The Big Ten semifinals are set, with three of the conference’s expected NCAA tournament entrants and a fourth who is trying to elbow its way into the picture. Here’s the updated bracket and a look at the results so far:
Game 11: No. 5 seed Michigan 75, No. 1 seed Michigan State 64
When: Saturday, 2 p.m., CBS
Skinny: The Wolverines earned a shot to defend their conference tournament title by snapping their in-state rival’s 13-game winning streak. (They were also the last team to beat Michigan State, 82-72 on Jan. 13.) Mo Wagner scored 14 of his 15 points in Saturday’s second half, when the Wolverines outscored the Spartans, 49-35. The Spartans (29-4), who were led by star Miles Bridges’s 17 points but never seemed to fire on all cylinders in two games in New York, will wait to see how high they’ll be seeded in the NCAA tournament.
Game 12: No. 3 seed Purdue (27-5) vs. No. 7 seed Penn State (22-12)
When: Saturday, 4:30 p.m., CBS
Skinny: The Nittany Lions beat Ohio State for the third time this season to reach the Big Ten semifinals for the first time. Sophomore guard Tony Carr, the Big Ten’s leading scorer during the regular season, is grabbing the spotlight this week in New York with consecutive 25-point games. The Lions pushed Purdue till the end of a 76-73 loss on the road on Feb. 18. The Boilermakers had to weather an inspired effort from last-place Rutgers in the quarterfinals but eventually wore them down in a seven-point win.
Game 13: Michigan (27-7) vs. Game 12 winner
When: Sunday, 4:30 p.m., CBS
RECAPPING EARLIER ROUNDS
Game 7: No. 1 Michigan State 63, No. 9 Wisconsin 60
Skinny: The Spartans (29-3) earned their third win in as many tries this season against the Badgers (15-18), but they got closer each time. Wisconsin had a chance to tie the game in the waning seconds after Miles Bridges (20 points, nine rebounds) missed a one-and-one free throw but Brad Davison’s long, contested three-pointer from beyond the top of the key never hit the rim. Wisconsin also hurt its chances with its free throws, attempting only six and missing four of them.
Game 8: No. 5 Michigan 77, No. 4 Nebraska 58
Skinny: The Wolverines (26-7), led by 41 total points from Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman and Mo Wagner, were in control nearly the whole way against a team that crushed them in their previous meeting. Thursday’s loss is a big blow to the Cornhuskers (22-10), one of the more hotly debated NCAA tournament bubble teams entering the week. In a typical Big Ten season their 13 conference wins would make them a lock for the 68-team field, but their regular season win over the Wolverines was their only one in five games against the RPI top 50.
Game 9: No. 7 Penn State 69, No. 2 Ohio State 68
Skinny: The Nittany Lions tripled down on the Buckeyes, beating them for the third time this season to advance to Saturday’s semifinals. As was the case in Thursday night’s win over Northwestern, guard Tony Carr guided Penn State, scoring 25 points to go with six rebounds and five assists. But Carr’s biggest and best play came with 3.1 seconds left when he found junior Josh Reaves for a go-ahead throwdown.
Game 10: No. 3 Purdue 82, No. 14 Rutgers 75
Skinny: Time ran out on the Cinderella Scarlet Knights Friday night. The Boilermakers were too much for the upstarts from New Jersey, and are moving on to face another underdog, Penn State, in one of Saturday’s two semifinals. Carsen and Vincent Edwards scored 26 points apiece for Purdue, which was able to withstand another game effort by the Scarlet Knights, who were led freshman guard Geo Baker’s 25 points. Purdue beat the Nittany Lions, 76-73, at home two weeks ago.
Game 3: No. 9 Wisconsin 59, No. 8 Maryland 54
Skinny: Kevin Huerter scored Maryland’s final seven points to finish with a game-high 20, but he made only 1 of 2 free throws with the Terps trailing by two and less than 10 seconds left. A turnover by Dion Wiley on their following possession sealed a bitter end and extinguished faint NCAA tournament hopes for the Terps (19-13). Wisconsin improved to 15-17 overall and advanced to play top-seeded Michigan State on Friday.
Game 4: No. 5 Michigan 77, No. 12 Iowa 71 (OT)
Skinny: It took four games and an overtime, but finally an above-.500 team managed to advance. The Wolverines, the defending conference tournament champions and one of the best stories of last March, survived poor shooting from deep (3 of 19 on three-pointers) and from the free throw line (18 of 32) to improve to 25-7. Charles Matthews led all players in the choppy, foul-riddled game with 16 points.
Game 5: No. 7 Penn State 65, No. 10 Northwestern 57
When: Thursday, 6:30 p.m., Big Ten Network
Skinny: A tight game became unwound in the late stages, when the Nittany Lions staged a 15-5 run over the final 4:56 to knock out last year’s darlings, the Wildcats. Sophomore guard Tony Carr lit up the box score, scoring 25 points, hitting on 6 of 10 three-point attempts, grabbing six rebounds and dishing four assists in helping Penn State to advance. Its reward is a date with No. 2 seed Ohio State Friday evening. The Nittany Lions won both of their meetings with the Buckeyes during the regular season, including a 79-56 blowout in State College, Pa., two weeks ago. Carr totaled 58 points in those two games.
Game 6: No. 14 Rutgers 76, No. 6 Indiana 69
Skinny: An upset to close out the day. The Scarlet Knights, just 3-15 in conference play headed into the postseason, got 28 points from junior guard Corey Sanders, and held off the Hoosiers down the stretch to earn their second win in as many days. Rutgers may be out of magic, with a game against No. 3 seed Purdue up next. But that doesn’t change the fact this is the first time the Scarlet Knights have won two games in a conference tournament since they were in the Big East back in 1998.
Game 1: No. 12 Iowa 96, No. 13 Illinois 87
Skinny: The Hawkeyes won their first conference tournament game in five years on an impressive outing by guard Jordan Bohannon, who scored 25 points and had six assists. Tyler Cook added 19 points and five rebounds, while Luke Garza finished with 20 points and eight rebounds for Iowa. The Illini, under first-year head coach Brad Underwood, will miss the NCAA tournament for a fifth straight year with the loss.
Game 2: No. 14 Rutgers 65, No. 11 Minnesota 54
Skinny: Guard Corey Sanders scored 23 points to lift the last-place Scarlet Knights, the hosts for this year’s Big Ten tournament, to a victory over the Gophers. “That 14 doesn’t represent the team that we are,” Sanders said postgame. Minnesota finishes a disappointing 15-17 after beginning the season ranked No. 15 in the country.