Posted on: March 14, 2010 5:39 pm
El Ohio State wins the Big Ten Tournament in resounding fashion, 90-61 over Minnesota. This is the Buckeyes first tourney title since '07, when they rode old man Oden all the way to the Final Four. Can Evan Turner do the same?
All signs continue to point towards 'yes', as the phenom racked up his second 31-point game in a row, to go with 12 boards and 6 dimes. Fellow guards David Lighty and Jon Diebler pitched in with 20 points and 19 points respectively.
Coming off a 2-OT semifinal thriller, the Buckeyes looked no worse for the wear as their 6-man rotation took a 3 point halftime lead and exploded to a 29 point win. Ohio State has a huge talent advantage over Minnesota, but you rarely see a Tubby Smith coached team A) get blown out, and B) give up 90 points.
Bracketologists and Bracktiatrists alike are scrambling to find the correct prognosis to the Big Ten's malady. Illinois came to Indy with the belief that a win over Wisconsin in the quarters would lock up a bid to the dance, however, it appears they've been hoisted by the Tubster and Minnesota, who battled out of a 6-seed to finish runner-ups.
It's understood the selection committee wants to have the field locked and loaded a couple of hours before the broadcast, so you have to think if the Big Ten is to only get 4 bids, the Illini are NIT bound.
Posted on: March 13, 2010 5:39 pm
Edited on: March 13, 2010 5:41 pm
That's all Purdue could muster in the first half, as Minnesota builds an insurmountable 37-11 halftime lead in the Big Ten semis.
We knew the Boilers would struggle for points without Hummel, but this is an abject farce of a performance and a potentially damning blow to their seeding tomorrow. Talk about flunking the eye-test.
Gene Keady, have you ever seen anything this ugly?
I know I have.
Posted on: March 13, 2010 4:50 pm
Edited on: March 13, 2010 4:54 pm
Evan Turner's 31 points and 10 rebounds propelled the top-seeded Buckeyes past Illinois in a double OT thriller. The Bucks advance to tomorrow's finals with heavy legs as 4 Ohio State starters logged over 40 minutes, and 3 stuck it out for all 50.
Turner was fantastic yet again, though notching the tainted triple-double of 31, 10 and 10 TO's, and fouling out with a minute left in the 2nd OT.
The Illini got 22 points out of Demetri McCamey and 18 boards from forward Mike Davis but will undoubtedly lament two wasted opportunities at the end of regulation and overtime where they ran out the clock without getting a game-winning shot in the air. Still a nice showing in Indy for Illinois as they will now rest up for the dance.
The winner of Minnesota and Purdue, just underway, will have to like their chances to upset the Buckeyes, who really only use 6 players. However, Turner has never given us reason to doubt his pluck and the Bucks have a lot to play for with a #1 seed still on the table.
Posted on: March 13, 2010 2:08 am
Edited on: March 13, 2010 2:11 am
Semis are set in Indy after a rather unexpected upsurge of excitement that began with a miracle and ended with a Tub.
Half-court game winning buzzer beater of the day
The heaving heroics of Evan Turner kept the Big Ten Tournament from dissolving into complete disarray, as Ohio State nipped Michigan 69-68. CBS's George Hamilton opines what we were all thinking as we watched the play unfold, what could John Beileine be thinking? Employing the prevent defense and taking your chances on a heave might work out against most foes, but Evan Turner with a clean look from 35-feet goes in 50% of the time.
Most Outstanding Performance in the Face of the NIT
The Fighting Illini likely sealed an invitation to the dance with 58-54 win over the 4th seeded Badgers. For 36 minutes, Wisconsin was Indiana. The Badgers could only muster a paltry 20 points in the first half on 18% shooting. A too-little-too-late flurry of 3's made the score respectable, but Illinois controlled throughout, locking up at least 5 Big Ten bids.
Score one for the Tub-ster and his Minnesota Golden Gophers who upset Michigan State in OT, 72-67. The loss prolongs the Spartan's confounding BT Tournament woes, now nine seasons removed from their last tournament title.
