B1G Hoops Recap: To Be Continued...

By Sarah on March 5, 2012 at 11:00a
Matta's halftime speech: "Every man at some point in his life is going to lose a battle. He is going to fight and he is going to lose. But what makes him a man is at the midst of that battle he does not lose himself. This game is not over, this battle is not over."Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can't Lose

Ladies and gentlemen, this is finally it. The last Big Ten Hoops Recap of the season is here, and this week wasn't without its share of drama, blood, sweat, tears, and celebration. So, let's say goodbye to a memorable year in B1G basketball...until Thursday, when the conference tournament begins.

Like the season finale of any given TV show, the final week of Big Ten action was a cumulation of the entire year's events. In the TV universe, this often includes weddings, births, deaths, the return of someone previously thought deceased, characters' fates up in the air, a villain taken down, secrets revealed, a mystery solved, and of course, the cliffhanger to ensure that you remain a loyal viewer.

And sometimes, the good guys will overcome their obstacles and band together to defeat their nemesis. Such was the case for the motley crew known as the 2011-12 Ohio State basketball team. For a squad that hadn't been particularly clutch, different players stepped up when it mattered most, and two heavily-scrutinized Buckeyes hit game-winning shots in tough environments this week, magical moments reminiscent of a Saracen-to-Riggins-to-Smash touchdown at State.

Finale week also tends to make strange bedfellows. In this case, "State" was a word recently relearned by the Michigan community, who did the unthinkable and cheered for an Ohio State victory yesterday. When it happened, it produced an Entourage-esque "everyone wins!" ending, giving Ohio State, Michigan State, and Michigan a three-way tie for the Big Ten title1.

Although Ohio State clearly deserves team of the week honors, my arbitrary rules dictate that I award it to another program. Because they watched the Buckeyes and Spartans battle it out on the court and then used the outcome for their own gain, a la Bill Rawls, Michigan receives this prestigious designation by default. The Wolverines also went on the road and defeated two opponents about as alive as Henry Blake to help them on their way to their first conference crown, shared or otherwise, since Glen Rice was a freshman. 

MICHIGAN (2-0) // Beat Illinois 72-61, Beat Penn State 71-65

Coming away with their first win in Champaign since 1995, Michigan overtook Illinois. Tim Hardaway Jr. was his Carrie Mathison-with-her-green-pen self, recording 25 points and 11 boards, both game highs. In addition, he nailed a couple of timely shots in the second half to help withstand an Illinois rally. Trey Burke chipped in with 21 points and 5 dimes. 

Before busting out their best "Go Bucks!" chants, Michigan held off Penn State. Despite hot shooting, including 70% in the first half and 56% overall from long range, the Wolverines let the Nittany Lions back in the game. They narrowed the lead down to four points and in the last minute and a half, Burke scored 6 of his 19 points and then figured out who murdered Lilly Kane. Evan Smotrycz rediscovered his stroke for 17 points. 

INDIANA (2-0) // Beat Michigan State 70-55, Beat Purdue 85-74

Luring another top five opponent to the Island of Assembly Hall, Indiana upset Michigan State. Five different Hoosiers were in double figures, including Cody Zeller with 18 points and Christian Watford with 10 points. The latter also hauled in 14 rebounds, a career best. While it looked like MSU might stage a comeback in the second half, Indiana quickly put a halt to that, informing them, "Only, the thing is, we're going to have to take the boy ball" to the tune of 13 Spartan turnovers.

Completing their "we have to go back!"2 to the 80s mission, Indiana dispatched Purdue. Watford paved the way with 19 points and Will Sheehey and Zeller added 16 and 13, respectively. The Hoosiers built a 15-point halftime lead and staved off a couple Boilermaker runs in the second half.   

WISCONSIN (2-0) // Beat Minnesota 52-45, Beat Illinois 70-56

Scoring just 16 points in the first half, Wisconsin came back to defeat Minnesota. Mike Bruesewitz tied it at 25-all in a potentially game-changing play that was initially ruled a charge, which would have been his fourth foul. Instead, the officials switched the call to a foul against Andre Hollins. Jordan Taylor led the way with 22 points even as the Badgers made a measly 30% from the floor. Both teams went to the charity stripe 29 times apiece in a contest as pretty as Gus Fring’s face, post-Tio.

In another beauty pageant of a match, Wisconsin downed Illinois. Although they finished 7/19 from downtown, they were on fire at the beginning, going 5/9 on three-pointers to start off the first half. Jordan Taylor and Josh Gasser each totaled 16 points as the Badger defense kept the Illini under 40% shooting, because Wisconsin's gotta Wisconsin. "All in the game, yo" (language warning).

