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BTT Day 2: Recap, Preview, Open Thread

Your one stop shop for all things Big Ten Tournament this Friday.

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, friends. Grab a fish sandwich and a beer (it's Friday, after all), settle down on the couch, and flip on your TV for Day Two of an already-entertaining Big Ten Tournament.

11am: #1 Michigan vs. #9 Illinois

Yesterday: #8 Illinois def. #9 Indiana, 64-54

In what we were constantly reminded was "a game of runs," the Fighting Illini used one of 11-0 early in the second half to turn a 38-33 deficit into a 44-33 lead. A pair of timely Tracy Abrams threes in the second half turned one-point leads into four-point leads, the second of which buried the Hoosiers with 2:07 left. Abrams finished with 25 and 7 boards. Indiana's shooting woes returned: the Hoosiers shot an abysmal 35% from the floor, including a 3-of-13 performance from Yogi Ferrell. Credit Nnanna Egwu for neutralizing Noah Vonleh, holding him to just 6 points and 5 boards.

Today: Illinois would do well to attempt to beat the ball inside with Egwu and wear down the Wolverines. #8 Michigan shot the lights out against the Illini the last time these two met, though expecting 24 points from Nik Stauskas has become the rule rather than the exception. If he gets hot, the Wolverines will bury the Illini again. Averaging only 65 ppg and allowing 62, Illinois needs to turn this into a low-scoring dogfight and lock down Stauskas to give themselves any chance of upsetting Michigan.

OTE Readers Pick It:
Michigan 105
Illinois 4
Indiana 11
%Mich 88%
%Illinois 3%
%Indiana 9%

I Pick It: Michigan 74, Illinois 64

~1:00pm: #4 Nebraska vs. #5 Ohio State

Yesterday: #5 OSU def. #12 Purdue, 63-61

LaQuinton Ross is pretty good at this whole "basketball" thing. Dropping 19 points and pulling down 15 boards, Ross fueled the Buckeyes to victory over an 15-point, 9-board, 5-block A.J. Hammons performance for Purdue. Head coach Thad Matta decided to foul up 3 with seconds on the clock after both All-Dakich Team member Aaron Craft and Lenzelle Smith missed free throws, and even though Purdue came up with the ball after a make and a miss, Terone Johnson's final shot of his college career came up short. Apt, no? Either way, this was an ugly game for Ohio State, and the Buckeyes need to turn up the intensity for Nebraska today.

Today: Can the Buckeyes contain Terran Pettaway? The two teams split their season series, with Ohio State stopping the Huskers at home, then being upset at The Vault just 16 days later. Shavon Shields made the difference that time for Nebraska, going for 18 points. The Huskers will try to open this game up for Shields and Pettaway, but their lockdown defense could give the Buckeyes some fits. If Nebraska can contain Ross inside and force Craft to make plays outside (please someone post the gif), Nebraska could steal into the semis.

OTE Readers Pick It:
OSU 78
Nebraska 41
Purdue 1
%OSU 65%
%Nebraska 34%
%Purdue 1%

God bless you, soul that had Purdue winning two.

I Pick It: Ohio State 66, Nebraska 62 - and we all start wondering about Thad Matta's BTT voodoo

~5:30pm: #2 Wisconsin vs. #7 Minnesota

Yesterday: #7 Minnesota def. #10 Penn State, 63-56

After getting into foul trouble early in the second half, Andre Hollins returned to hit a three with :15 to play that made the lead six for the Gophers, who nearly choked away a 14-point lead in another ugly game. Dre Hollins finished with 18, while D.J. Newbill provided the spark for the Nittany Lions' run in the second half, finishing with 16 points and 7 boards. Not much to say about this, save that Minnesota will need a lot more against Wisconsin today in order to get off that bubble.

Today: Wisconsin allowed Nebraska to get hot from the floor, a trend they need to reverse against the Gophers. They cooled off Minnesota at home a month ago, and will do Badger-y things again, like letting a horse play the 5-spot and shoot threes at a disgustingly-accurate clip. If Minnesota can't get out to a hot start and contain the Badgers on defense, it could be a long night.

OTE Readers Pick It:
Wisconsin 102
Minnesota 13
%Wisconsin 85%
%Minnesota 11%
%PSU 4%

I Pick It: Wisconsin 73, Minnesota 59 - commence Bubble Watch!

~8:00pm: #3 Michigan State vs. #11 Northwestern

Yesterday: #11 Northwestern def. #6 Iowa, 67-62

Tre Demps rode again for the 'Cats, finding contested three after contested three, dropping 20 points in an upset of Iowa that is causing consternation among Hawkeye fans and putting their seeding in the NCAA Tournament in an uneasy spot. Mike Gesell had an historically awful night, going 0-10 from the floor and 0-5 from three, though Jarrod Uthoff was a hero for Iowa, going 3-3 from deep en route to 17 points and falling a board short of a double-double. Roy Devyn Marble, as usual, played outstanding, dropping 25, but no one accounted (save me in a joke to chitownhawkeye a week ago...and it was sooooo a joke) for the return of...Dave Sobolewski? The junior somehow scored 10 points, including two late threes that propelled the 'Cats to the second round for just the sixth time. Blood and spiders, y'all.

Today: It's been nice while it lasted. The 'Cats need to force MSU into the struggle that was the ballgame in Welsh-Ryan Arena, in which Michigan State survived a scare, 54-40. If this game gets over 65, Northwestern is losing. Unfortunately, the return of Brandon Dawson and finally playing with a full lineup (HEY HAVE YOU HEARD MICHIGAN STATE HAD INJURIES) bodes well for the Spartans. Drew Crawford will need to continue his hot shooting, Demps needs to find open looks, and Alex Olah has to contain Adreian Payne in some way for Northwestern to have any hope.

OTE Readers Pick It:
MSU 86
Iowa 34
Northwestern 0
%MSU 72%
%Iowa 28%
%Northwestern 0%

I Pick It: Michigan State 74, Northwestern 51 - the Dream dies.

OTE BTT Pick'em Update!

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