NCAA Tournament Game Analysis: Third Round – Sunday

Posted by EJacoby on March 18th, 2012

RTC Region correspondents Brian Otskey (East), Kevin Doyle (South), Evan Jacoby (Midwest) and Andrew Murawa (West) contributed to this preview.

#3 Georgetown vs. #11 N.C. State – Midwest Region Third Round (at Columbus, OH) – 12:15 PM ET on CBS

Thompson's Team is a Real Wildcard in this Region

We originally picked Georgetown to get upset in the round of 64 by Belmont, but that was with knowledge that the Hoyas could be the biggest threat to stopping Kansas from reaching the Elite Eight if they were able to escape that opening game. Not only did Georgetown escape, but it was one of the most impressive showings of any team in the tournament thus far. The Hoyas used their length and athleticism to deny the efficient Belmont offense from ever getting started, and they were unreal at their own end offensively with a 61.2% field goal percentage for the game. This matchup will be more difficult, however, against an North Carolina State team that’s getting better every game and playing spectacular offensively. The Wolfpack have great size inside to match Georgetown, with C.J. Leslie and Richard Howell as long and athletic as any Hoya. Howell had his best game of the season with 22 points on 10-12 shooting last game, but that will also change as he goes up against much stronger post defenders. Georgetown primarily plays zone defense but will also switch things up and defend man-to-man when needed. It will be a battle inside all night as the Hoyas surely won’t let Scott Wood get open looks from three. This game, though, will be decided on the other end of the floor. NC State was not particularly strong defensively throughout the year, but they completely shut down San Diego State on Friday by allowing just 37.7% field goal shooting. The Aztecs played a lot of one-on-one ball, the exact opposite of what the Hoyas will show. It’ll be up to Henry Sims to make smart decisions in the high post, something he’s done all year. Jason Clark was great last game and is a reliable playmaker in this game, while Otto Porter remains rock solid as an X-factor offensively. Both of these teams looked great last round, but Georgetown has the advantage because it should pose a much greater defensive threat to the Wolfpack while also running a motion offense that will be difficult to defend.

The RTC Certified Pick: Georgetown

#1 Michigan State vs. #9 Saint Louis – West Region Third Round (at Columbus, OH) – 2:45 PM ET on CBS

Two top ten teams in defensive efficiency. Two coaches with a well-earned reputation for X-ing and O-ing with the best of them. It isn’t likely to be one of the prettiest displays of basketball you’ll ever see, but if you like fundamentals and you like basketball as chess match, this is a can’t-miss game. The Billikens advanced to this round behind great team defense and great individual offensive performances by Kwamain Mitchell (22 points including four threes) and Brian Conklin (16 points, earned largely from his ten-of-11 performance from the line). But Conklin also turned the ball over eight times, in part due to the active hands of Memphis defenders; he’ll see more of that on Sunday and will need to take better care of the ball. Defensively, the Billikens will need to come up with some sort of answer for Draymond Green, who was brilliant Friday against Long Island, registering a triple-double with 24 points, 12 rebounds and ten assists. But perhaps the biggest battle of the game will be on Michigan State’s offensive glass. The Spartans have historically made a living creating offensive on second-chance opportunities, but the best Rick Majerus-coached teams have been proficient in securing defensive rebounds. If the Billikens can limit the Spartans’ offensive rebounding (a feat easier said than done), Tom Izzo will need to find other ways for his Spartans to score in the halfcourt, and there have been times this year when that MSU offense has bogged down a bit. While sophomore guard Keith Appling is usually excellent getting penetration, SLU is no liable to allow that very often, and there is no one else on the Spartan roster capable of creating his own offense off the dribble on a regular basis. Guys like Green, Brandon Wood and Austin Thornton have been very efficient three-point shooters, but, with the exception perhaps of Green, they need someone to create open looks for them. In short, if SLU can do what no other team has been able to do all year – keep Michigan State in check on their offensive glass – then the Billikens could drag this game down into the mud and pull out a win. But, if the Spartans do what, you know, they always do, I have a hard time seeing Saint Louis pulling this one out.

