Usually, going 2-1 on a night in the postseason is a pretty successful one for a conference. Unfortunately, this is not one of those nights for the Big Ten. Illinois, Iowa, and Penn State all played on Wednesday night, each in a different postseason tournament. Iowa faced Tennessee in the First Four of the NCAA Tournament, looking to get a Round of 64 matchup with UMass on Friday. Illinois faced Boston University, hoping to get to the 2nd Round of the NIT. Penn State faced Hampton at home in the 1st round of the CBI. Here's how each fared
NCAA Tournament - Iowa vs. Tennessee
The Hawkeyes dominated the game early, but gradually let the Volunteers back into the game. They did push the game to overtime off a big basket from Roy Devyn Marble, but could not finish the game strong and fell apart in overtime. This is not only a crushing defeat for Iowa because it ends their season, but because it was so fitting for the season. They have lost so many games like this that they absolutely should have won. If Iowa just closes out a few games, they aren't even playing on Wednesday night. Still though, that goes back on the Hawkeyes. They could not convert and as a result are heading home. There are 2 ways to view this loss and team. First, that Iowa was too good of a team to be in this position and lose this game. Essentially, they underachieved and that's on the coaching and players. Second, this is a fitting loss for a flawed team that was overrated early in the year. They just got exposed as the year went on. The story is somewhere in between most likely, but at the end of the day, the Hawkeyes were certainly disappointed to be the Big Ten's first postseason loser.
NIT - Illinois vs. Boston University
The Illini battled early, but got behind big as the game continued. Luckily, Rayvonte Rice saved Illinois and got them the win in the 1st round to avoid the upset. Illinois got kind of screwed since they are unable to play home games (renovations to their arena), but pulling off this win is big. The NIT features some solid teams and this can be a big growing experience for Illinois. Several solid NCAA teams this year were in the NIT last year. They will get to play Clemson on Sunday.
CBI - Penn State vs. Hampton
This was a very odd game. Penn State would pull ahead, but then let Hampton close the game and make it interesting again. Eventually, the Nittany Lions were able to win and keep their season rolling. They are now in the quarterfinals and will face Siena. These two teams will face off on Monday for a shot to go to the semi-finals. Winning the CBI isn't exactly huge, but getting this playing time is huge and getting players into a winning atmosphere is also big.