The 2019 Big Ten Tournament heated up on Thursday with four games that almost all ended in dramatic fashion. Ohio State held off Indiana’s late surge, Nebraska upset Maryland, Minnesota beat Penn State in overtime, and Iowa got past Illinois.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Day:
-No. 13 Nebraska Cornhuskers 69, No. 5 Maryland Terrapins 61
Earlier this week, I wrote about how this game had some upset potential. Nebraska had show itself capable of beating quality teams earlier this season and the Terps had been inconsistent over the last month or so of the regular season. Nonetheless, Nebraska still shocked everyone and beat Maryland on Thursday afternoon.
For Nebraska, this keeps the team’s season alive. I still firmly believe the Huskers have a shot at an at-large bid if the team can make it past Friday. That also means Tim Miles will remain as head coach for at least one more day. The Huskers will face off against Wisconsin on Friday.
On the other side, Maryland will be sent home packing. The Terps continued the program’s recent struggles in the Big Ten Tournament and got upset in the team’s opening game. Maryland is still a safe bet for the NCAA Tournament, but will need to do better than to avoid an early exit.
-No. 8 Ohio State Buckeyes 79, No. 9 Indiana Hoosiers 75
Both teams came into this matchup with a lot on the line. The bracketology experts projected both squarely on the bubble and, as such, a single win or loss in the Big Ten Tournament could have some pretty massive implications. All told, Ohio State was able to hold off Indiana in the closing minutes and grab the win.
For Ohio State, this likely means the Buckeyes are heading to the NCAA Tournament. A major relief for fans that were panicking over the team’s recent struggles. Kaleb Wesson also came up big with 17 points and 13 rebounds. Ohio State will now move on for a key matchup against Michigan State on Friday.
On the other side, Indiana suffered a devastating loss. The Hoosiers are now likely going to miss the NCAA Tournament. A crazy development considering the team jumped out to a 12-2 start to the season. Weird things can happen in March, but it seems like it was too little, too late for the Hoosiers.
-No. 7 Minnesota Golden Gophers 77, No. 10 Penn State Nittany Lions 72 (OT)
The hot upset pick heading into this week’s Big Ten Tournament was Penn State. Over the last month of the regular season, Penn State had been red hot and looked like it would be able to carry that over into the postseason. Meanwhile, Minnesota hoped to secure an NCAA bid with a Thursday win. All told, Minnesota grabbed a 77-72 win in overtime thanks in large part to Amir Coffey.
For Minnesota, this is clearly a pretty significant win. The Gophers likely locked up an NCAA bid with the victory and are now largely playing for seeding. Minnesota will face off against Purdue on Friday. Notably, Minnesota actually beat the Boilermakers on March 5th near the end of the regular season.
On the other side, Penn State’s season will come to a close with its loss on Thursday night. The Nittany Lions fell to 14-18 overall and have no realistic shot at the postseason. The program already announced that Pat Chambers will be back for another season, so the offseason recruiting will have to start immediately.
-No. 6 Iowa Hawkeyes 83, No. 11 Illinois Fighting Illini 62
The only noncompetitive game on Thursday in the Big Ten Tournament came in the late game, where Iowa was able to pull away in the second half and grab a 21-point win over the Ilini. The benches eventually got unloaded in the final minutes.
For Iowa, this is a really encouraging win. The Hawkeyes had lost four straight coming into the postseason and five of the team’s last six games. Getting back on track before a showdown against Michigan on Friday was huge. Notably, Iowa beat Michigan in the only regular season meeting between the two.
On the other side, Illinois’ season will come to a close with its loss to Iowa on Thursday night. The Illini showed some clear signs of progress, but simply fell short too many times. All told, Illinois will finish with a 12-21 overall record.