The RTC Certified Pick: Michigan State

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Four Tournament Thoughts: Wolverines Lose While Michigan State & Purdue Win

Posted 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 Did It All For The Spartans On Friday. (Greg Bartram/US Presswire)

  1. 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.
  2. 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. OhioBrady 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
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Rushed Reaction: #10 Purdue 72, #10 St. Mary’s 69

Posted by Patrick Marshall on March 16th, 2012

Three Key Takeaways.

  1. Exploiting interior defense. Purdue took advantage of one glaring weakness for St. Mary’s — its lack of interior defense. The Boilermakers continually exploited the middle with guard Terone Johnson leading the way with 21 points. He took advantage of the openings in the first half and the rest of his teammates got involved after that as Purdue scored 36 points in the paint. They can be successful further into the NCAA Tournament by attacking the basket.
  2. Key Outside Shooting. Although Purdue didn’t shoot very well from three, the ones that did go down were at critical points in the game. Both of DJ Bird‘s three pointers and the lone Robbie Hummel three made in the second half came when St. Mary’s was trying to make a run. The ability of Purdue to get to the paint so easily made the few outside shots Purdue attempted in the second half count.
  3. Gaels will miss Jones. Rob Jones is a 6’6″ forward that is basically playing the job of center while also being a threat outside. He works hard underneath and plays bigger than he really is. St. Mary’s coach Randy Bennett must have told his team at halftime to get the ball to Jones because he was a lot more involved after halftime. He scored the first five points of the half and seemed to be involved in every play throughout the rest of the game including the shot at the end of the game that could have sent it into overtime. He finished with a game high 23 points. The senior will be missed after this season.

Star of the Game–Lewis Jackson, Purdue. Although Terone Johnson set the example for Purdue to attack the basket in the first half, it was Jackson who took advantage of the St. Mary’s interior defense that led the Boilermakers to the win. The point guard got the final field goal of the game that was huge for Purdue.

Quotable. “The thing is about this team is that they will let you take three point shots. You have to make shots. We finally hit some at the end, but we didn’t do good enough.” — Randy Bennett, St. Mary’s Head Coach.

Sights & Sounds. The atmosphere at the CenturyLink was still buzzing over the Norfolk State upset of Missouri in the previous game. Since they also had to clear out the arena for the evening session, it took a while for it to get full again, but by the end of the game the stands were packed to enjoy the finish of this one. When St. Mary’s took the lead 69-68 with 44 seconds to go, the crowd was clearly behind the Gaels.

Wildcard. With the win, Purdue has now won their fourteenth straight opening round game in the NCAA Tournament. They are also now 3-1 as a #10 seed.

What’s Next?–The Boilermakers now head to Sunday with a trip to St. Louis on the line against either Kansas or Detroit in the next game tonight. With two #2 seeds already going down today, you are never quite sure what is going to happen.

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NCAA Tournament Game Analysis: Second Round – Friday Evening

Posted by EJacoby on March 16th, 2012

RTC Region correspondents Brian Otskey (East), Kevin Doyle (South), Evan Jacoby (Midwest) and Andrew Murawa (West) contributed to this preview.

#8 Memphis vs. #9 Saint Louis – West Region Second Round (at Columbus, OH) – 6:50 PM ET on TBS

Nice to See Rick Majerus Back in the Dance (AP)