NORTHWESTERN (1-1) // Lost to Ohio State 75-73, Beat Iowa 70-66

Perpetual bubble team Northwestern lost in the most Northwestern-way possible when Jared Sullinger, once again, netted the game-winner in Evanston.  It was about as painful to Wildcat fans as waking up in an alley and discovering that not only are you missing two years of your life, but that your boyfriend got married to, quite possibly, the worst character in TV history.

The Alias S2 finale was one of the most shocking cliffhangers, but ultimately, the show's downfall. Like Sydney Bristow and JR Ewing: still alive

Evoking J.R. after getting shot, Northwestern's NCAA Tournament hopes stayed alive when they squeezed past Iowa. Down by 15 early on, the Wildcats countered with a 17-0 run to take a 42-35 halftime lead. The Hawkeyes fought back, though, and NU couldn’t claim victory until Alex Marcotullio sank his two free throws with two seconds remaining. Receiving top billing for the game was Drew Crawford with 18 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 steals. 

PURDUE (1-1) // Beat Penn State 80-56, Lost to Indiana 85-74

On Senior Day in West Lafayette, Purdue drubbed Penn State. Fifteen-year senior Robbie Hummel posted 26 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists while fellow senior Lewis Jackson was good for 12 points on 6/6 shooting and 5 assists. In a send-off worthy of Li'l Sebastian, the two got the rout going after halftime. Overall, the Boilermakers made 57% of their field goal attempts and outrebounded Penn State 31-17. 

Sunday was another favorable Senior Day, albeit for the other team. Jackson (17 points) and Hummel (16 points) led five Boilermakers in double figures and sparked an 8-1 run with 11 minutes to go. But it wasn't enough against the treacherous waters of Assembly Hall as Hummel, sacrificing himself like Magnitude3, fouled out.

MINNESOTA (1-1) // Lost to Wisconsin 52-45, Beat Nebraska 81-69

Up 7 at the break, Minnesota squandered the lead in the early part of the second half. Tubby Smith, already irate with the refs and ready for the Summer of Tubby, drew a technical, and the Golden Gophers never regained the lead, thanks in part to their ghastly 24% shooting. Andre Hollins had 18 points and with 8 points of his own, Ralph Sampson III became the fifth player in school history to account for 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 150 blocks.

Halting a six-game losing skid, Minnesota handled Nebraska. Chip Armelin put up a career-best of 20 points and 7 boards while Rodney Williams (16 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 blocks) and Sampson (12 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks) impressed with their stat lines. Together, they formed a new team: Armelin, Williams, Sampson, Pryce.

IOWA (1-1) // Beat Nebraska 62-53, Lost to Northwestern 70-66

On the road, Iowa topped Nebraska. Star of the game Matt Gatens posted 16 points, 8 of which came over the course of 4 minutes. The senior, along with Roy Devyn Marble and Bryce Cartwright who contributed 11 points each, helped the Hawkeyes on their decisive 15-3 run in the second half, just as a member of the Beach Boys lent his voice to the Full House telethon so they could reach their fundraising goal.

Blowing a first-half lead against Northwestern, Iowa failed to make a field goal in the last seven minutes before the break. Although they turned the ball over 18 times, the Hawkeyes stormed back late in the game. With 4 seconds left and down by 2, Josh Oglesby missed an open 3-pointer and then said the wrong name at his wedding. Gatens was once again the top scorer for the Iowa with 17 points.

MICHIGAN STATE (0-2) // Lost to Indiana 70-55, Lost to Ohio State 72-70

Michigan State, ambushed like the final victim of the Trinity Killer, could not overcome Indiana's 41-27 halftime lead. Even though Draymond Green fought valiantly, outscoring the rest of his teammates combined with 29 points, the Spartans could not narrow the gap any closer than six in the second half. 

Big Ten Standings
Ohio State 13-5 25-6
Michigan State 13-5 24-7
Michigan 13-5 23-8
Wisconsin 12-6 23-8
Indiana 11-7 24-7
Purdue 10-8 20-11
Northwestern 8-10 18-12
Iowa 8-10 16-15
Minnesota 6-12 18-13
Illinois 6-12 17-14
Nebraska 4-14 12-17
Penn State 4-14 12-19

Unfavorable conditions in the early part of the game for Ohio State turned into William Buford conquering his demons by vanquishing Sparty's attempted Ascension.  

