The Vestigial Rutgers Invitational that is the first day of the Big Ten Tournament is over. Here is your quick recap that will end up not mattering because none of these teams are going to be around by Saturday anyway.
Nebraska 68, Rutgers 61
It would not be Wednesday at the Big Ten Tournament unless Rutgers was playing, but at least this year they were finally not the 14 seed. Last year they made a magical run to the quarterfinals before being dismissed by Purdue. The glorious home court advantage of the World’s Most Overrated Arena was not able to help them this year, as the dozens of diehard Rutgers basketball fans were not in Chicago. James Palmer Jr. scored exactly half of Nebraska’s points and Tim Miles fell on his ass in the tunnel.
Yes, Miles falling down will be the most memorable moment of the 2018-19 season for Nebrasketball.
Illinois 74, Northwestern 69 OT
I called this game “Sadness Personified” in my preview and like sadness, it stuck around longer than we thought it would. Giorgi Bezhanishvili scored 26, but fouled out in regulation as these teams just had to play longer. By law, there had to be a winner so Iowa could play today instead of just getting a bye to Friday since no one needs to see more Illinois or Northwestern basketball this year, especially Illinois and Northwestern fans. They have suffered enough.
Trent Frazier and Ayo Dosunmu connected on consecutive threes in overtime to end Northwestern’s season. Aaron Falzon cut it to 71-69 with a three of his own, but Andrew Feliz beat the shot clock for a basket with 1:09 left and the Wildcats failed to score again.
That sets up today’s schedule as follows:
#8 Ohio State (18-13, 8-12) vs. #9 Indiana (17-14, 8-12) 12:30pm, BTN
Winner stays alive for the NCAA Tournament while the loser is likely done.
#5 Maryland (22-9, 13-7) vs. #13 Nebraska (17-15, 6-14) 3pm, BTN
The Cornhuskers have clinched a winning record overall! It is NIT time in Lincoln! That is, unless they do something really nuts like make a run to the championship game, then 21-16 with a top 50 NET and three straight Quad 1 wins might pull off a miracle.
#7 Minnesota (19-12, 9-11) vs. #10 Penn State (14-17, 7-13) 6pm, BTN
Purdue gets the winner, and we want it to be Penn State since they would be a Quad 1 win. They are at 49 in the NET and Minnesota is at 56.
#6 Iowa (21-10, 10-10) vs. #11 Illinois (12-20, 7-13) 8:30pm, BTN
If Iowa loses this are they on the Bubble? It would be a fifth straight loss and 6th in 7 games.