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Penn State played the scrappy, deliberate brand of basketball that helped it advance to the Big Ten Tournament championship game against Ohio State, but in the end, the Buckeyes were just too much for a Nittany Lion team that had played four games in four days and won the conference crown with a 71-60 victory.
William Buford finished off what was a strong season against Penn State, leading the Buckeyes with 18 points and three rebounds. Jared Sullinger posted his third double-double of the tournament, finishing with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Jon Diebler added 15 points as well on 5-8 shooting and 3-5 from 3-point territory.
Talor Battle led Penn State with 24 points and five rebounds. Jeff Brooks had 19 points and a team-high six rebounds.
The Lions hung with the Buckeyes for much of first half before surrendering a 3-pointer to Diebler at the buzzer, allowing Ohio State to take a 29-23 lead into the locker room. After the half, Ohio State took over and maintained a double-digit lead straight down to the final buzzer.
The state sheet reflected the top-ranked Buckeyes' might. Ohio State outshot Penn State 51%-39% and won the rebounding margin 27-25. It also won the bench scoring stat 9-4.
It was clear Penn State didn't quite have the magic it had earlier in the weekend from the tip. The Lions tried to slow the Buckeyes down, but whenever Ohio State got the game going up and down, it was really no contest.
Penn State now awaits its NCAA Tournament fate. Most projections have the Lions inside the field of 68, however, the selection committee could always throw a curveball.
Penn State wasn't given much of a chance to beat No. 1 Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship game today, but at halftime, the Nittany Lions are right in the game, down six at 29-23.
As usual, Talor Battle is pacing the Penn State offense with 10 points on 3-8 shooting including 2-5 from beyond the 3-point line. He also has a team-high four rebounds. Jeff Brooks has seven points in the early going, but has only one rebound. He's the Nittany Lions leading rebounder on the season, so he'll have to pick it up.
Jon Diebler, a Penn State killer, has dominated the game for the Buckeyes once again. He leads Ohio State with 10 points, the last three of which came on a dagger of 3-point shot at the first half buzzer to push the Ohio State lead from three to six heading into the break. William Buford has six points for the Buckeyes and freshman star Jared Sullinger has six points to go with a game-high six rebounds.
The game is being played very much at Penn State's pace. The Lions have managed to slow things down and limit the possessions. The Buckeyes are just making more shots as you'd expect the No. 1 team in the land to do. We'll see if it holds up in the second half.
It's been 10 years since Penn State played in the NCAA Tournament, but with its 61-48 victory against Michigan State on Saturday afternoon in the Big Ten Tournament, the Nittany Lions might finally have reason to dust off their dancing shoes.
Following a 36-33 upset of Wisconsin in the tournament quarterfinals, many prognosticators, including ESPN.com's Joe Lunardi, had Penn State in the field of 68...but barely. Now, with a run to the championship, it looks like head coach Ed DeChellis and Co. are safely on the right side of the bubble for now.
Talor Battle, as he almost always does, led Penn State in scoring with 25 points on the afternoon. He was joined double figures, however, by an unlikely hero. Point guard Tim Frazier, a five point per game scorer during the regular season, went off for 22 points in his best game of the season. Jeff Brooks had eight points, David Jackson contributed four and Jermaine Marshall added two to round out Penn State's scoring.
Penn State trailed by as many as 10 in the first half, but a late run helped the Lions tie the Spartans at 26 heading into the break. After halftime, Battle came out on fire, drilling four 3-pointers in a roughly three-minute span to stake his team to a double digit lead. Sparty never recovered and Penn State held on for the crucial win.
The Lions dominated the stat sheet, outshooting the Spartans 42%-32% and outrebounding them 36-28. They also committed only six turnovers, allowing them to dominate the pace of the game and slow the pace to a point where the could hold on.
Now, Penn State has a chance to take its NCAA Tournament fate out of the selection committee's hands with a win against No. 1 Ohio State in the Big Ten Tournament championship game.
The next 20 minutes might be the season for Penn State as the Nittany Lions head to the locker room in their Big Ten Tournament semifinal game against Michigan State tied at 26 with the Spartans.
