Storyline of the Day
Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday that is really about the three Fs: Family, Food and Free-time to watch sports. Two of those are necessary to live, and the other is family. Now of course the traditional Thanksgiving sport is football, but thanks to the Battle 4 Atlantis and a couple of other early season tournaments there were some great college basketball match ups yesterday. Three B1G teams played on turkey day, all in tournaments, Wisconsin in the Battle 4 Atlantis semifinals, MSU in the Orlando Classic quarterfinals and Illinois in the semifinals of the Las Vegas Invitational.
Game of the Day: Wisconsin vs. Georgetown
The Hoyas came into this game after a difficult overtime victory against Florida on Wednesday, while the Badgers cruised against UAB in their quarterfinal. That makes it all the more impressive that John Thompson III's team was able to come out and give the #2 team in the country their toughest fight yet. Bo Ryan's squad led by one at the half, but the Hoyas came out of the break ready to play and opened up a 53-44 lead eight minutes into the second half. Then with reserves Bronson Koenig and Duje Dukan leading the way the Badgers stormed back pulled out a 68-65 victory.
Sam Dekker led the Badgers with 17 points, but it was Koenig off the bench who played the best with 14 points and 4 assists in 27 minutes. Traevon Jackson and Sam Gasser struggled with foul trouble and Frank Kaminsky had his worst game of the season going 1-8 from the field including four missed threes. Georgetown was led by D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera with a 29 point game including 5-6 from beyond the arc, his only miss coming on a last second attempt to tie the game. Wisconsin moves on to play Oklahoma in the final at 4:30pm on ESPN, following Georgetown versus Butler in the 3rd place game.
Illinois vs. Indiana State
Illinois rolled over the Sycamores in Las Vegas. Rayvonte Rice scored 21 points and had 5 steals in a game that was never in doubt. Indiana State was an NIT last year and, despite losing three seniors, are expected to be competitive in the MVC this season. None of that matter against the Illini though, as ISU committed 20 turnovers and was outrebounded by 13 while struggling to keep pace with the John Groce's high-scoring team. Illinois get Baylor or Memphis in the final at 10:30pm on Fox Sports 1.
Michigan State vs. Rider
Rider, located in New Jersey, is known as the Broncs, they play in the MAAC, they haven't made the NCAA tourney since 1994 and they have absolutely no chance at winning this tournament. The Orlando Classic is "hosted" by the MAAC and therefore one of their teams always plays, but the best finish by a MAAC team in the tournament was third by Marist, who would make it to the second round of the NIT that season. Rider scored just 11 points in the first half, on 4-29 shooting. Denzel Valentine scored 19 to lead the Spartans in the rout while Bryn Forbes added 15. The Broncs were led by Matt Lopez who scored 14 and was the only Rider player to hit more than two field goals. Michigan State moves on to play Marquette at 9:00pm on ESPN2, Rider will play Georgia Tech in the consolation bracket.