The first round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament continued on Saturday and the Big Ten had an impressive five teams in action. All told, Michigan, Michigan State, and Purdue were able to score key wins, thought Maryland and Minnesota fell short.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Day:
-No. 3 LSU Tigers 69, No. 6 Maryland Terrapins 67
This game didn’t end well for the Big Ten, but it was a fantastic matchup. While LSU jumped out to a big lead early, the Terps were able to come back thanks to some key defensive adjustments in the second half. The teams ended up exchanging the lead a few times in the closing minutes before LSU scored on a controversial bucket to grab the win.
For Maryland, this is undeniably a really disappointing loss. The Terps missed on a number of quality looks down the stretch that ended up costing them the game. Still, it was a respectable season for the team. Maryland finished with an overall record of 23-11 and narrowly missed out on a trip to the Sweet 16.
The Terps are projected to have a stacked team coming back next season, depending on how a few NBA decisions turn out. We will have to wait and see how things go on that front in the coming months.
-No. 2 Michigan Wolverines 64, No. 10 Florida Gators 49
Depending on when you started watching this game, your perspective on how this game was played would differ pretty greatly. Michigan jumped out to an early lead, but Florida responded thanks to some quality three-point shooting. However, when the shooting dried up, Michigan pulled back ahead and coasted to a 64-49 win over the Gators.
For Michigan, this is the program’s third straight trip to the Sweet 16. It’s an incredible achievement for John Beilein along with his staff and players. The Wolverines will now prepare for a matchup against either Texas Tech or Buffalo in the Sweet 16.
-No. 2 Michigan State Spartans 70, No. 10 Minnesota Golden Gophers 50
It’s been awhile since a Big Ten team faced off against another in the NCAA Tournament, but it happened on Saturday. Michigan State faced off against Minnesota after the two were able to score wins on Thursday afternoon. Unfortunately for the Gophers, this one was never competitive. Michigan State was able to coast to a pretty easy win.
For Michigan State, the team will now advance to the Sweet 16 and prepare for a matchup against LSU next week. The Spartans also improved to 30-6 overall. It’s been quite a season in East Lansing and fans are hoping it will go on for at least two more weeks.
On the other side, Minnesota’s season came to a close with a whimper. What was particularly disappointing was that Jordan Murphy only played four games with injury issues. Once he couldn’t play, it was largely over for the Gophers. Murphy will now depart this offseason and the team will have to regroup in the months ahead.
-No. 3 Purdue Boilermakers 87, No. 6 Villanova Wildcats 61
Perhaps no win was more impressive for the Big Ten on Saturday than Purdue’s win over Villanova in one of the late games. The Wildcats were the defending national champions and coming off four straight wins heading into the matchup. However, Purdue pulled ahead early and never looked back in route to an 87-61 win.
This marked Purdue’s third straight trip to the Sweet 16 and its fourth in the last 11 years. Both are pretty impressive marks for the Boilermakers. The team will now prepare for either Iowa or Tennessee in the Sweet 16.