Indianapolis plays host to the 2014 Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament, featuring eleven games over four days, starting Thursday March 13th. The Big Ten has seen strong play from its perennial programs, national rankings come and go, surprising wins and losses, and all teams now in the hunt for the conference trophy.
Game 1: #8 Indiana vs #9 Illinois
The Illinois Fighting Illini faced off against the Indiana Hoosiers for the first game in a flurry of Big Ten Tournament madness. Both teams entered the tourney at 7-11 in the conference, splitting the regular season matchup 1-1.
IU started flat, as Illinois opened with a 9-0 run. Hoosiers Will Sheehey and Yogi Ferrell combined for a trio of threes to bring IU back on track.
IU finished the half hot from behind the arc with 6-10. Illinois enjoyed an advantage in the paint of 16-2, leading the Hoosiers into halftime 30-28.
As hot as they were, IU went just as cold in the second half on 0-10 three-point field goals. Starters Ferrell, Sheehey, and Troy Williams finished in double figures with 14, 13, and 11 each.
The Illini's Tracy Abrams lead all scorers with 25 points and 7 rebounds, making key free throws down the stretch to keep Illinois ahead.
Illinois defeats IU 64-54 and faces #1 seeded Michigan on Friday.
Game 2: #5 Ohio State vs #12 Purdue
The second matchup featured the Ohio State Buckeyes against the Purdue Boilermakers. OSU entered the contest sweeping the regular season series 2-0 with convincing wins.
The Boilers and head coach Matt Painter had a lot to prove after a disappointing season... and the black-n-gold delivered an exciting one.
The first half featured balanced offensive scoring by both teams. Ohio State was only able to turn a 15 rebound advantage (27-12) into a three-point lead at the break, 30-27.
In the second half, both teams continued battled back and forth, resulting in 15 game lead changes and 10 ties. The Boilermakers keep this one tight and had a chance late, as Terone Johnson missed a three at the buzzer.
LaQuinton Ross finished with a game-high 19 points and 15 rebounds, as Ohio State advances past Purdue, 63-61. OSU will next face #4 seeded Nebraska.
Game 3: #7 Minnesota vs #10 Penn State
Minnesota welcomed Penn State for the third conference game of the day. The Gophers had swept the regular season matchup, and entered Thursday fresh off of a 81-63 win over Penn State just four days prior.
Minnesota lead start-to-finish, but the Nittany Lions battled to keep it close, outscoring Minnesota in the pain (26-24), and second-chance points (13-4) on 15 offensive rebounds.
D.J. Newbill lead Penn State qith 16 points and 7 boards, as teammate Tim Frazier added 11 points. The Golden Gophers got 18 points from Austin Hollins, leading all scorers.
Minnesota did enough to pull out the win, 63-56. They play the second seed Wisconsin on Friday.
Game 4: #6 Iowa vs #11 Northwestern
The first day of conference play wrapped up with yet another contested game, as the Iowa Hawkeyes matched up against the Northwestern Wildcats.
Iowa owned the season pairing, with a pair of 20+ point wins over Northwestern. As has been common this year in Big Ten play, this game was just as unpredictable.
The Wildcats only dressed seven players, but kept pace with Iowa's eleven-men squad. Guard Tre Demps scored 20 points, as teammates Drew Crawford and Dave Sobolewski added 15 and 10 respectively.
Iowa led in most every statistical catagory and got 25 point from Roy Devyn Marble. However, as their second half shooting cooled to 32%, the Wildcats stayed hot with 6 three-pointers in the second half (11 total) and shot 52% from the field.
Northwestern upsets Iowa, 67-62. They face #3 seeded Michigan State in Friday's late game.