Make it a round of Boilermakers...
Purdue dismissed Northwestern thanks to 28 points from guard E'Twaun Moore, and 22 from center JaJuan Johnson. Finding points is going to be an ongoing concern for the Boilers and it's good to see their studs step up in the clutch. I guess.
Lunch pails and hard hats
-E'Twaun Moore, Purdue: 28 pts, 5 rebs
-Mike Tisdale, Illinois: 21 pts
-JaJuan Johnson, Purdue: 22 pts, 8 rebs
-Manny Harris, Michigan: 26 pts, 6 rebs
-Evan Turner, Ohio St: 18 pts, 8 assits
Big Ten Semifinals
(5) Illinois vs. (1) Ohio State
The Buckeyes soundly swept the Illini in the regular season and it's hard to imagine they'd play as poorly as they did today. Illinois punched their ticket and fight for position but can they rebound their emotions? Turner will do what he do, and Illini guard Demtri McCamey needs to fight his stroke to help big man Mike Tisdale, who has really become a force of late. Expect a better effort from the Bucks but I expect McCamey to push this one down to the wire. 1:40
(6) Minnesota vs. (2) Purdue
Minnesota could steal another bid for the league with a trip to the finals, so expect piqued intensity in the Gopher's ball-line defense. First team to 60, ehh, 55, likely wins, and with E'Twaun Moore's ability to create, I think it'll be the Boilermakers. 4:00
And in case you've just awoke from a coma, congrats, and here's what you missed in the Big Ten today, you drama queen, you:
Posted on: March 13, 2010 12:54 am
Edited on: March 13, 2010 1:00 am
Friday's afternoon and early evening sessions had their fair share of excitement with Evan Turner's buzzer-beater, John Wall's heroics, Lehigh's berth-clinching win and San Diego's upset of New Mexico. The madness didn't end at sundown, though, and three of the major conferences packed in the drama in their late games. Here's what you missed:
Minnesota upsets Michigan State - It took an extra period, but Tubby Smith's team was finally able to put away Michigan State in the Big 10 tournament semifinals on Friday, keeping their NCAA tourney hopes alive.
For the Golden Gophers, taking the lead wasn't the problem. It was holding on to it and closing out the Spartans that seemed to be difficult. Minnesota took a 13-12 lead with just under 10 minutes to go in the first half and wouldn't trail again until Michigan State scored the first points of the overtime period. When Raymar Morgan's bucket fell through the net with a whistle on the play, it seemed as if the Gophers' opportunity was gone. After all, they were up seven with 3:30 to go and wouldn't score again, missing five shots and committing one turnover in their six possessions down the stretch. They had their shot and now Michigan State was finally ready to take this game.
But, to their credit, Tubby's troops did not fold and countered Morgan's "And One" and Michigan State's three-point lead with a 10-0 run. By the time the dust settled, all the Spartans could do was foul and, all of a sudden, Tubby Smith's team looked to have new post-season life.
The Gophers will now take their shot at a Robbie Hummel-less Purdue squad Saturday - the same one they lost to by just one point a couple of weeks ago. As of now, the Gophers could be in or they could be out. A win over Purdue would likely lock up an at-large berth for them.
West Virginia holds off Notre Dame - Just 24 hours removed from Da'Sean Butler's buzzer beater saving them from the early tourney exit of their fellow Big East top seeds, West Virginia was almost victimized by a similar shot.
But, when Tory Jackson's three caught rim and bounced around, running out the final four seconds of clock, what is shaping up to be a fairly magical run for Bob Huggins' team stood intact. The Mountaineers, the only one of the top four seeds to win their first game Thursday, now have only Georgetown, a team they blew out two weeks ago, standing between them and a Big East tournament title.
Saturday's matchup at the Garden will have more at stake than a conference title for the Mountaineers, though. If WVU beats the Hoyas again and Duke falters in an ACC tournament that's even more pathetic than we thought, they will likely be staring a #1 seed in the face. Even if the Blue Devils win the ACC, the Mountaineers still have the opportunity to jump them for that top seed. They just need to make sure they bring their "A" game to the Garden Saturday. Winning because a buzzer beater catches rim isn't a good way to show it.
