March is upon us, and now is the time where elite team start heating up and bubble teams win their way in or worse lose their way out of making the NCAA Tournament. Sunday in the Big Ten, two games consisted of four possible tournament teams including Wisconsin dismantling a surging Michigan State team, and bubble team Purdue traveling to Ohio State but not cashing in on a chance to gain a huge resume boosting win.
Ohio State (21-8, 10-6) vs. Purdue (19-10, 11-5)
With all this talk about making freshman ineligible in the Big Ten, D'Angelo Russell showed last night, just how great freshman have been for the conference. Russell and Ohio State battled back from a terrible first half and were able to get a big time win at home against Purdue 65-61. D'Angelo scored the first 8 points of the game for the Buckeyes, but a Matt Painter coaching substitution that placed Bryson Scott to guard him, led to Russell to score only three points the rest of the first half. Purdue went into halftime up 35-23.
The second half turned out to be a completely different story. Russell got hot just like he started the game and was able to use that scoring ability to come back from the 12 point deficit. Shannon Scott connected on three free throws in the final 24 seconds which closed the game out. D'Angelo finished the game with 28 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 assists all which lead the Buckeyes. AJ Hammons was the leading scorer for the Boilermakers finishing with 16 points and 6 rebounds.
Ohio State closes out this last week of the conference regular season on the road at Penn State, then they host conference leading Wisconsin on senior day. Purdue looks to bounce back at Michigan State, then at home against Illinois, these final two games have now become must win games for the Boilermakers.
Wisconsin (26-3, 14-2) vs. Michigan State (19-10, 10-6)
The Badgers of Wisconsin were quickly able to put behind them their loss against Maryland earlier in the week, and put on a top notch performance for senior day against Michigan State in a 68-61 victory. Led by senior Frank Kaminsky's season high 31 points, the Badgers were able to clinch at least a share of the Big Ten Conference title. The Spartans were led by Bryn Forbes who scored 21 points but was unable to get the team to rally behind him as they were down more than 20 points at one point in the game.
Wisconsin heads on the road to take on Minnesota and Ohio State to close out the year, and Michigan State hosts Purdue in a huge bubble make or break game for the Boilermakers and finishes at Indiana.