March Madness: Big Ten Matchups from Thursday Night
No. 15 Indiana: 75 Penn St: 58
Earlier today Indiana, who has had a surprisingly good season, blew by Penn St without a question. They took the Nittany Lions 75-58 in Indiana. Cody Zeller, 19 points and ten rebounds, and Jordan Hulls, 20 points, led the game.
The Hoosiers now sit at 25-7, if they can beat No. 14 Wisconsin in Friday’s quarterfinal, they will have one of the most wins since the team won 31 in 2003.
Iowa: 64 Illinois: 61
Had you asked anyone six months ago if Illinois would be sitting out of reach of the tournament in the first week of March, they would have thought you were nuts.
But that is just the way they have played this year and there was no change tonight when playing Iowa.
Though the Illini were able to out-score the Hawkeyes in the first half, Iowa came back to fight in the second.
Meyers Leonard led the Fighting Illini with 18 points and six rebounds. And it’s sad to say but the only question everyone has on their mind is the fate of head coach Bruce Weber. Illinois’ guard Brandon Paul, who is one of the ONLY reasons that the Illini didn’t sink any sooner, feels like he let Weber, the team and the fans down. Though there was one play in which he threw the ball directly into the arms of Hawkeye Roy Devyn Marble.
It just wasn’t in the cards this year for Illini, and in looking at transitions and the ability to adjust tonight, it just looked like Iowa wanted it more.
Minnesota: 75 Northwestern: 68
Northwestern is another team coming out of the Big Ten that has tried their hardest to become a Cinderella team. And they almost pulled it off.
High scorers for Minnesota were Andre Hollins with a career-high 25 and Austin Hollins with 12. The Wildcats’ JerShon Cobb had a career-high 24 points and John Shurna added 21 to that.
Unfortunately Minnesota was able to rally back from being down 61-57 to force an overtime game. Only due to the help of Dave Sobolewski. He rushed a buzzer beater for the Wildcats at the end of regulation to send it into overtime.
But with just over a minute left in overtime Minnesota couldn’t be stopped. A layup from Andre Hollins, a dunk from Rodney Williams and two free throws from Chip Armelin sealed the deal for the Gophers.
Purdue: 79 Nebraska: 61
While the beginning of the first half looked to be a close game, Purdue quickly showed Nebraska how bad they wanted to advance this March.
Toggling between an average of a four point lead, about mid-way through the first half the Boilermakers just took every opportunity they could get to advance the lead. By the end of the first half, they led by eight, 39-31.
The second half was even uglier for Nebraska, Purdue just dominated. Bo Spencer, Nebraska’s senior guard had 22 points, three rebounds and two assists. Ironically The Boilermakers top scorer was Anthony Johnson with 17 points, six rebounds and four assists.
Purdue took the game 79-61 and will face Ohio State tomorrow night.