Sean Merriman, BTN.com web editor, March 16, 2014
The 2014 Big Ten Tournament is in the books, and boy was it a good one. After 11 games in four days, Michigan State was the last team standing after an impressive 69-55 win over Michigan in the conference title game. Let's take it all in and check out the best sights and sounds from this year's memorable Big Ten Tournament.
[ MORE: Spartans met B1G tourney goal … and then some ]
BEST TEAM: Michigan State. An obvious pick here, as Tom Izzo's team played its best basketball at the right time of year. The Spartans took home the championship crown after wins over Northwestern in the quarterfinal round, Wisconsin in the semis and Michigan in the title game. MSU outscored its opponents by an average of 12.7 points per game. That's not just winning… that's dominating.
BEST GAME: Michigan's 64-63 win over Illinois in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinal round. Senior big man Jordan Morgan hit a game-winning shot with 7.9 seconds left to give the Wolverines the victory. The game featured seven ties and four lead changes, with the Illini having a chance to pull off the upset before the buzzer, but Tracy Abrams? runner caromed off the rim.
BEST SHOT: Nik Stauskas reverse layup late in the second half on Michigan's semifinal round win over Ohio State. The shot rolled around the rim before eventually falling in and giving the Wolverines a 3-point lead with just over two minutes remaining in the game.
BEST PLAY: Michigan State guard Gary Harris split three Michigan defenders and drove in for a huge one-handed slam right before the half, giving the Spartans a 38-29 halftime lead over Michigan in Sunday's Big Ten Tournament Championship Game.
BEST PLAYER: Branden Dawson, Michigan State. The Spartans junior forward averaged 15 points, 7.3 rebounds and shot an eye-popping 21-of-28 (75 percent) from the field in three games on his way to being named the Big Ten Tournament's Most Outstanding Player.
BEST QUOTE: "We will be very prepared for the NCAA Tournament. Whether that gets us to where I want to go, I don't know, but I can't think of a conference that could prepare you more than this one has done… The league just beat the daylights out of each other, and now with new coaches, we've got different styles. Some press, some play zone, some this, some that. I think that prepares you for the NCAA Tournament as much as anything we could do." – Tom Izzo, on how good the Big Ten has been this year –
BEST SIGN: "The Trice is Right."
BEST FAN COSTUME: BUCK-I-GUY