Despite a big down-year, the Big Ten still got 7 teams into the NCAA Tournament. Although several of those teams were on the bubble, none of them had to compete in the First Four in Dayton and instead went straight to the second round, or Round of 64.
The conference posted a 5-2 record in its games Thursday and Friday. Here are quick recaps of all seven games:
Purdue throws away victory with missed free throws, turnover
Purdue and Cincinnati went back and forth Thursday for 38 minutes, and then the Boilermakers found some breathing room. A 3-pointer from Dakota Mathias followed by free throws from Jon Octeus gave them a 56-49 lead with 48 seconds left.
Even after a 3-pointer by Cincinnati’s Kevin Johnson, Purdue was in the driver’s seat. However, Purdue freshman Vince Edwards threw the ball away against Cincinnati’s press, and Troy Caupain converted an and-one on 7-foot center A.J. Hammons, cutting the Boilermakers’ lead to 56-55.
Despite missing a one-and-one, Purdue remained ahead by one point with 7 seconds left. Octeus missed two free throws, and then Caupain converted a last-second layup to force overtime.
“It was wonderful,” Caupain said. “When I came off the screen, it was a wide-open lane, and I knew I had the opportunity to at least get it up on the rim. … Once it was rolling around the rim, I stopped, I bent down a little bit, I looked up, and once it fell in the rim and the buzzer went off, I just smiled.”
In the extra period, Purdue nearly made a 3-point comeback in the final seconds. Octeus brought the Boilermakers within 66-65 on a jumper with 9 seconds left, and this time it was Caupain’s turn to miss a crucial one-and-one.
Edwards had a clean look at a game-winning trey, but it missed.
“We had all the opportunities in the world,” coach Matt Painter said, “and that’s why it hurts as bad as it does because we knew we put ourself in position to win and we didn’t make the necessary plays. That hurts. …Their effort was unbelievable tonight, but our execution at times was not.”
Ohio State survives “Havoc” in overtime
Ohio State’s backcourt of freshman D’Angelo Russell and senior Shannon Scott faced a major test in their first game going against VCU’s pressure defense. They survived, although barely with a 75-72 overtime victory.
Russell had 4 turnovers but recorded 28 points on 10-of-20 shooting. Scott had 9 points and 10 assists while coughing up the ball just three times.
“Shannon made it easy for everybody,” coach Thad Matta said. “He was breaking the defense down. He had 10 assists. Probably would have had more if we would have finished the bunnies for him.”
Ohio State overcame a large first-half deficit but then blew a 64-60 lead in the final minutes as the game went to overtime.
In overtime, freshman Keita Bates-Diop drained a go-ahead 3-pointer, and then Russell made game-icing free throws with 4 seconds left.
The Buckeyes will face Arizona in their next game Saturday. The Wildcats are coached by Sean Miller, a good friend of Matta’s.
“I know this: he’s got one of the best teams in college basketball. There’s no question about that,” Matta said. “He’s done a tremendous job with these guys. I don’t like coaching against friends. But when you do this long enough, you have to do it. We’ve had a couple of phenomenal battles over the time.”
Indiana dominates perimeter but falls to Wichita State
Indiana shot the lights out, making 11-of-2 from beyond the arc. Wichita State shot just 2-of-13 from deep.
But the Shockers controlled the inside game and forced 13 Hoosiers turnovers to advance with an 81-76 win.
“Unfortunately for us the biggest difference was the points they were able to score inside of the paint,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said. “When we have been able to keep that under control this year, we have been better and when we haven’t, that’s what we have struggled.”
The Hoosiers held an 8-point lead in the first half but led just 39-36 at halftime. They clung to a 54-50 lead nearing the midpoint of the second period, but then the Shockers reeled off 9 unanswered points.
Indiana remained within one possession into the final 30 seconds but could not finish off a late comeback.
Michigan State holds off Georgia
Once again, Michigan State is clicking in March. For most of Friday’s game, the Spartans completely outplayed the Georgia Bulldogs.
However, a late run by Georgia fueled by some poor decisions and missed free throws from Michigan State made the end interesting. The Bulldogs, who had trailed by 12 points entering the final two minutes, cut the Spartans’ lead to 66-63 with 21 seconds left.
But Michigan State made all four of its free throws in the final seconds and Georgia missed its final two shot attempts, allowing the Spartans to advance with a 70-63 win.
“We made a couple of mistakes again,” coach Tom Izzo said. “But for the most part if you added up the minutes we played well, there would be a lot of them.”
Michigan State will face Virginia on Sunday in a rematch of last year’s Sweet 16 game, which the Spartans won. This time, the Spartans and Cavaliers will be vying for a spot in the East Region semifinals in Syracuse, New York.
“Well, I’ll just say just having a great coach as far as Coach Izzo and I would say our coaching staff, they do a great job of getting us prepared,” senior Branden Dawson said of the Spartans’ late-season surge. “We had an up and down season but I think our chemistry has been great, especially playing in the Big Ten tournament, I think that’s when our chemistry really started to flourish.”
Wisconsin cruises past Coastal Carolina
Although the final score was only 86-72, Wisconsin mostly cruised in its second round win against Coastal Carolina. The No. 1 seed Badgers took a 15-point lead into halftime and led by as many as 23 points in the second half.
Senior forward and National Player of the Year candidate Frank Kaminsky dominated with 27 points, 12 rebounds and 4 assists. Junior Sam Dekker added 20 points while sophomore Nigel Hayes recorded 15 points and 8 boards.
The Badgers will face No. 8 seed Oregon in the third round Sunday. This is another rematch from last year, as Wisconsin defeated Oregon in last year’s third round en route to the Final Four.
“That game last year was awesome, one of the best games I’ve ever been a part of,” Dekker said. “They’re going to come in with the same intensity, they’re going to play hard, try to hit us in the mouth right away. And they have the talent to do it.”
Aaron White dominates as Iowa blows out Davidson
Davidson’s 3-point reliant offense shot just 6-of-28 from beyond the arc, so it’s no surprise Iowa came out on top in this one. The Hawkeyes led by only 9 points just over five minutes into the second half, and then senior forward Aaron White dominated as his team built an insurmountable lead.
White scored 13 straight points for Iowa in a stretch that lasted slightly more than three minutes, and Iowa’s lead increased to 62-41. White finished with 26 points on 11-of-14 shooting.
“There’s a stretch there where I was just feeling confident, feeling good with my shot, with my hook shot and I was finishing around the basket,” White said after deflecting credit to his teammates and coaches.
Maryland advances as refs swallow whistle
Although Valparaiso did not lead except for a short stretch in the first half, it remained close with Maryland throughout. The Crusaders trailed 65-62 and had the fall for the final possession.
Keith Carter attempted what would have been a game-tying 3-pointer at the buzzer, but Maryland senior Varun Ram stripped Carter on his way up.
At least, that’s what the refs called. However, replays clearly showed Ram getting Carter’s arm and not the ball.
“You know, I think the game of basketball, there’s a lot of ups and downs, a lot of things that go on,” Valparaiso coach Bryce Drew said of the final no-call. “And our team’s whole focus all year has been worry about the things we can control and a lot of that’s our effort, our execution, our togetherness. And, you know, there were probably different things throughout the game that could have gone either way.”
The fortunate Terrapins advance to a third round game Sunday against West Virginia.
All quotes transcribed by ASAP Sports.