#8 Purdue Boilermakers 69, Indiana Hoosiers 67
BoilerUp89: Look, the regular season was a disappointment for Purdue fans. But the Boilermakers found a way to beat Indiana in the season finale. And 10 out of the last 11 in that series is still pretty nice. Time to shake off the many losses on buzzer beaters and debut the 2-3 zone Painter has been hiding for almost two decades.
Michigan Wolverines 75, #23 Ohio State Buckeyes 69
Nebraska Cornhuskers 74, #10 wisconsin badgers 73
beez: Wisconsin turned it over 6 of their first 8 possessions, which effectively meant Nebraska got 14 possessions to start the game to Wisconsin’s 2. Wisconsin forfeited its right to win that game in the first 5 minutes. Just insanely sloppy.
(NOTE: I know this is not how the numbers actually work out, but it sure feels like it)
BRT: Well, well, well... from almost winless to 13th in the Big Ten. Turns out, the Huskers are the Cinderella story you were looking for.
Jokes aside, it's been a fun week with these sad Cinderellas. It's hard to avoid asking what could have been had the team found this gear earlier, but it's pretty impressive they found it at all after the utter demoralization of the first two months of conference play. That says a lot for them, and three road wins, two against ranked teams, is a damn good week for any team.
As for today's game specifically, I didn't have high hopes— I assumed the Badgers were much better, at home, senior day, etc and would take care of business. When I turned on the game and saw Bryce McGowens was out for the day, this only confirmed my foreboding. But happily, Wisconsin elected to not play for much of the first half, allowing the Huskers to scrap and find enough offense without Bryce McG to hold a lead nearly the entire time. The Badgers also committed almost a turnover a minute for awhile, which helped the cause.
The second half got crazier. The Huskers started getting in foul trouble, including a bad foul by Trey McGowens that ended in his ejection and will no doubt be detailed at length by numerous Badgers on this page. Both McGowenses were now gone, but sadly for Wisconsin, so too was their leading scorer, injured on the aforementioned play. Things went from bad to worse, with foul after foul committed by the Huskers, highlighted by a technical called on Alonzo Verge because... the ref didn't like his face? Details were not clear. The Husker goose seemed cooked when Wisky went up nine with 5:48 left. But then, Bucky stopped scoring. Like, completely. And the Huskers had just enough juice to claw back to a slight lead. Wisconsin had plenty of chances to get the win in the last five minutes, and even in the waning seconds of the game, but just couldn't get shots to fall. You do love to see it.
Nebraska now gets to face Northwestern again, which isn't great, because the Cats have weirdly been kryptonite for the Huskers this year, utterly destroying them in both previous games. But the Huskers are playing with lots of confidence right now, so hopefully that translates into a less disastrous third attempt at the Wildcats.
Thumpasaurus: Fred Hoiberg has, for the first time in his career, delighted Illinois-based basketball fans.
Jesse Collins: Nebraska fans will tell you that this team is nothing if not wildly chaotic. Sure, that doesn’t often mean ‘good’ nor does it really mean specifically entertaining. But, when the stars align - which was wild considering Bryce McGowens was hurt - this team is miserable to play and they do something awesome.
For the first time in 14 years, they went and beat a Top 10 team. On the road. Alonzo Verge was quite literally doing everything and this will forever be the game fans remember him for. Sure, this season sucked, but this has been a wonderful week.
One more shout-out. Derrick Walker has been doing quiet, not-chaotic work all season. He was aggressive, smart, and under control all game. Definitely deserves the praise he was getting throughout the broadcast.
MNW: Pete Nance finally balled out like a man possessed on Senior Day, saddling up for 19 and 13 and getting a well-deserved round of applause off the court.
Water was always going to find its level in this one—Northwestern isn’t 20 points better than Minnesota, like they were in the first half, but nor were they 17 points worse like they showed in Minneapolis a month ago. The ‘Cats responded to Minnesota’s 4-1 junk zone by shooting and driving their way out of it, making some of the marginal shots that denied them in Minneapolis.
And now, for their trouble, beating Minnesota plus Nebraska’s stunning win over wisconsin means the ‘Cats get to try and make it three again the Huskers. I’m not runaway sold it’ll be the ‘Cats, because Freddy’s finally got the Cornbois playing well, but I’d prefer that to running it back with Minnesota. It’s win or bust for Northwestern, so I’m not holding my breath, but at least there’s finally some semblance of good play in Evanston.
WSR: Well that sucked.
#20 Illinois Fighting Illini 74, Iowa Hawkeyes 72
Stewmonkey: Iowa came in and punched Illinois in the mouth. Jordan Bohannon was basically a no show after being sentenced to two foul jail early in the first half, but Tony Perkins and the Murrays did a lot of good work getting Iowa out to a 15 point lead.
But that was never sustainable. Illini went on a run at the end of the half and then Iowa just ran out of steam eventually giving up the lead on bad shots and turnovers. They gave a good late push, but their insistence on missing free throws surprisingly was a poor strategy.
Thumpasaurus: This game was a microcosm of the entire season for Illinois: immediately the potential was obvious, but a series of disastrous events put them behind the 8 ball as mistakes compounded on each other while Iowa scored on 12 straight possessions.
Then things swung the other way. Illinois went in a run in the middle 6 minutes and then engaged in a back and forth that was more driven by whether or not Illinois made good plays than anything Iowa did. Not even the entire team, sometimes Curbelo inbounded off his own backboard and sometimes he made a miraculous drive through a crowded lane to score an and-1. Coleman Hawkins missed a wide open dunk with under 10 minutes to go, but then made some key plays down the stretch.
The roller coaster ride of this game reflected the season, and you know what’s great? Now it doesn’t matter that we lost to what’s clearly a fraudulent Ohio State team, or that we still can’t beat Maryland, or that we lost at home to the Terps last year, or that we’re a big time threat to get upset in the first round of the NCAA tourney.
None of that shit will take down the banner that will go up as a result of this win.
Neither will Jordan Bohannon, who only needed to score 3 points to prevent it from going up. He once again laid a goose egg against Illinois. A fitting end!
Big Ten Tournament Bracket
Here’s how that means the Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis will shake out:
Keep it tuned to OTE for breakdowns of the BTT Bracket, bracketology updates, our BTT pick’em competition, and more.
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