Yesterday was the day of blowouts in DC. All four games were won by at least 20 points as Michigan, Michigan State, Indiana, and Northwestern were utterly dominant. Things went according to seed too, except for Indiana over Iowa. All in all, it was a dull day.
Michigan 75, Illinois 55
The Illini were clearly overwhelmed after their plane accident and travel issues that didn’t… wait… It was Michigan that had all the travel issues? Well now. Illinois just sucked, I guess. Tracy Abrams, the old man of the Big Ten that has been around long enough to have played against Robbie Hummel, had 23 points and 5 rebounds, but that is about it for the Illini. Will they fire John Groce now or wait until after they lose at home in the NIT?
Michigan State 78, Penn State 51
Michigan State was up by 18 at halftime and never looked back. Mile Bridges had a 15-9-3 and nick ward had a 15 and 9 for the Spartans as Penn State shot worse than 30% from the field. The Nittany Lions were never really in this one. They led very early at 5-3 and an 11-0 run by Michigan State put them in front for good.
Indiana 95, Iowa 73
I really thought Iowa would show up for this one. They had clawed back into the NCAA Tournament discussion but after an early 11-6 lead Indiana caught fire. James Blackmon Jr. finished with 23 points and even played a modest amount of defense in this one. Peter Jok was limited to just 9 points by the Hoosiers as they blew open the game with a 52-33 second half. Indiana still should not be an at large team because no team with a losing record in conference deserves an at large bid (this includes TCU, Kansas State, or any other ACC team with a losing record in league play), but the Hoosiers at least looked the part for once.
Northwestern 83, Rutgers 61
Holy hell what did Northwestern do? Just about the only thing that would have possibly ended their NCAA dreams was a loss to Rutgers, but trailing 9-6 Northwestern went on an astounding 31-0 scoring run. It took over 10 minutes and it felt like Northwestern was venting decades of frustration in this game. They are certainly in the NCAAs now. Any win today over Maryland is just gravy.
1 Seed Purdue (25-6, 14-4) vs. 8 Seed Michigan (21-11, 9-9) Noon, ESPN
The Champ is here! This game has me a little nervous. It is the type of game that can say a lot about what Purdue will do in the NCAAs. Michigan and Mo Wagner is a severe matchup problem for us. If Purdue pulls out a win it shows our versatility. The full preview is here, but I don’t have a ton of confidence.
4 Seed Minnesota (23-8, 11-7) vs. 5 Seed Michigan State (19-13, 10-8) 2:30pm, ESPN
Michigan State won both regular season meetings, but that was before Minnesota got red hot and won seven straight games. The Spartans also needed overtime in Minneapolis. Michigan State looked awfully good yesterday, so this should be a really good game.
2 Seed Wisconsin (23-8, 12-6) vs. 10 Seed Indiana (18-14, 7-11)6:30pm, BTN
Dan Dakich was practically turgid yesterday calling Indiana’s blowout of Iowa. The Hoosiers looked good and won consecutive games for the first time in over a month, but in the words of Boogie Nights, “Let’s not start sucking each other’s d**** just yet.” Indiana beat an Ohio State team that lost to Rutgers and an Iowa team that clearly did not play well. We’ll see what happened here, but I wouldn’t count Indiana out because Wisconsin has mostly been bad for about a month.
3 Seed Maryland (24-7, 12-6) vs. 6 Seed Northwestern (22-10, 10-8) 9pm, BTN
Maryland finally gets to take the court in the 10th game of the tournament. There is only NCAA seeding to play for here. The Wildcats have never made the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament. Maryland also crushed them in Evanston a few weeks ago, so I think the Terps take this one.
Purdue - duh
Michigan State - The Spartans count as two of Purdue’s five top 50 wins, but htey are at 48 int he RPI. we don’t want them to drop. Michigan State is a far better matchup for Purdue in the semifinals too.
Wisconsin - Screw Indiana
Northwestern - Much like Michigan State, the Wildcats count twice on our profile and they are sitting at 52 in the RPI. A win gets them on the happy side of 50, likely for good.
Quick Other Conference Tournaments Update:
Auburn - The Tigers lost to lowly Missouri in the first round of the SEC Tournament. That actually dropped them below the 100 line in the RPI (108). I guess that is Ronnie Johnson’s final parting gift to us.
Norfolk State - The Spartans beat South Carolina State 93-88 and are in the semifinals of the MEAC Tournament today against Howard. The Bison are just 8-23 overall, so Norfolk should win and play for the autobid tomorrow.
Utah State - The Aggies bowed out of the Mountain West Tournament with an 83-69 loss to top-seeded Nevada. The Wolfpack could be a first round opponent for Purdue.
Georgia State - The Panthers are at 112 in the RPI and begin play today against Louisiana-Lafayette as the 2 seed in the Sun Belt Tournament. Georgia State won both regular season meetings.
Arizona State - The sun Devils won their first Pac-12 Tourney game 98-88 over Stanford in overtime, but Oregon trounced them last night 80-57. Arizona State finishes at 15-18, No. 123 in the RPI, and they were 1-10 against top 50 teams.