2012 Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament
Big Ten Conference Tournament – Semifinals Recap
(1) Michigan State 65 (4) Wisconsin 52
In the Big Ten first semifinal of the day, momentum swung wildly halfway through the first half. The team that started the game like a house on fire became the team that got smoked.
A game that began with the Wisconsin Badgers controlling the action soon became a lopsided affair that cut in favor of the Michigan State Spartans. Michigan State stumbled in the opening minutes but then totally controlled the contest thereafter, finishing with a comfortable 13-point win.
At first it looked like the Badgers were going to walk all over the Spartans when they started the match up on a nine to nothing run. It took the Spartans more than five minutes to score their first points and it was Michigan State's Derrick Nix who finally got his team on the scoreboard, posting the Spartans’ first seven points. Then with Wisconsin still up by eleven points the Spartans finally showed who they really are – the co-Big Ten champions for 2012 – and went on a 13-0 run that was sparked by Austin Thornton's three three-point shots to take the lead and control of the game for good.
The rest of this game would have been predictable except that the Badgers made one final push, refusing to go quietly into the night. Midway through the second half Wisconsin almost pulled its act back together and used a 13-0 run of its own to get within six points after being down by 19, but that's as close as they came. The Spartans regained the momentum, quickly pushing the lead back to 14 points and cruising to the end from there. Draymond Green starred for Michigan State, scoring 14 points while pulling down 16 rebounds and handing out five assists. He also blocked three shots. Jordan Taylor and Ryan Evans combined to score 37 points for Wisconsin, but the rest of the Badgers’ roster scored a grand total of just 15 points.
(3) Ohio State 77, (2) Michigan 55
In the second semifinal of the Big Ten Conference Tournament, a focused basketball team showed just how good it can be when it maxes out and plays at its best. After Michigan State whacked Wisconsin, an even bigger blowout unfolded as the Ohio State Buckeyes destroyed the Michigan Wolverines by 22 points in a game that wasn’t even that close.
As the contest began it was pretty easy to see that the Wolverines were out of sorts and the Buckeyes were firing on all cylinders. Michigan's Trey Burke, after having a 30-point game the day before, had only five points in this matchup and the rest of his team followed suit with nobody reaching their regular season averages on Saturday afternoon in Indianapolis. As the clock progressed toward halftime it seemed that Michigan could not get its head into the game. Meanwhile, Ohio State was just having its way all over the floor both in the paint and on the perimeter. OSU big man Jared Sullinger enjoyed a very strong day in particular, finishing with 24 points and six rebounds, both game and team highs.
The conference final looks to be a classic kind of matchup that most have come to expect from the Big Ten, and both the Buckeyes and the Michigan State Spartans will probably go far in the NCAA Tournament. Ohio State is peaking just at the right time and dominating its opponents. Michigan State is playing at as high a level, something that coach Tom Izzo is regularly able to do at this time of year.
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