It should be a fun one today for the Big Ten Tournament in New York. Michigan-Michigan State is going to be a great opener, and the Wolverines would love to knock off their rivals who have been a little shaky, but they have still won 13 in a row. Michigan has won 7 in a row on their own.
For Purdue, we don’t get a shot at redemption against Ohio State, but we get a good Penn State team that is desperate for another tier 1 win to reach the NCAAs.
Game 11: 1 Seed Michigan State vs. 5 Seed Michigan - 2pm - CBS
Michigan was really good in dispatching Nebraska yesterday and possibly ending the NCAA dreams of the Cornhuskers. They are also the only team that walked into the Breslin Center this year and won. That was January 13th, and Michigan State reeled off 12 straight regular season wins to win the Big Ten title after that.
The Spartans far from dominant though. They needed overtime against Rutgers at home. They needed huge second half comebacks at Maryland and Northwestern. They needed a Miles Bridges hero shot against Purdue. They had to survive 3-point games at Indiana and Iowa.
Michigan State knows what to do in close games. They are aggravating in that way. They probably need this to secure a No. 1 seed next week, as the overall profile has just 3 tier 1 wins (Purdue, at Maryland, and North Carolina). Michigan had their number earlier and looked really good yesterday. My Pick: Michigan
Game 12: 7 Seed Penn State vs. 3 Seed Purdue - 4:30pm – CBS
It would have been nice to get another shot at Ohio State, especially since it would have been another shot at a tier 1 win, but beating Penn State again would be a solid tier 2 victory. Right now they are at 67 in the RPI. They probably won’t get into the top 50 so this one, on a neutral court, would be a tier 1 win, but it very likely would still fall into tier 2, where Purdue is 5-2 (wins over Louisville, Penn State, Nebraska, and Maryland at home plus at Indiana, losses to Western Kentucky and at Wisconsin). The combined tiers 1 and 2 for Purdue would then be a very healthy 12-5.
Penn State made a game of it in Mackey, but the Boilers were without Vince Edwards then. Vince was back with a vengeance last night. A 26-5-2 line was vintage postseason Vince. If that is the Vince we’re getting the rest of the way Purdue is going to go very far.
If that Vince shows up tonight I think Purdue rolls. He is a difference maker. Carsen Edwards was also really good in the game in Mackey with 27 points. Basically, Purdue adds Vince tonight from the first game and Penn State subtracts Mike Watkins. Watkins had only 3 points and 2 rebounds in the first game in 9 minutes because of foul trouble. He is out with injury today.
Because of that, I really like Purdue’s chances, but Tony Carr has that Talor Battle look about him, and Talor Battle dragged Penn State to the NCAAs in 2011 single-handedly with a big tournament run. Because of that factor it will not be easy. My Pick: Purdue