Four Tournament Thoughts: Wolverines Lose While Michigan State & Purdue WinPosted by jnowak on March 17th, 2012
The Big Ten’s unblemished record took a hit on Friday night, as #4 Michigan was bitten by the upset bug in #13 Ohio in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Top-seeded Michigan State dispensed of LIU-Brooklyn and Purdue snuck by St. Mary’s, bringing the Big Ten’s record to 5-1 after the second full round of games. Here are a few thoughts on the night’s action:
- Draymond Green is not slowing down — Well, it’s safe to say that Oscar Robertson and Magic Johnson are some pretty fine company. The Michigan State senior recorded the second NCAA Tournament triple-double of his career — he finished with 24 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists — to join Robertson (four triple-doubles) and Johnson (two) as the only players to accomplish the feat twice in the Big Dance. LIU-Brooklyn had no answer for Green and, for that, the Spartans advance to face St. Louis.
- One and done for the Wolverines – It was a wild day of upsets across the board, and Michigan was one of the high-profile victims. Ohio — Brady Hoke won’t get such a laugh out of this one — controlled pretty much the entire 40 minutes on Friday, shutting down Zack Novak (two points) and Matt Vogrich (zero) while holding Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. to just 30 points combined. That’s a pretty good blueprint for beating these Wolverines, who put together one of the best regular seasons in program history but flopped under the bright lights.
- Purdue is riding high — There was a time during the season that the Boilermakers could have been left for dead — Kelsey Barlow had been kicked off the team, D.J. Byrd was suspended, and Purdue had lost three of five — but Matt Painter‘s crew battled through it and seems to be better for it. Purdue was solid through 40 minutes against a super-talented St. Mary‘s squad, and continues to demonstrate the focus it has shown over the last couple of weeks. This team is playing some of its best basketball and its balanced skill set can give Kansas a tough game on a neutral floor Saturday.
- The best in all the land? — As mentioned earlier, the Big Ten went 5-1 in the second full round of games, with Michigan as the only squad falling to defeat. How does that stack up against the power conferences and does the Big Ten maintain its reputation this season as the best in America? No major conference has gone winless, and the only major conferences with as few losses as the Big Ten — the SEC and the Pac-12 — had only four and two teams participating, respectively. The Big East has seven conference victories (USF has played twice, and won both games, thanks to a play-in), but also has three losses. The third round this weekend will be telling.