The 2023 Big Ten Tournament continued on Saturday with two fantastic semi-final matchups. Purdue faced Ohio State in the early game and Indiana tangled with Penn State in the late game.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Night:
-No. 10 Penn State Nittany Lions 77, No. 3 Indiana Hoosiers 73
This was easily the more compelling game of the day, as Indiana and Penn State battled it out for a trip to the championship game on Saturday. The Nittany Lions led for the vast majority of the matchup, but Indiana kept things particularly close in the second half and made a late push. Fortunately for Nittany Lion fans, Penn State was able to eek out a win. Jalen Pickett led the way with 28 points and eight rebounds.
For Penn State, it was obviously an incredible win. The team locked up an NCAA bid earlier this week, but this ensures Penn State will get a decent seed as well. And the shot at the program’s first ever Big Ten Tournament title on Sunday can’t be understated. This is just the second time Penn State has even made it to Sunday’s championship game. Expect a battle between the Nittany Lions and Boilermakers. Penn State will hope to flip the script after being swept by Penn State during the regular season.
On the other side, Indiana fell to 22-11 overall. The Hoosiers have secured their trip to the NCAA Tournament weeks ago, so Sunday will simply be about seeing where the team landed. Obviously, fans have to be disappointed with falling short against Penn State. It was a winnable game and Hoosier fans had to be licking their chops at a potential rematch with Purdue, who Indiana swept during the regular season. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. Still, Indiana can have a great season. We’ll see what the team can do next week.
-No. 1 Purdue Boilermakers 80, No. 13 Ohio State Buckeyes 66
This one looked relatively one-sided on paper, but the Buckeyes had shown enough earlier in the week in Chicago to think Purdue could have its work cut out. Ultimately, Purdue pulled away for a double-digit win, but it took a second half push to get there. Zach Edey proved to be the difference, finishing with 32 points and 14 rebounds.
Purdue improved to 28-5 overall with the win and will now advance to Sunday’s Big Ten Tournament championship game to face a feisty Penn State squad. As noted above, the Boilermakers swept the Nittany Lions during the regular season. Both of those games were decided by double-digits, so Boilermaker fans will be hoping for a repeat. Purdue will be looking for its first Big Ten Tournament title since 2009. It’s been a surprisingly long drought for a program as successful as Purdue’s over the last decade.
On the other side, Ohio State fell to 16-19 overall with the loss. Despite the surprising Big Ten Tournament run over the last few days, it was a failure of a season in Columbus, as the Buckeyes will miss the postseason for the first time since 2017. It’s the program’s first losing season since 2004. Chris Holtmann and his staff will have their cut out this offseason.