The Big Ten Tournament is teaching Ohio State one important thing. Never take any team lightly and never give up. Ohio State has now won two games with their backs to the wall, heading into the Big Ten Tournament Final.
Meanwhile, Minnesota heads into the Big Ten Tournament Final with momentum and confidence. Minnesota can assure themselves of a spot in the NCAA Tournament with a win over Ohio State and Ohio State can make a case for a number one seed in the NCAA Tournament with a big win.
Ohio State has a not so secret weapon and Minnesota has upset on their mind.
Everyone knows about Evan Turner and his value to the Ohio State Buckeyes. While Evan Turner was missing six games this season with a broken back, David Lighty took up the slack and he provides a potent alternative when Turner has to take a seat on the bench. Turner despite missing six games this season leads the team in scoring, rebounds and assists. Lighty doesn’t replace all Turner’s production but he does fill the gap effectively.
Minnesota showed in their Big Ten Semi Final that they have weapons also. Both of Minnesota’s centers shined in the spotlight. Ralph Sampson III scored 13 points and Colton Iverson scored 11 to lead Minnesota. Iverson and Sampson were both forces to be reckoned with against Purdue and a big reason for Minnesota’s impressive first half. If those two can control the pace against Ohio State beware of a possible upset.
Ohio State has something to play for in the Big Ten Final.
Ohio State is currently looking at a number two seed in the NCAA Tournament according to ESPN NCAA Tournament Bracketoligist, Joe Lunardi. A convincing win over Minnesota could lead Ohio State into a possible number one seed in the NCAA Tournament. Ohio State has to come out strong to take away Minnesota’s momentum, if they don’t start strong, Minnesota may take an early lead and put Ohio State behind the eight ball. Ohio State will win the Big Ten Tournament in convincing fashion and Evan Turner will be the NCAA Tournament MVP.
How many teams will go to the NCAA Tournament from Big 10?
According to ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi, the Big 10 should have five teams in the NCAA Tournament (see bracket here).
Ohio State. The Ohio State Buckeyes could receive a number one seed if they win the Big 10 Tournament.
Purdue. The absence of Robbie Hummel shouldn’t affect a decision on Purdue. With the loss to Minnesota Purdue is most likely to drop to a number three seed.
Wisconsin. A poor performance turned in by the #13 Wisconsin Badgers could drop them farther down than their projected number four seed.
Michigan State. Another Big Ten team that may have hurt their seeding with a head scratching performance against Minnesota. They are a number four seed but they can drop to a five possibly when everything shakes out selection Sunday.
Illinois. The Illini helped their ranking with a win over #13 Wisconsin. They are currently projected as a #11 seed.
Minnesota. By making the Big Ten Tournament Final Minnesota can punch their ticket to the NCAA Tournament by playing Ohio State close and if they win outright they don’t have to sweat Selection Sunday.
Big Ten Tournament semi final action sets up classic final.
Ohio State took on Illinois in the semi final match up and trailed by nine points with 12 minutes left. Ohio State, led by Evan Turner went to a full court press and in turn went on a 20-0 run to demoralize the Illinois players. After the run Ohio State was sloppy and let Illinois back in the game. Giving up three straight turnovers as Illinois closed the nine point gap to three points.
Illinois failed to get the last shot off at the end of regulation to win the game and at the end of the first overtime. In the second overtime Ohio State’s Evan Turner fouled out and David Lighty took over the scoring. Lighty scored Ohio State’s last four points, two on a spectacular drive to the basket. Ohio State shot 73% in overtime to seal the deal and a possible number one NCAA Tournament seed.
Minnesota was looking for the upset against Big Ten Tournament number six seed Purdue. The Purdue Boilermakers were shooting in the first half as if there was a lid over the basket. With only three minutes left in the half, Purdue only had six points. Purdue went into the locker room at half 37-11 and never recovered. Credit Minnesota with all out offensive and defensive play that overwhelmed the normally unflappable Purdue team. The loss will hurt Purdue’s chances for a coveted number two seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Quarterfinals have two big surprise and one instant classic finish.
The Minnesota Golden Gophers upset the NCAA Tournament bound Michigan State Spartans and Minnesota has played themselves into a bubble position by beating a solid team like Michigan State. Chris Allen’s absence from the Michigan State is a contributing factor to why Minnesota was able to hit key threes in the overtime to put Michigan State away. Minnesota won with little production from big man Ralph Sampson III (no points and 2 rebounds). Michigan State was the 9-4 second favorite to win the Big Ten Tournament
The Ohio State Buckeyes received a huge scare against bitter rival Michigan but Ohio State star Evan Turner made an incredible buzzer beating shot from 37 feet out to close out the Wolverines and advance to the Big 10 Tournament semi finals against Illinois. Michigan will be asking themselves all summer long,”how did we leave Evan Turner so wide open?”
Illinois advanced past the 13th ranked Wisconsin Badgers in another surprise in the Big Ten Tournament, winning 58-54. The Illini, led by Mike Tisdale with 21 and Demtri McCamey adding 13 in the winning cause. Illinois was a 20-1 long shot to win the Big Ten Tournament in the board at the Las Vegas Hilton Superbook.
Purdue fighting for a possible number two seed in the NCAA Tournament, struggled a bit against a pesky Northwestern Wildcat team but prevailed 69-61. Purdue, dealing with the loss of star forward Robbie Hummel for the remainder of the season, has responded with juniors, E’Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson picking up the slack. Moore scored a career high 28 in the win over Northwestern and he and Johnson will have to play at a high level to get Purdue far in the NCAA Tournament.