Michigan State opened the game hot and led by as many as 10 points midway through the half. The Lions, led by Tim Frazier, rallied for a big run to close the half, taking a three-point lead for a moment before conceding a Michigan State triple to tie the game entering the break.
Frazier has a game-high 11 points to go with three rebounds and two assists. Talor Battle is next in line for the Lions with eight points on 3-8 shooting. Jeff Brooks is also on the board with five points. Starters Andrew Jones and David Jackson, benched early in the half with foul trouble, have yet to tally.
Durrell Summers is leading the attack for Michigan State with eight points thus far. Draymond Green has six, but was forced the the bench with foul trouble as well, and star Spartan Kalin Lucas has been limited to three points so far after going off for 30 against Purdue Saturday night.
Ohio State led Michigan by as many as 18 points late in the second half of the first Big Ten Tournament semifinal game of the day, but the Buckeyes managed to hold off the red hot Wolverines in the final seconds to advance to the championship game on Sunday afternoon.
Jon Diebler and William Buford paced the Ohio State attack with 16 points each and freshman Jared Sullinger posted yet another double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds. The Buckeyes outshot the Wolverines 46%-37% and posted a 34-27 advantage in the rebounding column.
The pesky Wolverines wouldn't go away, though. Darius Morris led the way for Michigan with 16 points and freshman had 15 points. The Wolverines nailed nine 3-pointers to stay in the game down to the end.
Ohio State now advances to the tournament championship game and awaits the winner of Michigan State-Penn State. In all likelihood, the Buckeyes will be heading to Neward, New Jersey next week as the NCAA Tournament's No. 1 overall seed. Michigan is expected to earn an at-large bid, though there might be a few anxious moments on Selection Sunday with the loss.
The Penn State Nittany Lions continue their quest to win the Big Ten Tournament, which continues to the semifinals on Saturday.
The first game will be between Ohio State and Michigan, at 1:40 on CBS. Ohio State only has two losses all year and beat the Wolverines twice during the season.
The second game will feature Penn State and Michigan State, 25 minutes after the Ohio State game, and also on CBS. The two teams split a pair of regular-season meetings.
After these two games, we’ll have a clearer picture as to which teams will represent the Big Ten in the NCAA Tournament. Ohio State is in, obviously, and Michigan and Michigan State are quite possibly in as well. Most folks’ brackets currently have Penn State on the outside looking in, but the Nittany Lions just knocked off a ranked Wisconsin team, and if they can make their way to the finals of the Big Ten Tournament (even if they eventually lose), they’ll have to be taken more seriously. Obviously, if they win the conference tournament outright, there's nothing to talk about.
If this were the BCS, Penn State would have earned few style points with its 36-33 upset of No. 13 Wisconsin Friday night in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals, but as it is, its good enough to keep the Nittany Lions' NCAA Tournament hopes alive for another day.
Talor Battle shook of one of his worst performances of the season to score some key buckets down the stretch and led Penn State with nine points on the evening. Tim Frazier had eight points, David Jackson had seven points and Jeff Brooks and Andrew Jones finished with six each. No other Lions scored in the game.
Penn State jumped out to an 18-2 lead early on, but Wisconsin clawed back into the game as the Lions went over 12 minutes without a field goal. The Badgers tied the game at several points in the second half but never took the lead. It was the lowest scoring game in the history of the Big Ten Tournament.
The Lions' NCAA Tournament hopes were certainly given a shot in the arm with the victory, however, given the way other bubble teams are playing across the country, you could argue Penn State still has work to do to earn an at-large bid.
Next up for Battle and Co. is Michigan State on Saturday at 4:30 P.M. on CBS. It will be the Lions' first game on the network since the 2001 NCAA Tournament.
The first half of Penn State and Wisconsin's matchup in the last Big Ten Tournament quarterfinal of the day was a story of who struggled when.
