The 2011 Big Ten Tournament continues later today with four teams in the Semifinals. #1 Ohio St. looks to defend it's 2010 Tournament Championship and lock up the overall #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Below are the match-ups and tip-off times for Saturday's games:
Ohio State found a way to survive and advance in the Big Ten quarterfinals against Northwestern. The Buckeyes, who beat the Wildcats by one point during the season needed overtime this time, finally taking control and winning 67-61.
Now the Buckeyes face arch-rival Michigan in the semifinals. We all remember Evan Turner beating the Wolverines at the buzzer of last year's tournament en route to the Buckeyes winning the Tournament Championship. Michigan needed a big comeback to get past Illinois.
Down 51-39, Michigan responded with 12 straight points to pull even on Morris' jumper with about 3 1/2 minutes remaining.
Hardaway nailed a three-pointer to put the Wolverines up 56-53 with 1:44 to play, then converted two free throws to make it 58-55 with 48 seconds left.
Michigan had an opportunity to pad its lead at the foul line, but Evan Smotrycz missed the front end of a one-and-one. Illinois' Brandon Paul couldn't get his layup to fall, and Zack Novak sealed the win with two free throws.
Ohio State won both meetings with the Wolverines this season, winning in Ann Arbor 68-64 on January 12, then completing the sweep in Columbus 62-53 on February 3.
Did anyone see this semifinal match-up coming? Tom Izzo's squad has made a habit of playing a tough regular season schedule so that his team is ready come tournament time. I don't think Izzo wanted his team to struggle as much as they have, but in the end the Spartans are back to where they usually are - in the Big Ten semi's and likely off the tournament bubble.
The Spartans made easy work of the #2-seed Purdue Boilermakers yesterday 74-56.
Penn State, on the other hand, played one of the worst basketball games I have ever seen in upsetting #3 seed Wisconsin 36-33. The teams combined to shoot 31% from the field while attempting just 11 free throws all day.
Ironically, the lowest-scoring game in Big Ten Tournament history also saw Battle break the Penn State scoring record. He has 2,141 to pass Jesse Arnelle's mark of 2,138.
The two teams split their meetings this year, each winning on their home floor.