The 2022 Big Ten Tournament continued on Friday and fans got four intriguing matchups, highlighted by multiple close contests and a huge upsets for Ohio State. The results had significant NCAA Tournament bracketology implications.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Night:
-No. 13 Ohio State Buckeyes 68, No. 4 Michigan State Spartans 58
For the third straight day, Ohio State entered the day as an underdog and pulled off an upset. It also came without star forward Brice Sensabaugh, who missed the game with a knee issue. Bruce Thornton led the way again, finishing with 21 points, six assists, and four rebounds in the win.
Obviously, it was a sensational effort for the Buckeyes. The team was written off by most, especially without Sensabaugh, but found a way to get the job done. The win pushed Ohio State to 16-18 overall and into Saturday’s Big Ten Tournament semi-finals, where the team will meet top seeded Purdue. The Buckeyes have suddenly won three straight and five of the team’s last six games, including four game against top 40 KenPom opponents. For perspective, Ohio State only won three games between January 1st and March 8th and has now suddenly won three in a row. It’s been an incredible ride.
On the other side, Michigan State fell to 19-12 overall with the loss and will now await their fate on Sunday. The team remains a safe bet to make this year’s NCAA Tournament, but the loss to Ohio State will certainly deal a blow to Michigan State’s seeding. ESPN’s latest bracketology had Michigan State as a seven seed. We’ll see if that holds or if the Spartans slide to an eight or nine seed.
-No. 1 Purdue Boilermakers 70, No. 9 Rutgers Scarlet Knights 65
This was an incredible game and easily could have been the Game of the Day selection. However, the drama of Ohio State’s present run deserves some appreciation, so the Buckeyes got the nod. Nonetheless, this was an excellent matchup that came down to the final minutes before Purdue escaped with a win. The star of the game ended up being Mason Gillis, who finished with 20 points and nine rebounds.
Purdue improved to 27-5 overall with the win and the team advances to Saturday’s Big Ten Tournament semi-finals for a meeting with Ohio State. The Boilermakers swept the regular season series, though the game in Columbus went down to the final possessions before Purdue came away with the win. Purdue likely needs to beat the Buckeyes to feel good about its chances of a No. 1 seed in the Big Dance.
Meanwhile, Rutgers fell to 19-14 overall with the loss. The Scarlet Knights will now await their fate on Selection Sunday. Most bracketologists have Rutgers on the right side of the NCAA bubble, but it’s certainly going to be tight. ESPN’s latest bracketology had Rutgers as one of the final four teams into the field. We’ll see if that holds up.
-No. 10 Penn State Nittany Lions 67, No. 2 Northwestern Wildcats 65 (OT)
This was another entertaining game and one that needed an extra session to be decided. It was also a notable one from a postseason perspective as well, as the win almost certainly ensured Penn State will hear its name called on Selection Sunday. Andrew Funk led the way with 14 points and seven rebounds. Seth Lundy also had a great performance with 16 points and seven rebounds.
Penn State improved to 21-12 overall with the win while Northwestern fell to 21-11 with the loss. The Nittany Lions will now move into Saturday’s Big Ten Tournament semi-finals against Indiana. It figures to be a really intriguing game. Penn State won the only meeting between the teams during the regular season. Conversely, Wildcat fans will now focus on Sunday, when the program will make its second ever NCAA Tournament. A great achievement for Chris Collins and his squad, even if things didn’t go well on Friday.
-No. 3 Indiana Hoosiers 70, No. 6 Maryland Terrapins 60
This was the night cap of the day and it certainly lived up to the hype, as Indiana and Maryland battled until the final minutes. Both teams had stretches where it looked like they would win, but Trayce Jackson-Davis ultimately proved to be too much for the Terps. The big man finished with 24 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists. Jalen Hood-Schifino also had 19 points and six rebounds.
Indiana’s win pushed the Hoosiers to 22-10 overall and into Saturday’s Big Ten Tournament semi-finals against Penn State. KenPom favors Indiana in the game, though only by two points. Penn State won the only regular season meeting between the two. We’ll see if Indiana can flip things this time around.
On the other side, Maryland fell to 21-12 overall with the loss. It’s the team’s third loss in four games, with the only win coming against an underwhelming Gopher squad on Thursday night. Fortunately, Maryland remains a safe bet for the NCAA Tournament and should get a respectable bid. Fans will have to wait and see how things shake out.