The Big Ten Tournament Quarterfinals are in full swing today. Let’s take a look at what happened in the first two games before the final two games tip.
#6 Michigan State Spartans 77, Ohio State Buckeyes 70
In an important game for the Buckeyes, Ohio State kept it close throughout the first half or so, with the game tied at 40 with 16:45 to go. Then Michigan State went on a 7-0 run to open up a lead, eventually pushing it to 21 points with 4:23 remaining. Ohio State fought hard to close the game, going on a 16-0 run and eventually narrowing the deficit to five before falling 70-77.
While it wasn’t enough to make a comeback, Ohio State’s run to close could be beneficial to the Buckeyes tournament hopes. Ohio State won what was essentially an elimination game against Indiana and now a lot of people think they’ll be in, but depending on how other bubble teams play and if some teams out of the picture can steal bids, that could still change. Losing to the conference champions by seven looks a lot better than suffering another blowout loss to close the season, especially with recent blowouts against Purdue and Northwestern.
Ohio State had a pretty solid day shooting from outside, hitting 46.2% of their 26 three pointers, but they struggled to score inside and committed 15 turnovers. Michigan State didn’t have much of an issue scoring, shooting 52% from the field and 41.2% from three. The Spartans were once again led in scoring by Cassius Winston, who had 18 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists.
Michigan State is currently slotted as a two seed in most NCAA Tournament brackets and will face Wisconsin in the semifinals tomorrow at one.
No. 1 is the first off to semifinal Saturday.@MSU_Basketball topped No. 8 @OhioStateHoops to advance to play the Nebraska-Wisconsin victor.— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) March 15, 2019
Here are the highlights.#B1GTourney x #MarchOnBTN pic.twitter.com/VSdIZBMEQH
#19 Wisconsin Badgers 66, Nebraska Cornhuskers 62
It’s been a rough season for Nebraska but the Cornhuskers managed to head into Thursday’s game against Wisconsin with a bit momentum after knocking off Iowa, Rutgers and Maryland. While the Cornhuskers have been playing short handed, they managed to keep pace with a Wisconsin team ranked 19th in the nation.
Early on Nebraska had a rough start as Wisconsin quickly opened up an 8-0 lead, eventually opening up a 21-8 advantage about eight minutes in. The Cornhuskers managed to fight back, using an 8-0 run of their own to narrow the deficit to five heading into the break.
In the second half both teams went back and forth, with Nebraska taking a lead with 10:18 remaining on a James Palmer Jr. layup. Wisconsin quickly opened up a seven point lead with 4:59 remaining before Nebraska cut the deficit back down to two in the closing minutes. With 1:59 to go the Cornhuskers had the chance to tie, but Glynn Watson Jr. missed the front end of a one-and-one. Nebraska couldn’t convert on the next possession, either, and D’Mitrik Trice made a critical three with 55 seconds remaining to push the lead back to five. While Nebraska kept fighting, Wisconsin was able to ice the game at the free throw line.
Nebraska had a big day from Glynn Watson Jr., who led the Cornhuskers with 23 points. James Palmer Jr. and Isaiah Roby added a combined 25 points, but Nebraska’s remaining roster only added 11 points as Nebraska played only six players. The Badgers actually didn’t utilize Ethan Happ that much down the stretch, relying more on Nate Reuvers and Khalil Iverson, leading the team with 14 points each. Wisconsin committed 17 turnovers, but Nebraska struggled shooting the ball (37.1%) and the Badgers did just enough to advance and move on.
The loss ends Nebraska’s hopes of winning the Big Ten Tournament and now they’ll wait and see if they’ll play in the NIT. Wisconsin is currently being projected as a four or five seed in the NCAA Tournament and winning today will help keep them as a four seed. They’ll have a chance to improve their stock tomorrow when they face off against Michigan State.