2012 Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament
Big Ten Conference Tournament – First Round Recap
(8) Iowa 64, (9) Illinois 61
In the opening game of the Big Ten tournament you got to see what you would expect, a fistfight of a game that ended with Iowa Hawkeyes beating Illinois Fighting Illini by three points. Iowa was lead by the great play of Matt Gatens who finished with 20 points and Aaron White's hustle, which lead to 13 points and nine rebounds. As this game was winding down it was a fight to the finish with both sides playing smart and getting baskets to fall. Illinois just missed one too many at the finish, while White made an all important offensive rebound off a missed free throw to make the Fighting Illini foul them to prolong the game; Iowa made enough foul shots to foil that strategy.
(5) Indiana 75 (12) Penn State 58
The second game of the day was a little bit more predictable as the Indiana Hoosiers took down the Penn State Nittany Lions by 17 points.The first half of the matchup looked even at a quick glance, but only because of the incredible play of Penn State's Tim Frazier who had 19 points in the first half despite the Hoosiers’ good defense against him. One man cannot do it all though, and in the second half Indiana's greater team play, which always starts on the defensive end and gets turned in to offense, really worked in its favor. The Hoosiers had three players that scored in double digits lead by Jordan Hulls, who had 20 points for the day and was followed closely by Cody Zeller who finished with 19 points himself. If you add Victor Oladipo's unbelievable one on one defense against Frazier in the second half there just seemed to be no way for Penn State to win this one. The game was marred by an injury to Indiana senior Verdell Jones, who was carried off the court in the second half. Jones will almost certainly be unable to play for the rest of this season.
(10) Minnesota 75 (7) Northwestern 68 (OT)
In the night time part of the first day of the tournament the Minnesota Golden Gophers defeated the Northwestern Wildcats in an ugly showing that might spell the end of the Wildcats’ chances to make the big dance yet again. This game was supposed to be the make it or break it one for Northwestern and a chance to finally make it to the NCAA Tournament, but it looked more like the Gophers were the ones with the hope of making it in. Throughout most of the game both teams went on short scoring runs against each other’s poor defense, keeping the matchup close the whole way, so much so that even though the Wildcats were the last to go cold at the end of regulation they were still far enough ahead that Minnesota could only tie it up and missed a last second shot to win, which in turn set up Northwestern to do the same, and the Cats also missed. In the overtime period the Wildcats continued their poor shooting and the Golden Gophers couldn't miss. That spelled the end for the Northwestern's hopes of moving on in the Big Ten tournament and probably for the NCAA one as well.
(6) Purdue 79 (11) Nebraska 61
In the final game of the day the Nebraska Cornhuskers were very easily defeated by the Purdue Boilermakers. This was Nebraska's first time in the Big Ten Tournament and though their program has a long way to go to shape themselves up to the conference’s standards they did pretty well on a relative scale. Purdue is looking like a team that could win this tournament and win a few games in the NCAAs. They had five players that scored in double digits including Anthony Johnson who lead the team coming off the bench with 17 points. Their defense stepped up to attain a stronger level than it had acquired until the end of the season (when Purdue won five out of seven to finish the year). The last ten minutes were controlled by the Boilermakers all the way to the finish line.
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