It may be an 8/9 game, but according to advanced metrics, this is anything but your typical 8/9 game. Both teams are among the top 15 teams in the country according to Ken Pomeroy’s rankings, outscoring opponents by about 0.2 points per possession over the course of the season. Still, looking back over the schedules, the Billikens’ only have four wins over NCAA Tournament teams (Vermont, St. Bonaventure and two over Xavier), while the Tigers have just three (Belmont, Southern Miss and Xavier) – not exactly stunning resumes. However, SLU head coach Rick Majerus is no stranger to NCAA Tournament success, and his ability to scout and gameplan for an opponent is legendary. And while Memphis is used to playing at a fast tempo, you can bet Majerus will effectively slow this game down, using 25 seconds or more on every offensive possession, mostly forgoing any attempts at offensive rebounds in an effort to get back on defense, and making Memphis score over a stingy SLU defense. While Memphis has been killing teams over the past month or so, the two games they’ve lost have been down-tempo affairs (UTEP and Southern Miss), and if they get frustrated against the deliberate Billiken pace, it could spell an early end to the Memphis season. Still, the Tigers will have a significant athletic advantage and while Majerus has a decent matchup for lightning quick guard Joe Jackson in the form of Kwamain Mitchell (and Jordair Jett), it remains to be seen how effective they will be against sophomore win Will Barton. If Barton can find space inside the SLU perimeter defense, he could create serious problems. Of course, that’s a big if.

The RTC Certified Pick: Saint Louis

#2 Duke vs. #15 Lehigh – South Region Second Round (at Greensboro, NC) – 7:15 PM ET on CBS

Located less than an hour’s drive from Cameron Indoor, Duke will do battle with Patriot League champion Lehigh in what is practically a home game for the Blue Devils. Duke is limping into the NCAA Tournament have lost two of their last three games, one of these losses coming in blowout fashion against arch rival North Carolina. Despite having many holes on the defensive end and Ryan Kelly uncertain for the game against Lehigh, Duke does have one of the more potent offensives in the tournament. Austin Rivers and Seth Curry can score from virtually anywhere on the floor, and the Plumlee brothers make for a formidable frontcourt. It is not often that a Patriot League team can put a player on the floor that has the ability to go shot-for- with one of the best teams in the nation, but C.J. McCollum will prove he belongs running side by side with Austin Rivers. The junior guard from Canton, OH ranks top ten nationally in scoring and has the ability to take over a game for long stretches. Although Duke will no doubt focus much of their effort on the defensive end on McCollum, it is no secret that the Blue Devils struggle guarding around the perimeter. McCollum will get his points, but it is just a question if his teammates will be able to follow suit. If Lehigh gets production from Gabe Knutson and Holden Greiner, don’t be surprised if the Mountain Hawks hang with Duke for much of the game.

The RTC Certified Pick: Duke

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Five Bold Big Ten Predictions For the NCAA Tournament

Posted by Ryan Terpstra on March 14th, 2012

It’s my favorite sports time of year!  The NCAA Tournament is here!!!  While we all feverishly try and figure out with first round upset to pick, I have some thoughts on how the Big Ten will perform.  Will the best conference in the country find success in the Big Dance?  Here are Five Bold Predictions

Will Draymond Green have a chance to cut down the nets in another Final Four? (photo: Reuters)

#1 – Hello, Big Ten.  Allow me to embrace you:  The Big Ten was the best conference in college basketball this year, and while the league only got six teams into the Tournament, it has five teams seeded as a #4 seed or higher.  Purdue is the only seed not “favored” in their game, but don’t be surprised if Purdue is favored in Vegas against St. Mary’s.  If you are participating in a pool in Big Ten country, don’t listen to those who call you a homer.  All six Big Ten teams will win in their opening game matchups, and I believe that two of them are headed to the Final Four.

#2 – Don’t buy all this Memphis stuff when it comes to MSU:  Michigan State earned its #1 seed with a great Big Ten tournament performance, and now everyone’s feathers are all ruffled because they think Memphis could upset the Spartans early.  I watched Memphis play earlier this year when they lost to Michigan, and did not come away impressed.  They have great athletes, but I have no faith in Josh Pastner as a big-time coach.  When it comes to quick turnarounds, no one can scout and adjust like Tom Izzo.  It’s almost an art form how well Izzo and his staff prepares MSU for their next NCAA game in less than 48 hours.  Finally, Conference USA is no Big Ten, and when Memphis played outside of their conference they lost to Georgetown (twice), Murray State, Louisville, and Michigan.  Their best win over a tournament team is against Xavier. Michigan State, meanwhile, just won the Big Ten tournament by beating Wisconsin and Ohio State, two wins much more impressive than anything the Tigers have on their resume.  Why should the Spartans be scared again???

