After a day of opening-round games, the Big Ten tournament hits its stride Friday with all of the league’s top teams in action. Here’s a rundown of what to expect in Indianapolis.
No. 1 Michigan State vs. No. 8 Iowa, Noon (ESPN)
This is the Spartans’ first game without talented freshman Branden Dawson, who suffered a torn ACL in Michigan State’s season finale against Ohio State. The Hawkeyes lost by 34 when they faced the Spartans back in January, but Iowa has shown signs of life in recent weeks with wins over Indiana, Wisconsin and Illinois Thursday in the opening round of the tournament. Michigan State holds a commanding second-half lead in this one.
No. 4 Wisconsin vs. No. 5 Indiana, approx. 2:30 (ESPN)
The Hoosiers had a resurgent year, but watched senior guard Verdell Jones go down with a serious knee injury in their opening-round win over No. 12 seed Penn State on Thursday. That was Indiana’s first Big Ten tournament win since 2006, and to add to that it must figure out how to slow down guard Jordan Taylor and Wisconsin Coach Bo Ryan’s flex bone offense. The Badgers enter Friday’s game with wins in 11 of their past 14 games, including a victory over Ohio State.
No. 2 Michigan vs. No. 10 Minnesota, 6:30 (Big Ten Network)
The assumption was this game would the one Northwestern would need to win in order to secure its first NCAA tournament berth ever. But the Gophers spoiled the fun when they upset the Wildcats in overtime Thursday even with center Ralph Sampson III injured. That sets up a quarterfinal matchup with the Wolverines, who closed strong to earn a share of the Big Ten regular season title. Minnesota freshman Andre Hollins had 25 points against Northwestern while Michigan features Big Ten freshman of the year Trey Burke.
No. 3 Ohio State vs. No. 6 Purdue, approx. 9 (Big Ten Network)
The Buckeyes finally seemed to peak last week when they beat Michigan State in their regular season finale, and still have an outside shot at a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. But Ohio State will likely need to win the Big Ten tournament to do so, no easy task considering Purdue only lost by three to the Buckeyes in Columbus last month. Ohio State senior William Buford had a season-high 29 points in that game, and Purdue’s Robbie Hummel hit just four of his 13 shots.
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