Well the Big Ten tournament has had its first upset, with the No. 14 seed Rutgers Scarlet Knights beating the No. 11 Minnesota Golden Gophers 65-54. With what has been a disappointing second half of the season for Minnesota, became even more disappointing when they lost in the first round in the Big Ten tournament, one year after they were a No. 5 seed in the NCAA tournament.
So, what can we take away from tonight’s game?
What We Learned:
1. Corey Sanders comes up big at the perfect moments.
Corey Sanders turned on the motor while everyone else on his team struggled to do so, scoring 23 points on 9-of-20 shooting while grabbing seven rebounds. On a night where Gio Baker and Deshawn Freeman combined for 1-of-9 shooting and just ten points, Sanders was a vital part of the victory tonight.
Sanders will have to do what he did tonight if the Scarlet Knights want to get past a stingy Indiana Hoosiers defense tomorrow night at 8:55 PM ET.
2. Isaiah Washington is a future star.
The true freshman has impressed this season, averaging 8.4 points per game, with most of that coming in the absence of star guard Amir Coffey. Tonight he was the Golden Gophers’ only consistent scorer, scoring 18 points on 6-of-13 shooting.
Typically most of Minnesota’s production will come from the hands of Nate Mason, but an off night for him led to a positive night for Washington.
After being ranked as high as No. 14 this season, Minnesota just couldn’t overcome the loss of shot-blocker Reggie Lynch and Amir Coffey, two starters that meant a lot to the Gophers. For Rutgers, well a run at the Big Ten championship still remains in sight, but it’ll be tough, for if they beat Indiana tomorrow, they’ll have to face No. 3 Purdue Boilermakers in the semifinals.
Also tonight, the Big Ten says goodbye to Nate Mason, who has produced well all four years for Minnesota. Good luck to him in the future and to all teams playing tomorrow in the second round.