#14 Maryland 59, #5 Wisconsin 53
Court-stormin' in College Park! The Terps forced a cold shooting night out of the Badgers (38.5% FG, 27.3% 3pt) and stunned Wisconsin at home. New OTE Wisconsin writer oshkoshbadger5 wants y'all to be calm, though. Things still aren't so bad in Madison for the virtual lock 1-seed in the BTT.
Northwestern 72, Indiana 65
Four in a row for Northwestern! The first time the 'Cats have done that in the B1G since...1966-67. Seriously. Shockingly, Indiana couldn't keep up its first-half 9/14 pace from deep, going 3/17 in the second half during a 10-minute scoring drought. Don't look now, but the 'Cats are in striking range of a first-round bye in the BTT. Indiana just slipped back onto the bubble, but I'd expect the Hoosiers to be OK come Selection Sunday.
Big Ten coaches vs Northwestern since 2002, from fewest losses to most. pic.twitter.com/quiES6iOt2— Loretta8 (@Loretta8_SoP) February 26, 2015
Iowa 68, Illinois 60
A pretty tired trope yet? Illinois was cold from the field (33.3% both FG and 3pt), turned the ball over 13 times, and had no answer for Aaron White, who dropped 29 for the Hawkeyes. Iowa needed this win to stay on the right side of the bubble, and Illinois enters into a must-win this Saturday when Northwestern comes to town.
Minnesota 95, Michigan State 90 (OT)
Minnesota's not quite dead yet! A furious rally capped by a Carlos Morris three with :02.2 left--although he was fouled and missed the go-ahead FT--sent the Gophers and Spartans to OT, where Minnesota got to the line for 20 free throws. In overtime. As many as they attempted in regulation. Meanwhile, Tom Izzo still can't believe MSU was whistled for a single foul.
How about Denzel Valentine, though? Dropped 27 for the Spartans on 7/12 shooting from deep. Travis Trice backed him up off the bench, making a case for his return to the starting lineup with 21 points (albeit on 6/18 shooting) and 10 assists. Still takes a hell of an effort to beat Sparty, especially at home, and Michigan State is still sitting fine for the Dance, though they'll likely slip onto an 8-9 line from their previously-projected 7-seed.
Ohio State 81, Nebraska 57
Sure looks like things are tanking in Lincoln. Not sure if the Huskers have been let back into the locker room, but Tim Miles' club was dominated on the boards, shot poorly from deep, and struggled at the free throw line. ESPN's BPI has the Buckeyes sitting at a 4-seed on the cusp of a 3-seed now, and Ohio State is moving toward a shot at a coveted 3-spot. [Update: StewMonkey and waw pointed out that BPI is, in fact, not good at predicting seeds, and that folks like Lunardi have the Buckeyes as an 8-seed. I'll still take the Buckeyes trying to move onto the 7-line to avoid a 1-seed, especially Kentucky, in the second round.]
Michigan at #14 Maryland || 11am, ESPN
Hot off a big win at Ohio State, Michigan looks to extend their streak and play their way into postseason consideration. Maryland, however, has only lost one game at home this year. My pick: Maryland, 68-51.
Iowa at Penn State || 5pm, ESPNU
The Nittany Lions have struggled as of late, losing four in a row, though they put a scare in Maryland two weeks ago. Assuming they bottomed out in a 39-point effort at Northwestern, they could surprise a vulnerable Iowa team with some hot DJ Newbill shooting, but the Hawkeyes are playing for their NCAA Tournament seeding life here, needing to find a way off the 8-9 line. Aaron White and Jared Uthoff should have the athleticism to get Iowa through. My pick: Iowa, 71-53.
Northwestern at Illinois || 6pm, BTN
I want to believe, 'Cats. Oh so badly, I want to believe. The Illini held off Northwestern, 72-67, in Evanston in the midst of the 'Cats 10-game losing streak, as Kendrick Nunn and Aaron Cosby were on fire from deep, dropping a combined 44 on 8/15 shooting from deep. Northwestern will need to keep them in check and get another big night out of Alex Olah, who's averaging 12.25 ppg, 9.25 rpg, and 2.75 bpg over the 'Cats winning streak. Along with some hot shooting from Tre Demps or Bryant McIntosh and Vic Law's continued finding of form, Northwestern could give Illinois trouble at home.
Oh, and I'll be there after a day of drinking on Green Street. So look forward to that. My pick: Illinois, 68-64. Streak's gotta end sometime.
Michigan State at #5 Wisconsin || 3pm
Perhaps a little of the luster has worn off this perennially-classic Big Ten matchup with Michigan State's inability to sustain success, but it remains a headliner nonetheless as the Spartans travel to Madison for their only meeting with the Badgers. Wisconsin's stifling defense (55.6 ppg, 9th nationally) and pace (346th in Kenpom AdjT) will pose a stiff test for Michigan State, who are 1-3 this season when held below 60 points.
This one will require a complete performance from the Badgers, though, and Frank Kaminsky will be tested by the Spartans' athleticism, especially from Branden Dawson, who is nearly averaging a double-double on the boards. Additionally, Michigan State has won 6 of the last 7 meetings in this series. My pick: Wisconsin, 62-57.
Purdue at Ohio State || 6:30pm
I'll be honest: I've given up trying to figure out Purdue, and I feel like at this point, we know what Ohio State is. Something something AJ Hammons is tall, Sam Thompson throws down dunks, and D'Angelo Russell is really, really good. Flip a coin: Purdue, 68-64.
Tell me I'm an idiot! Tell me your picks!