Big Ten Morning Five: 03.23.12 EditionPosted by Ryan Terpstra on March 23rd, 2012
- Bad news for Big Ten fans last night, as Michigan State fell to Louisville, 57-44. Not only were the Spartans the best chance for the conference to claim a national championship, they also became the first #1 seed to fall. Michigan State looked sloppy and out of sync all game long, thanks to the swarming pressure defense of the Cardinals, and also the shot-blocking presence of Gorgui Dieng, who swatted 7 shots. Many other stats were disappointing for Spartan fans to look at, including the final score, 44, which is the lowest total point output by a 1-seed in the college basketball shot clock era.
- One Spartan who had a game to forget was sophomore point guard Keith Appling. Appling scored just one basket, and had four turnovers, struggling withe the Louisville pressure. Following the game, Appling was dejected in the locker room, with the realization of how quickly fortunes can change in the NCAA tournament washing over him. He’ll be expected to lead the transition out of the Draymond Green era next season, so hopefully Appling doesn’t keep his head down for long.
- Wisconsin came oh-so-close to upsetting Syracuse, but the Badgers fell just short, as Jordan Taylor and Josh Gasser could not covert last-second attempts. Wisconsin was able to slow the pace down, as evidence by the 64-63 score, but the Badgers also ruled the three-point line, knocking down 14 of 27 for a stunning 52% from beyond the arc. It wasn’t enough though, as Dion Waiters scored 13 points, and also had some key baskets down the stretch that helped the Orange hold on.
- The Big Ten only had one successful team on the evening, and that was Ohio State, who’s win over Cincinnati put the Big ten at 1-2 on the night (against the Big East no less), but more importantly sent the Buckeyes to the Elite Eight, a place they haven’t been since the school went to the Final Four in 2007. Things looked dicey as Ohio State coughed up a 10-point halftime lead five minutes into the second half. But Thad Motta’s crew collected themselves, and behind 26 points from Deshaun Thomas, Ohio State guaranteed the conference will have Elite Eight representation.
- As brackets continue to bust this weekend, Nebraska basketball fans are keeping tabs on a quiet coaching search taking place in Lincoln. No big names are linked to the Husker jobs, but that doesn’t mean the search lacks for interesting candidates. Colorado State head coach Tim Miles is a name that not many have talked about, but after taking his Rams to the NCAA tournament and helping turn around that program, he seems like a good fit for a struggling Nebraska.