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Big Ten Morning Five: 03.13.12 Edition

Posted by Deepak Jayanti on March 13th, 2012

  1. Tom Izzo‘s mood over the last year and a half has been all over the place. Over a year ago, Izzo was struggling with discipline issues on his team as he suspended Kory Lucious for the season. This season however, team chemistry has been the strongest asset of Michigan State. Izzo describes Michigan State’s success this year as the “power of chemistry.”  Losing Branden Dawson did not derail his team’s spirits because everybody else held themselves accountable and played their way to a Big Ten Tournament title.
  2. Illinois’ interim coach and former assistant coach of Bruce Weber, Jerrance Howard will not be coaching his first collegiate game this season.  The Fighting Illini were not invited to the National Invitational Tournament even though Iowa got invited with 17 wins. The Illinois Athletic Director, Mike Thomas will try to make sure that missing the NIT or the NCAA Tournament does not become a habit for the Illini fan base.
  3. Michigan head coach John Beilein is happy with the Big Ten regular season title, but definitely not satisfied.  He knows there is more to come and Wolverine basketball has to become consistent again. He compares Michigan’s consistency to programs such as Wisconsin, Michigan State and Ohio State. Beilein knows Michigan has more room to improve and it can only get better if Tim Hardaway Jr. came back to play along with Trey Burke and incoming freshman Mitch McGary.
  4. Everybody is aware of the Illinois coaching vacancy, but what about Nebraska’s coaching position? It will be tough for Nebraska to make a sell at the top coaching candidates such as Shaka Smart or other coaches with consistent coaching records such as Greg Marshall of Wichita State. They don’t have the history of their football program to lure a promising young coach. But being in the Big Ten and a healthy budget in their athletic department should help them bring some talent to Lincoln to run a decent basketball program.
  5. It is only fitting that Robbie Hummel will end his career during the NCAA Tournament. One of the greatest players in Purdue history has not been back to the postseason in over two years due to injuries. Purdue is matched up with St. Mary’s. Hummel made an excellent recovery from the injuries as he averaged 16.3 points per game this season and continues to be the go-to guy for the Boilermakers. He is just happy to lead his team back to the NCAA Tournament before wrapping up his career.
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Six Big Ten Teams Have Their Dancing Shoes On

Posted by jnowak on March 12th, 2012

There are six Big Ten teams in the NCAA Tournament. So what? So let’s dance!

Big Ten fans everywhere should be excited about their team’s prospects in the tournament. The conference has been considered the best in the nation all season, and more than a few squads have the goods to make the Final Four in New Orleans. Here’s a brief look at each of the six Big Ten teams’ first-round games, with some thoughts from our Big Ten contributors Joey Nowak (@joeynowak) and Ryan Terpstra (@terphimself):

Tom Izzo is a master in March. How far can he take his Spartans this year? (Justin Wan/The State News)

#1 Michigan State vs. #16 Long Island University-Brooklyn

  • Ryan Terpstra: A #16 has never beaten a #1, and that won’t change for MSU. The Spartans are playing great, and are 3-for-3 in going to Final Fours when they’ve entered the tournament as a #1 seed. It would behoove them to build an early lead and put the game out of reach so they can rest some starters, because a potential matchup with Memphis would be a tough one for the next round.
  • Joey Nowak: What is there to say about a #1-#16 match-up? As a Brooklyn resident, I’ve been rooting for LIU-Brooklyn the last couple weeks, until I found out they’re matched up against my alma mater. I honestly think this game will be competitive for most of the first half before the Spartans pull away.

