Tom Dienhart, BTN.com Senior Writer, March 11, 2016
If you like upsets, today was your day. No. 12 Illinois took down No. 5 Iowa, and No. 11 Nebraska topped No. 6 Wisconsin. What does it mean? For the first time since Michigan and Illinois did it in 1999, two double-digit seeds will play in the quarterfinals. Here?s a look at the day?s action.
Biggest surprise: No. 12 Illinois? improbable march in the Big Ten tourney continues with an upset of No. 5 Iowa after an opening-round win vs. Minnesota. This from a team that went 5-13 in the Big Ten this season. Illinois is doing all it can put a happy ending on what has been a tough season, as injuries have taken a toll. But Illinois does not want this season to end. Up next is No. 4 Purdue, which Illinois dispatched earlier this season, 84-70.
Biggest disappointment: Take your pick from No. 6 Wisconsin and No. 5 Iowa. The Badgers were one of the Big Ten?s hottest teams coming down the stretch, winning nine of 11. But Wisconsin has now lost two in a row and heads to the Big Dance without any mojo. Maybe we should have seen this loss to No. 12 Illinois coming. Iowa struggled down the stretch, watching a 10-1 start in the Big Ten melt into a 12-6 finish. At one point, the Hawkeyes had a four-game losing streak before ending the year with a win at Michigan. Now, it has lost again, going 2-6 in its last eight games. And Iowa has lost its first Big Ten tourney game eight times in the last 10 years and has a 2-10 mark in that span. In fact, the Hawkeyes have lost to lower-seeded teams in their opening game in each of the last three Big Ten tourneys.
Top moment: Zak Irvin. A former Indiana Mr. Basketball, Irvin was back home in the Indianapolis area and played big. He finished with 19 points and eight rebounds for No. 8. And Irvin hit the biggest shot of the day, draining a jumper from the right elbow with three seconds left that provided the winning points in a 72-70 win vs. No. 9 Northwestern.
Top stat line: Iowa?s Peter Jok was a force in a stunning loss to Illinois. At one point in the first half, Jok scored 11 consecutive points. He hit 10-of-16 shots (4-of-6 3-pointers) with four rebounds and three steals and finished with 29 points before fouling out late. Iowa could have used him down the stretch.
Top stat: 39, free throws by Ohio State. The Buckeyes hit 26 of them. Meanwhile, PSU shot just 21 and hit 14.
Top dunk: Midway through the first half, Ohio State?s Trevor Thompson slammed down a one-handed dunk off an alley-oop pass from JaQuan Lyle. Thompson added a sweet two-handed flush in the second half of No. 7 Ohio State?s win vs. No. 10 Penn State.
Did you see this? Got two of ?em. First, Alex Olah. The big fella hit a game-tying shot to force overtime and finished with 20 points and 13 rebounds , his fourth double-double of the season and 12th of his career. Michigan?s Zak Irvin answered with what proved to be the game-winner with three seconds left in overtime.
?I feel like we have learned a lot and it has brought us a lot closer. With that being said, I feel like now we have a clean slate. We can actually put to use what we learned throughout the season. And everybody being 0-0, we have a clean slate to show people that.? – Jalen Coleman-Lands after a win vs. Iowa.
?None of your business what the play call was. Period.? – Iowa?s Fran McCaffery when asked what was drawn up for a play that resulted in a turnover.
?You have no idea how much I would like to describe my frustration. Leave it at that.? – McCaffery on his frustration at the foul calls on Peter Jok.
"These are two very evenly matched teams. We don't have that brand name that Michigan has, but we are a good basketball team that is getting there. I hope we have more basketball to play is season. These guys deserve that.
"To win 20 regular season games and eight in the Big Ten shows just how far these guys have brought the program in a short time." –
Northwestern?s Chris Collins after a loss to Michigan.
- Illinois? victories over Iowa today and Minnesota yesterday mark the first time since 2008 that the Illini have advanced to a third game at the Big Ten Tournament.
- Wisconsin has faced the nation?s fourth-toughest schedule.
- Shavon Shields has scored in double-figures in 15 consecutive games, the longest streak of his career.
- The Illini hit 13?of?15 free throws through their first two games (.867). That stands as the third?best percentage by a team in Big Ten Tournament history. Only Illinois in 2013 (.903) and Wisconsin in 2015 (.875) shot better.
- Ohio State?s JaQuan Lyle was just the fourth player in Big Ten Tourney history with at least 20 points, 10 boards and 4 assists (Draymond Green, Evan Turner, Brad Miller).
- Peter Jok (29) and Jarrod Uthoff (21) combined for 50 of the Hawkeyes' 66 points in a loss to Illinois. Uthoff (18.8) and Jok (15.8) on average combine for 34.6 points per game of the Hawkeye's 78.5?point per game average.
- Northwestern set a school Big Ten Tournament record with 25 made field goals. Its previous high was 24, on four occasions, most recently in 2011 against Minnesota. Eleven made three pointers also tied the school?s tournament record, which was done three times previously, most recently against Iowa in 2014. Northwestern also broke its Tournament single?game rebound record with 45, the previous record was 44 against Penn State in 1999.
- With eight assists today, Mike Gesell broke the all?time Hawkeye record for single?season assists (194) previously held by Andre Woolridge (193) in 1996.
- This was the first time in tourney history Penn State got a first-round bye.
- Buckeyes coach Thad Matta extended his streak of consecutive 20-win seasons at Ohio State to 12. But Matta has been done better than that. In 16 seasons as a head coach – one at Butler, three at Xavier and 12 at Ohio State – he has never won fewer than 20 games in a single season.
- Penn State coach Pat Chambers wore sneakers with his suit.
- The Buckeyes have won at least one game in the conference tourney in 11 of the last 13 years. Ohio State also has won 23 of its last 30 tourney games.
Best dish: If you're a fan of sour cream and salsa, the Indiana "Big Ten Spud" is for you. How about bacon and shredded cheddar? If so, you must be a Michigan fan. On the main concourse at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, fans watching the Big Ten Tournament can purchase loaded baked potatoes from Big Ten Spuds, which features custom made potatoes for all 14 Big Ten schools. Levy Restaurants came up with the concept specifically for the Big Ten Tournament. Check out the photo below to see your Big Ten school's baked potato option.