailed a 3 with 47 seconds left to tie it at 49. That basket came after the Illini missed four shots on the possession. Find videos, photos and links in this post.
BTN.com offers something new for the 2013 Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament – deeper live box scores provided by Stats LLC. How are they different? The Stats’ SportVU Tracking System captures X/Y positioning coordinates of the players and the ball to deliver unique performance data by merging the in-depth tracking data with traditional play-by-play information. What do the new stats include? Read about it below in this post.