Early on, it was Wisconsin as the Nittany Lions staked themselves to an 18-2 lead to open the game. Penn State finished the half without scoring a field goal in over 11 minutes, however, and the Badgers cut the Penn State lead to 20-16 by halftime.
It was a tough half for Penn State's top two scorers, Talor Battle and Jeff Brooks. Battle scored only three points at the very beginning of the game and Brooks was held scoreless. Both struggled last night against Indiana, however, combining for only 10 points before coming back to finish as the team's top two scorers.
David Jackson paced the Penn State offense in the first half with seven points on 3-4 shooting. Tim Frazier added six points and four rebounds while Andrew Jones contributed four points and three rebounds. The Lions outshot the Badgers 34%-28%.
With Michigan and Michigan State winning earlier in the day, this is do or die for Penn State. We'll see if the Lions can hang on.
While Michigan and Michigan State entered the Big Ten Tournament on the right side of the NCAA Tournament according to most projections, neither was considered a lock for an at-large bid as play began in Indianapolis on Friday. Both earned crucial victories in the quarterfinals, though, Michigan a 60-55 win against Illinois and Michigan State a 74-56 beatdown of Purdue to keep their postseason hopes alive.
The Wolverines trailed the Fighting Illini for much of the second half. A Tim Hardaway Jr. 3-pointer with under two minutes to play, however, gave Michigan a lead it wouldn't relinquish. Hardaway finished with 16 points on the afternoon. Darius Morris had a team-high 17 points for Michigan to go with seven assists and Zack Novak had 14 points.
The Spartans were led by a performance for the ages from guard Kalin Lucas. The senior racked up 30 points against the Boilermakers and controlled the game from the opening tip. The Spartans also got double figure scoring from Keith Appling off the bench. he finished with 10 points.
Michigan will face Ohio State in the semifinals on Saturday. Michigan State will await the winner of Penn State and Wisconsin.
Mighty Ohio State wasn't supposed to get a scare so early in the postseason but Northwestern had Buckeye fans across the country sitting on their hands Friday afternoon as the Wildcats forced overtime in the first of four Big Ten Tournament quarterfinal matchups on the day.
Northwestern helped its upset bid by limiting No. 1 Ohio State to 32% shooting from the field an 20% from beyond the 3-point line. Star forward John Shurna rebounded from a quiet game against Minnesota on Thursday to finish with 23 points and five rebounds. Michael Thompson and Drew Crawford finished in double figures as well with 15 and 12 points respective.
The Buckeyes dominated the boards, however, crushing the Wildcats 41-24 overall and 17-5 on the offensive glass, allowing them to get off eight more shots in the game than their opponents. Star freshman Jared Sullinger posted another double-double with 20 points and 18 rebounds. Fellow freshman Aaron Craft finished with 17 points and senior Jon Diebler had 13.
Ohio State advances to take on the winner of Michigan vs. Illinois in the semifinals. Northwestern is likely heading to the NIT with the defeat.
Here’s the slate of Big Ten Tournament games for today. No. 1 Ohio State already played, and needed overtime to knock off No. 8 Northwestern, 67-61. No. 4 Michigan and No. 5 Illinois should be getting started shortly on ESPN, with the winner battling for the right to face OSU tomorrow. Illinois won its lone matchup with Michigan this year 54-52 on February 16.
No. 2 Purdue will take on No. 7 Michigan State at 6:30 tonight on the Big Ten Network. Purdue is a big favorite – they beat Michigan State twice during the season, and have generally had a fairly easy run through the Big Ten, losing only to Minnesota (before Minnesota’s complete collapse), Ohio State, Wisconsin and Iowa en route to a 14-4 conference record.
Finally, No. 3 Wisconsin will take on No. 6 Penn State 25 minutes after the Purdue game is over, also on the Big Ten Network. This game could be critical for the Nittany Lions’ NCAA Tournament hopes, and it will be a tough one, but Penn State did beat Wisconsin just a couple weeks ago.
Penn State's NCAA Tournament hopes will live for at least another 24 hours as the Nittany Lions knocked off pesky Indiana 66-55 Thursday evening in their first round game at the Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis.