#2 Ohio State vs. #15 Loyola

  • RT: The Buckeyes are disappointed to not be a #1 seed after losing in the Big Ten Tournament, but their talent and size can’t be matched by many teams. They should overpower Loyola easily, but a possible game against West Virginia wouldn’t be such a pushover.
  • JN: The Buckeyes probably feel a little burned after losing to the Big Ten Tournament championship game, and that’s bad news for Loyola. Ohio State plays always rebounds well from losses and has shown in the last two weeks that this team means business.
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Big Ten Morning Five: 03.12.12 Edition

Posted by jnowak on March 12th, 2012

  1. Michigan State is the Big Ten Tournament champion and Draymond Green is the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. And with that, the Spartans are also the #1 seed in the West region of the NCAA Tournament. But to get there, a multitude of things needed to go right. Michigan State got important help down low from Derrick Nix and Adreian Payne, as well as crucial contributions from senior wings Brandon Wood and Austin Thornton. Without Branden Dawson, there were questions about how far this team could go. What about now? And how about this great photo of Green hoisting the Big Ten Tournament trophy via The State News photographer Justin Wan?
  2. On the other end of that championship game spectrum falls Ohio State, which got a #2 seed in the East region of the tournament. The Buckeyes, who were shooting for an unprecedented third straight Big Ten tournament championship in their fourth consecutive title game, were hindered by foul trouble to Jared Sullinger in the first half and Aaron Craft in the second. The Buckeyes stumbled in conference play, but certainly showed they are capable of playing in New Orleans in a few weeks.
  3. Michigan State and Ohio State aren’t the only two teams dancing. Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Purdue also made the tournament field. BTN.com’s Tom Dienhart takes a look at those Big Ten teams in the field — who’s hot, who’s not, who has the easiest road, who’s likely to be upset, and more.
  4. Notice that none of those teams mentioned above was Northwestern? Once again, the Wildcats are on the outside looking in on the Big Dance, missing out on yet another golden opportunity to break through into the tournament field. The Big Ten Network‘s Tim Doyle chats here with Northwestern coach Bill Carmody about his squad being left out of the NCAA Tournament.
  5. As the Indianapolis Star‘s Bob Kravitz points out, the state of Indiana is full of good stories as it relates to the NCAA Tournament. (The fact that there’s basketball-related excitement coming out of Indiana should come as a shock to no one). From Purdue‘s successes and the determination of Robbie Hummel to the rejuvenation of the Hoosiers under Tom Crean, there is plenty to cheer for at this time of year in the Hoosier State.
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Big Ten Tournament Second Round Recaps

Posted by jnowak on March 10th, 2012

Here’s a breakdown of how things went down in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals on Friday in Indianapolis:

Wisconsin senior Rob Wilson was practically unstoppable on Friday. (AP)

Wisconsin 79, Indiana 71
  • The Hoosiers were playing this quarterfinal game without the services of senior Verdell Jones III, who tore his ACL in the team’s win on Thursday, but did have a hometown crowd behind them. As it turned out, it wouldn’t be enough to silence the unlikeliest of assassins: Wisconsin’s Rob Wilson. The senior, who came into the game averaging just 3.1 points per game, went off for 30 to give Bo Ryan his school record 266th victory. The win for the Badgers was also significant in that the program avoided its fourth straight one-and-done appearance in the tournament, setting a date with Michigan State on Saturday. Now can Wisconsin avoid losing three times in one season to the Spartans?
Michigan State 92, Iowa 75
  • It was a game many were watching to see how the Spartans would respond without freshman wing Branden Dawson, who was lost for the year with a torn ACL suffered on Sunday against Ohio State. Those questions were answered by a number of Dawson’s teammates. It was a balanced scoring attack for Michigan State — led by Draymond Green‘s 21 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in just 24 minutes of play — that had 10 players score in the game. If Adreian Payne (16 points, seven rebounds), Travis Trice (nine points) and Brandon Wood (10 points) can all contribute like this, the Spartans are as much a threat as ever. For Iowa, it’s the end of the road for senior Matt Gatens, who averaged 15.7 PPG this year and finishes sixth all-time in career scoring at Iowa.