ILLINOIS (0-2) // Lost to Michigan 72-61, Lost to Wisconsin 70-56

After the break, Illinois went on a 12-5 run against Michigan to cut the deficit down to 1. But even with double-digit efforts from Meyers Leonard4 (18 points), Brandon Paul (15), and Tracy Abrams (12), the Illini did not threaten again, unlike Nina Myers to the Bauer family

The Illini finished their downward spiral with Wisconsin fans cleverly chanting "N-I-T!" at them. Paul, with 18 points, was the only one who mustered much offense for a team who managed just 18 points at the half. Meanwhile, Bruce Weber is hoping he can wake up in the alt-universe where Illinois did not lose 11 of their last 13 games and he can ride in a zeppelin.

PENN STATE (0-2) // Lost to Purdue 80-56, Lost to Michigan 71-65

In the Moldavian Massacre at Mackey Arena, Tim Frazier kept Penn State in the game in the first part. Despite his 24 points, 6 assists, and 5 rebounds performance, it wasn't enough to counter against Purdue's Senior Day festivities5

The Nittany Lions attempted a comeback versus Michigan, but they couldn't match the Wolverines' shooting. With Frazier in foul trouble early on, Jermaine Marshall stepped up with a career day of 27 points and 8 boards. Freshman Ross Travis put in a special guest appearance of 15 points and 6 rebounds before Patrick Chambers' first regular season at Penn State concluded about as satisfyingly as that of The Killing. 

NEBRASKA (0-2) // Lost to Iowa 62-53, Lost to Minnesota 81-69

In the second half, Nebraska narrowed the Iowa's lead to 34-32, but that's as close as they would get the rest of the way. Brandon Ubel scored a career-high 17 points on a perfect 7/7 from the field while his teammates watched Hallelujah montages

Falling for the eighth time in nine games, the Cornhuskers ended their inaugural Big Ten season with a whimper. Of his game-high 23 points, Bo Spencer scored all of them in the second half and hit 7/12 from distance. Dylan Talley tallied 16 points, and Doc Sadler probably walked to the locker room afterward to drink some of his special apple pie.

  • 1 And it took Ohio State's help to earn them that shared title, something even the Fab Five couldn't accomplish and then vacate. 
  • 2 I'd probably consider Lost S3's to be the best season finale I've ever seen, but not enough to get this tattoo.  
  • 3 Pop Pop!
  • 4 Before the game, he received a surprise visit from his brother who just completed a tour of duty in Afghanistan.
  • 5 In the Big Ten, home teams went 4-8 on their respective Senior Days.

Comments Show All Comments

Matt's picture

I also enjoy rediscovering my stroke  

\shows self out

buckeyeEddie27's picture

Hard to beleive the seasons almost over.  I read a comment earlier about how the Duke game seems like it was ages ago--so true.   Thanks Sarah (all 11W staff as well) for your hard work this season.  

...alright enough with the wishy-washy ----Let's go kick some B1G A$$E$!!!

I know there's a game Saturday, and my ass will be there.

Mike's picture

What a fun season!

My All B1G Team:

Green, Sullinger, Hummel, Shurna, Frazier

Mike's picture

Called it...#humblebrag

BrewstersMillions's picture

This OSU team is like a really intelligent college graduate who has no idea what he wants to be when he grows up. I have told myself that starting today, I officially "Nothing" this team. I don't hate them so if they win it won't register with me and I don't love them so if they lose I won't be crushed. I've heard it all year. "Most talent in the country but..." I think this team can be soft at times, but right when I think that, they toughen up for 14 minutes and put the screws to Sparty in their own building. I do worry about Jared. I think he's a lot softer than people want to admit. He always looks for a call and struggles with bigger bodies on both sides of the ball. Its a tired saying at this point but its so true. We go as Buford does. Yesterday was a perfect micro Microcosm of what our season was. We saw both sides of the OSU coin in last nights game but unfortunately that is not the kind of consistency that wins you anything. I think a sweet 16 birth is this team's ceiling.

highwire's picture

I agree with a lot of things you are saying, but I don't understand the "nothing" mentality. If I was watching OSU play Field Hockey (which I know nothing of) I would still be pissed for hours if we didn't come out on top. I'm definatley a football guy, but anytime we play in any sport I run the risk of becoming physically ill. I want our teams to be the best at everything, and if they're wearing scarlet and grey, you can bet I will cheer for them until I lose my voice.

Poison nuts's picture

Right on Highwire!

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Six teams already in NCAA tourney: MSU, Michigan, Ohio St, Wisc, Indiana, Purdue.

