The first round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament continued on Friday night and the Big Ten continued to show up well. Iowa and Ohio State scored big wins, despite Wisconsin falling short against Oregon.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Day:
-No. 11 Ohio State Buckeyes 62, No. 6 Iowa State Cyclones 59
Not many people liked Ohio State’s chances coming into this matchup, but the Buckeyes were able to keep things competitive throughout and use a fast start to grab a surprising win over Iowa State. Kaleb Wesson led the way with 21 points and 12 rebounds.
Obviously, this was a huge win for Ohio State. Despite having to sweat in out in Chicago last week worrying about its NCAA fate, the team backed that up by coming into the NCAA Tournament and beating a top end Iowa State team. The Cyclones were coming off winning the Big 12 Tournament. This is a huge win.
The Buckeyes will now have to prepare for a really challenging matchup against Houston on Sunday. The Cougars are really hot and will be a tough out.
-No. 10 Iowa Hawkeyes 79, No. 7 Cincinnati Bearcats 72
Depending on when you started watching this one, your opinion on this one can differ pretty significantly. The Bearcats got up early, but Iowa closed it back up and the two exchanged the lead several times thereafter. All told, Iowa grabbed a 79-72 win.
For Iowa, this is a pretty significant win. The Hawkeyes really tallied off towards the end of the season and many thought they might fall short in the postseason. To come out and score a win against a team many thought was under seeded is a pretty massive. Many had Cincinnati advancing to the Sweet 16, so beating the Bearcats should mean a lot to fans.
Iowa will now have to prepare for a matchup against Tennessee on Sunday. The Volunteers nearly lost to Colgate on Friday, so Hawkeye fans will be hoping for an upset.
-No. 12 Oregon Ducks 72, No. 5 Wisconsin Badgers 54
Unfortunately, despite the Big Ten’s tremendous start to postseason play, everything didn’t go perfectly in the opening days. The Badgers ended up falling short on Friday afternoon against a really hot Oregon team. Wisconsin was in position to win in the second half, but faded in the closing minutes and the Ducks scored a key win.
Wisconsin will now have to go back to the drawing board for next season. Ethan Happ will be departing and a massive void in contributions will follow. It should be an interesting offseason in Madison in the months to come.