Kansas State puts away Baylor - The Big 12 semifinal between Kansas and Baylor didn't have any last possession or overtime drama, but it had the feel for 38 minutes that it would be decided by whoever had the ball last. But, with two minutes left, Jacobham Pullen eliminated all doubt with a clutch three-pointer.
Baylor looked like they were going to snatch one from the Wildcats after Ekpe Udoh's dunk cut the lead to two with just under four minutes to go. On Kansas State's next possession, a blocked shot by Quincy Acy got the ball back to Baylor who drew a foul. Senior leader Tweety Carter, who had an awful game, stepped to the line, down two, and clanked both free throws. Kansas State came down and Pullen hit the three that sucked the life from the Bears and put them away for good.
The Wildcats will now advance to their first Big XII title game and face off against rival Kansas, who they've both pushed to overtime and been blown out by this year. Their seedings might already be set for the most part, but you can expect emotions to be very, very high in Kansas City tomorrow.
Posted on: March 12, 2010 10:31 am
Edited on: March 12, 2010 11:06 am
A bubbly Big Ten tips-off at noon with Michigan battling arch rival Ohio State, commencing the Evan Turner Show. The POY finalist is certainly worth keeping an eye on, but some major bracket fallout is expected in the later sessions.
At 2:00, Illinois takes on Wisconsin in a fight for NCAA Tournament salvation. It's been an up and down season for Bruce Webber's bunch, from handing Wisconsin its only home loss of the year last month to dropping five of its last six conference games to seal their fragile fate.
If Minnesota can find some scoring and upset Michigan State in the 8:55 tip, it just might be enough to propel them to the dance, especially if Illinois is unable to beat Wisconsin. The Gophers were swept by the Spartans in the regular season, and you know what they say about trying to beat a team for the third time...which may or may not hold water statistically, I have yet to analyze the datum. Hard to believe with Izzo's Final Four prowess that Sparty hasn't won this tournament in 10 years.
Now, let's whip out a hypothetical where both Illinois and Minnesota falter, as expected. Will the Big Ten really be just a 4-bid league? Many factors are at play here obviously, but what about Northwestern? The Wildcats are not mentioned on anyone's radar, thanks to a 7-11 conference record, but with 20 wins overall that include Notre Dame, a full-strength Purdue, and Illinois, perhaps they'll claw their way into tournament discussion if they can dispatch the wounded Boilermakers tonight at 6:30. Hey, if Georgia Tech can dance with a sub .500 conference record, then why not the Wildcats? Contrary to long-held attitudes, the ACC was hardly a juggernaut this year, certainly no tougher than the Big Ten. Come on, they've never been to the tournament people.
It will be an exciting, borderline enchanting day in Indianapolis as the fate of its 2-3 bubble teams will have a tremendous impact on the national landscape. All that and Evan Turner. Enjoy.
Posted on: March 11, 2010 7:14 pm
Edited on: March 11, 2010 7:16 pm
A 46-point second half rockets Northwestern past Indiana, 73-58 in opening round action in the Big Ten Tournament. The Hoosiers, bless their hearts, led by three at the half before Northwestern's "we're about to lose our second game in a row to Indiana" light kicked on and and they never looked back.
This is the first 20 win season in the history of Northwestern hoops, who've never danced the almighty NCAA Tourney tango, despite a treasured history defined by a 1931 Helms Title in the throws of the Dust Bowl.
The Wildcats get a piece of second-seeded Purdue tomorrow night at 6:30, a team they defeated on their home floor back in January. The pre-Hummel-excuse era, if you will. Could be a classic.
Earlier in the afternoon, Michigan begrudgingly held off a lifeless Iowa, 59-52. The Wolverines benefited from 15 free-throws to the Hawks' 3 and will now meet the top seed and chief rival, Ohio State, meaning I can now post this:
Penn State v. Minnesota is the night capper in Indy, with the Gophers on the tournament morphine drip.
Complete Big Ten bracket