Wisconsin, the Big Ten regular season champion and the conference tournament's No. 1 seed, fell to eighth-seeded Ohio State, 58-50, in yesterday's quarterfinal at United Center in Chicago.
The Buckeyes are two wins from an automatic NCAA berth after taking humble NIT hopes into this tournament. They will play Michigan State, a winner over Purdue, in today's semifinals.
Ohio State was led by guards Sean Connolly, who scored 21 points including five three-pointers, and Brent Darby, who recorded 16 points and six assists.
With the help of an 11-0 run, Ohio State (16-13) took a two-point lead into the break.
The Badgers responded an 11-1 run of their own to start the second half that included six points from forward Alando Tucker and a three-pointer from Kirk Penney (team-high 14 points).
A red-faced Ohio State coach Jim O'Brien then called a timeout -- he wouldn't repeat the script of his motivational speech -- that set the Buckeyes straight for the rest of the game.
Wisconsin (22-7), which hasn't won a tournament game since 2000, joins Arizona of the Pac-10 and Marquette of Conference USA as No. 1 seeds to bow out early in their respective conference tournaments, raising questions about the value of such competitions for teams already locked into the NCAAs.
"I don't think anybody comes into these tournaments not trying to win, but I don't think it's a major disappointment for those teams that know they're going to get a high seed," O'Brien said. "[The tournament] can be a burden for some teams. . . . But that shouldn't take anything away from our guys."
Wisconsin Coach Bo Ryan wouldn't say whether the early exit -- and extra rest -- would be an advantage entering the NCAAs, but his players appeared unhappy to be heading home.
"We work so hard to have this privilege and get the number one seed and have a bye," Tucker said. "But then we just can't get past the first round."
* MICHIGAN STATE 54, PURDUE 42: Alan Anderson and Erazem Lorbek scored 10 points each and the Spartans' defense did the rest in a quarterfinal win over the Boilermakers.
Michigan State (19-11), with five straight wins, faces Ohio State in today's semifinals.
The Spartans held Purdue to its lowest scoring output of the season. Purdue's 12 first-half points were its fewest in one half since scoring 13 against Minnesota in 1982.
Willie Deane led Purdue (18-10) with 16 points. But like the rest of his teammates, Deane shot poorly, hitting just 5 of 17 shots.
The Boilermakers made just 4 of 20 first-half field goal attempts, going more than seven minutes midway through the first half without a point. They finished 13 of 50.
Michigan State scored the final 10 points for a 24-12 halftime lead. The Boilermakers committed 16 first-half turnovers.
* INDIANA 63, MICHIGAN 56: A.J. Moye powered the Hoosiers' comeback from an eight-point, second-half deficit by scoring 16 of his 18 points after intermission.
Jeff Newton and Tom Coverdale added 15 points each for Indiana (20-11), which moves on to today's semifinals against Illinois.
LaVell Blanchard led the Wolverines (17-13) with 21 points and Bernard Robinson Jr. added 15 points, 11 rebounds and 8 assists.
* ILLINOIS 94, NORTHWESTERN 65: Brian Cook had his sixth double-double of the season to lead four players in double figures as the No. 13 Illini routed the Wildcats.
Cook had 20 points and 12 rebounds for No. 2 seed Illinois (22-6). Davor Duvancic led Northwestern (12-17) with 20 points.