Two can play their ways into NCAA tourney without winning the BIG tourney: NW, Iowa. NW might get in simply by beating Minn on Thursday, but might also need to beat Michigan the next day? Iowa will need to win two games, IMO, first against ILL, then against MSU.

Minn, ILL, PSU, and Nebr must win B1G tourney to be in NCAA tourney.

RBuck's picture

IMO, PSU and Nebraska could win 2 B1G tournys and won't get to dance.

Long live the southend.

Rational MFAN's picture

I wanted to come on here and formally thank you guys for giving us a share of that Big Ten Crown lol that was the first time I ever cheered for you guys! I had no problem with it if it benefitted my team, unlike that douche Dantonio.

I find it very funny that sparty fans are saying we backed into it when in reality all 3 teams won 1 and lost 1 against each other. Also, I think they are fortunate they got a share after that colossal choke job by the Golden Gophers a few weeks ago.

Hopefully we will see you guys Saturday Night.

Lost nut in Michigan's picture

I must admit, I did not think they would win this game. Sully needs to grow a pair, Thomas growing into his shoes has me looking forward to another year of basketball.

Lost Nut in Michigan

btalbert25's picture

Drives me nuts when people call Sully out.  Dude just won conference player of the week.  He hit the game winner against Northwestern.  He averaged 18 and 14 in those 2 games?  What else do you want out of the guy.  30 and 20 per game?

btalbert25's picture

Not trying to go on the attack against you personally, just keep reading all this stuff about Sully and I have to think, where the hell would this team be without him?

William's picture

It's his attitude, not his production that is the problem.

BrewstersMillions's picture

As William said. My problem is with the way he reacts when he doesn't get the foul call he thinks he deserved. Watch him. He'll get the ball in the post, make a move into a double, lose the ball, and immediatley and instinctivley -almost Hansboroughesque- turns the the ref with a "WHAT THE HELL?" look on his face. To make matters worse he dogs it into transition. Sparty had numbers too many times for comfort because Sully dogged it up the floor. He's easily rattled and that becomes a problem down the road in the tourney. Now grant it, Sully's demeanor tends not to matter when Buford is shooting. If Willie keeps defenses from packing the lane, Sully can get to work but without the perimeter game, teams know who to stop. With double teams comes additional physical play. Sully needs to quit the Psycho T nonsense and man up. You're gonna get hit big fella. Play through it. Quit moping, and get your butt up the floor in transition.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Conspiracy theorist: "Just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean that they're not out to get me."

Sullinger: "Just because I'm bitching doesn't mean the refs are not royally screwing me every other time down the floor."

Logically speaking, both statements are valid and true. Whether they (or the refs) really are out to get them is another matter.

Lost nut in Michigan's picture

The guy is too soft.


Lost Nut in Michigan

LadyBuck's picture

Izzo coaches an extremely physical team, especially down low. If it were virtually any other team, I'd agree. However, the triple teams literally beating on him throughout the whole game with minimal calls has a way of wearing people down. He may not have played the best, but he remained composed throughout the whole game, and didn't do anything extremely stupid -like get a T for complaining to the ref. 

LadyBuck's picture

Did Wisconsin steal our chant? When we played Illinois, we were chanting "I-L-L N-I-T."

I'm sad that another Big Ten basketball season is over. All the drama is almost done with, and now all that remains is madness and spring football.

btalbert25's picture

My attitude may be pretty bad too if I was the only guy on the team who played with intensity and the only consistent scoring threat.  The guy gets the hell beat out of him by double and triple teams every time he touches the ball.  He kicks it out and likely the person he throws to won't make a wide open shot.  Last year Diebs and Bufford stepped up consistently.  Lighty was about as effective as Bufford has been this year, and that was pretty good considering you had 2 other legit scoring threats on the perimeter. 

This year everyone knows if you stop Sullinger you'll probably win.  They put 2 or 3 guys on him, beat the hell out of him all day long, and so yeah he does lobby for calls, because if he doesn't get them this team is in a lot of trouble.  If someone else would step up and keep these defenses honest, it wouldn't be such an Issue.

So for those who say he needs to grow a pair I say think about how you would handle his situation night in and night out.  The team has played the last couple of months with it's head in the clouds or up a certain cavity.  He's getting the crap beat out of him every night, putting up great numbers, and thanks he gets is a bunch of people calling him a baby, soft, telling him to grow up or grow a pair etc.  He's probably going to the NBA anyway, but jeeze people constantly knocking the one guy on this team who has  actually played consistently well this whole season is no way to convince him to come back.

Joe Beale's picture

Here is the link that should have been wrapped around the words "Henry Blake". Still one of the saddest scenes in television.