The second round of the Big Ten Tournament is in the books and it was a relatively entertaining day of hoops. Let’s take a lot at what happened.
In the first game today Maryland solidified their NCAA Tournament resume with a win over Michigan State in a game that was pretty similar to the last time these two teams played. Now Michigan State will have to hope that a recent string of wins over three top five teams will be enough to get them into the tournament.
Michigan State got off to a hot start, quickly building a 17-6 lead over the first six minutes. Michigan State scored 23 points in the first ten minutes, but only made one field goal the rest of the half and entered the break down by four. That cold streak continued into the second half with the Spartans not making a field goal until 13:43 remaining in the game. There was a 16 minute span where the Spartans made only ONE field goal. After that stretch the Spartans couldn’t get back into contention.
It was a failed opportunity for the Spartans and not a huge surprise considering they shot 25% from three, 50% from the line and committed 18 turnovers. They went cold offensively and played sloppy at arguably the worst time they could. Maryland wasn’t that much better, shooting 38.2% from the field and 30% from three, but went 20 of 28 from the line and limited turnovers.
Maryland will square off tomorrow against Michigan.
#9 Ohio State Buckeyes 79 Minnesota Gophers 75
A relatively lackluster game for most of the two hours, Minnesota pieced together a massive rally in the closing minutes to cut the deficit to a single point. Ohio State managed to just keep Minnesota away, fouling up three in the closing seconds to not let Marcus Carr have an opportunity to tie the game. Carr split the free throws and the Buckeyes got away with a travel before they ended up icing the game at the line. Minnesota almost got the ball back just a few second prior with a chance to take the lead, but CJ Walker managed to save the day with a timely timeout right before Ohio State lost the ball out of bounds.
Minnesota struggled shooting the ball, hitting 36.4% of their field goals and 25% of their three pointers. The Gophers made up for this with 16 offensive rebounds, allowing them to get off 21 more shots than the Buckeyes. Marcus Carr led the team with 24 points, a relatively nice day after a putrid 4 of 20 start from the field. Ohio State struggled from three, but they hit 50% of their field goals and did just enough at the free throw line to get by.
Ohio State will play Purdue tomorrow.
If the Archie Miller era ends after tonight’s loss to Rutgers then it’s a fairly good representation of what the Miller era has consisted of the past four years. A dreadful offense not scoring a field goal in the final nine plus minutes. A team that went 2 of 16 from three and 6 of 15 from the line. Only Trayce Jackson-Davis reaching double figures, with the rest of the team shooting 13 of 42 from the field. A Hoosiers team that looked absolutely lifeless once again throughout most of the night.
It was probably no surprise that the Hoosier fans in attendance booed the team in the closing seconds after Indiana missed the second front end of a one-and-one while trailing in the final minutes of the game. Just another poor performance from a team full of them the past four seasons.
Indiana actually had a better start tonight, opening up a 21-11 lead in the first half with less than eight to go. Rutgers caught win late in the half and closed out on a 22-11 run to take a 33-32 lead into the break. The game went back and forth with Indiana taking the lead with 9:48 to go after an Armaan Franklin jumper. Indiana then proceeded to not make a single shot the rest of the game, only making two free throws late in the half.
Rutgers didn’t even play particularly well, shooting 40% from the field and hitting 6 of their 23 three pointers. A bad free throw shooting team, the Scarlet Knights actually hit 77.8% of their free throws. When everything was said and done the Scarlet Knights did just enough to get past a woeful Indiana performance.
Rutgers will move on to play Illinois tomorrow.
Like last night, Penn State fell into a hole in the first half and entered the break trailing by double digits. That wasn’t a huge surprise considering the fact that the Badgers were shooting lights out from three, at one point making 8 of their first 13 three pointers. Wisconsin continued to build that lead in the second half, eventually opening up a 18 point lead. That double digit lead was still at 16 with just over five minutes to go before Penn State made a run in the final minutes.
Trailing 57-73 the Nittany Lions went on a 17-2 run to cut the deficit to a single point with 46.2 seconds to go, just like Minnesota did against Ohio State in the second game of the night. Penn State actually had a chance in the closing seconds for the win but Sam Sessoms made a bad pass to John Harrar that was batted away and the ref awarded (for some reason) Brad Davison a timeout he made while diving out of bounds. When everything was said and done the Badgers escaped by a single point.
Wisconsin put together some of the basketball they’ve played all year for about 30 or so minutes and then closed the game with some of their worst work all season. That doesn’t bode well for their game tomorrow against Iowa.