Jeff Brooks shook off a slow first half to lead Penn State in scoring with 15 points. He also tied for a team high with seven rebounds. Talor Battle never seemed to quite get in his groove, though he managed to finish with 13 points and Andrew Jones had a nice evening with 12 points on 5-for-8 shooting to go along with seven rebounds.
Penn State found itself behind at points in the first half but managed to rally to take a one point lead at halftime. At that point, Brooks and Battle had only five points each. Both played better in the second half to gut out a win, though, and so did Penn State on its way to a relatively comfortable win after some tense early moments.
Now, Penn State faces a quick turnaround as it will take on third-seeded Wisconsin at roughly 9 P.M. Friday evening for a spot in the tournament semifinals. The Lions defeated the Badgers at the end of January in State College, but the Badgers were dominant in a 76-66 win at the Kohl Center Feb. 20.
How the Lions perform in that game may very well determine their postseason destiny. A win likely puts them right in the discussion for an NCAA Tournament at-large berth. A loss means they'll be sitting on their hands on Selection Sunday, at best, and more likely, they'll be headed to the NIT.
Penn State must win its game against Indiana tonight to have a shot at an NCAA Tournament at-large berth, but you wouldn't know it from the way the Lions are playing as they lead the 3-15 Hoosiers by only one, 28-27, at the half in Indianapolis.
Jermaine Marshall leads the team in scoring off the bench with seven points. The big senior scoring trio of Talor Battle, Jeff Brooks and David Jackson combined for only 14 points in the half. Jackson once again went off the floor with early foul trouble and the Battle/Brooks combo is 2-11 shooting from the field.
Penn State turned the ball over six times in the half. Fortunately for the Lions, Indiana was only 7-for-11 from the free throw lines. Penn State didn't help itself with the free ones either, though, shooting only 6-for-13.
To turn things around in the second half, Battle and Brooks need to be better for Penn State. The Lions also have to limit their turnovers.
Most prognosticators have Tom Izzo's Michigan State squad just on the right side of the NCAA Tournament bubble. Thursday afternoon, the Spartans made sure they stayed there as they took down Iowa 66-61 in their first round game of the Big Ten Tournament at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
Matt Gatens and Bryce Cartwright paced the Hawkeyes in scoring with 14 and 13 points respectively. Cartwright also led a potent Iowa attack on the boards pulling down a team high seven rebounds. Overall, the Hawkeyes dominated the Spartans 37-29 on the glass.
Michigan State outshot Iowa, however, and overcame 15 turnovers to pull out the game late. Sparty trailed by as many as seven late in the game, but at that point they tightened the screws on defense, forcing Iowa into bad shots that resulted in a long drought for the Hawkeyes, which proved to be the difference.
Michigan State advances to face second-seeded Purdue on Friday in Indianapolis. With a sub-.500 record, Iowa's season is likely over.
After a tight first half, Northwestern rallied to crush Minnesota 75-65 in the second half of the first Big Ten Tournament first round game of the day at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
Michael Thompson went off for 35 for the Wildcats, finishing 11-22 from the field and 5-12 from the 3-point line. Drew Crawford had a nice day in victory as well finishing with 15 points and six rebounds while Alex Marcotullio 13 points and six rebounds. Star Northwestern forward John Shurna was unusually quiet, scoring only two points in 35 minutes.
Trevor Mbakwe came back from a slow first half to finish with another double-double of 19 points and 11 rebounds as the the Golden Gophers lost their 10th contest in 11 games. Blake Hoffarber and Ralph Sampson III finished with 13 and 12 points respectively.
Northwestern now advances to face No. 1 ranked Ohio State tomorrow in the quarterfinals. The Wildcats will look to improve on their near upset back in Evanston on Jan. 29 when the then-undefeated Buckeyes managed to escape with only a one point win.
Minnesota is almost surely headed for the NIT.
The 2011 Big Ten Tournament is off to a quick start as the first game of the event is off to a good start with Northwestern leading Minnesota 32-20 at the half in Indianapolis.