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Four Game Recaps: Big Ten Tournament First Round

Posted by Ryan Terpstra on March 9th, 2012

Here’s a breakdown on how things went down in the Big Ten tournament’s first day of action:

Matt Gatens led Iowa to a big win over Illinois (Andy Lyons, Getty Images)

Iowa 64 – Illinois 61

The skinny: It’s been a tough season for Illini fans, and now (some would say thankfully) it is over. Myers Leonard was a force down low for Illinois, scoring 18 points and grabbing six boards, but Brandon Paul struggled his way to four points on 2-11 shooting. Meanwhile, Matt Gatens continued his solid senior season with 20 points to lead the Hawkeyes, but it was his defense on Paul that really was the difference in this contest for Iowa. Head coach Fran McCaffery complained earlier this week about Gatens not being included on the all-Big Ten defensive team, and the senior looked every bit an elite-level stopper in this match-up. All-Big Ten freshman Aaron White had 13 points and 9 rebounds including a key offensive board with about 40 seconds left after a missed free throw by Roy Devyn Marble that helped seal the game for Iowa.

Up next: The #8-seed Hawkeyes will face #1-seed Michigan State at noon today. Iowa only played the Spartans once this season, falling 95-61 in a game at East Lansing on January 10.

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Big Ten Tournament Preview & Season Wrap-Up

Posted by Brian Goodman on March 8th, 2012

Bill Hupp is the RTC correspondent for the Big Ten Conference.

Conference Tournament Preview

After a thrilling regular season, it’s on to Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Despite being a three-seed, Ohio State has to be considered the favorite given how well they ended the regular season. If either Michigan State or OSU wins the Big Ten Tournament, they will get strong consideration for a one-seed. Teams like Wisconsin, Indiana and Purdue can all improve their NCAA Tournament seeds with strong showings this weekend.

Northwestern is the only clear bubble team in the conference, and as such is under the most pressure to string some wins together. If the Wilcats can beat Minnesota in the first round, they’ll face a Michigan team that they only lost to twice this season, though both losses came in overtime. Two wins in the Big Ten tournament should make them a virtual lock for their first-ever tournament birth, but it’s much easier said than done with this level of competition.

A Look Back

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Big Ten Writer Roundtable: A look at the Big Ten Tourney

Posted by Ryan Terpstra on March 7th, 2012

Big Ten contributors Joey Nowak (@joeynowak), Ryan Terpstra (@terphimself), and Deepak Jayanti (@10thyearseniors) put their heads together and discussed some key questions heading into the Big Ten Tournament.  Here are their thoughts:

1.) What school playing on Thursday has the best shot to win the Big Ten Tournament?

Joey:  I really think any team besides Nebraska and Penn State (though if Tim Frazier heats up, Penn State could have a repeat of last year) has a chance to do damage. Minnesota and Illinois both have talent and nothing to lose. Purdue is playing better, with the experienced Robbie Hummel at the helm, and has a bit of a chip on its shoulder. Iowa has a guy in Matt Gatens they can ride to a win or two. And Northwestern should come in as focused as any team in the tournament, given what’s at stake for the Wildcats.

But the team I would least like to play this weekend is Indiana. The Hoosiers have won four in a row (the last three against quality Big Ten opponents) and seven of their last eight. They should handle Penn State before taking a great shot at Wisconsin on Friday. They are better on defense than they were early in the Big Ten schedule, and can still score with the best of them, thanks to a solid inside-out game. But the intangible of playing in front of a friendly Indianapolis crowd could be a huge boost. It won’t give them the same advantage they’ve held at Assembly Hall this season, but if the last few years are any indication (when they were terrible), the Hoosier faithful will be out in full force. Don’t be surprised to see them playing Sunday.
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