Northwestern's Michael Thompson leads all scorers with 13 points, but is only 4-13 shooting. Drew Crawford and John Shurna have two and six points respectively and reserve players Alex Marcotullio, Nick Fruendt and Davide Curletti have combined for 11 points off the bench.
For Minnesota, Ralph Sampson III is leading the way with 10 points. Blake Hoffarber has five points on 2-4 shooting and star forward Trevor Mbakwe has been quiet, tallying only four points and grabbing just three rebounds so far.
Both of these teams are likely on the outside looking in at the NCAA Tournament bubble, but a few wins in Indy might go a long way toward changing that. Whichever team wins this game, though, draws a stern test again No. 1 Ohio State tomorrow, so there's still a long way to go for either team to have a shot at an at-large bid.
When Penn State picked up its first conference win against Indiana back in December, few thought the Nittany Lions would have a chance to play their way into an NCAA Tournament at-large bid come conference tournament time. Fresh off a humiliating home loss to Maine, it seemed the early conference win was only a blip on the radar.
As the team returns to Hoosier Land to kick off the 2011 Big Ten Tournament at 7:30 P.M. this evening against Indiana, though, Penn State's tournament dreams are alive and well provided it grabs a couple of victories. The Lions have crept onto many prognosticators' boards as finalists for the last at-large bids in the 68-team field, and provided they get some help a win over the Hoosiers, the Wisconsin on Friday will likely be plenty to get them into the field.
First thing's first, though, as Penn State must worry about this game first before focusing on Wisconsin. Forward Christian Watford leads Indiana in scoring at exactly 16 points per game. Guards Verdell Jones III and Jordan Hulls also average double figures.
The Hoosiers are the tournament's last seed, having lost their last eight games and earning only three victories on the conference season. Only once has an 11 seed topped a six seed in the Big Ten Tournament, so the odds are heavily stacked against Indiana in this one.
You never know what can happen, but Penn State should have this one nailed down. For more, check out Black Shoe Diaries.
The bracket for the 2011 Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis is set, and play will begin on Thursday when Northwestern and Minnesota square off at Conseco Fieldhouse for the right to take on top seed Ohio State. How do we at SB Nation Pittsburgh see things shaking out? Read on.
No. 9 Minnesota vs. No. 8 Northwestern-The Golden Gophers won the first matchup of these two teams 81-70 back on Jan. 26, but the Wildcats' 68-57 victory on March 2 is probably a more accurate barometer of what we can expect in the tournament's opening game. Minnesota has been listless in losing nine of its last 10, and without guards Devoe Joseph, who is transferring to Oregon, and Al Nolen, who is out with an injury, it's hard to see the Gophers making much of a charge. If Northwestern comes to play, it should move on to face Ohio State.
No. 10 Iowa vs. No. 7 Michigan State-The Spartans and Hawkeyes traded blowout this season with Iowa winning 72-52 at Carver-Hawkeye back on Feb. 2 and Michigan State dominating the March 2 bout 85-66. Obviously, that makes it a little harder to grasp just who will have the advantage on a neutral court, but given Sparty's superior record and the fact that Tom Izzo's squad absolutely must have this game to stay alive for the NCAA Tournament, Michigan State is probably the safe pick here.
No. 11 Indiana vs. No. 6 Penn State-The Nittany Lions took the only matchup of the season between these two teams 69-60 on Dec. 27 in Bloomington. Like Michigan State, Penn State is playing for its NCAA Tournament life in this game and had a much better conference season than the cellar dwelling Hoosiers. With all that's riding on the game, it's hard to pick against Talor Battle and Co.
No. 8 Northwestern vs. No. 1 Ohio State-The top-seeded Buckeyes escaped Evanston with a 58-57 win in the only installment of this matchup so far in 2011. The Wildcats led late, but Ohio State did just enough to keep its then-perfect record intact. Northwestern is very much on the outside looking in at the NCAA Tournament at-large pool, but a win over the Buckeyes on a neutral floor might put Bill Carmody's squad back in the discussion. Ohio State is still playing for a No. 1 seed, though, and let's face it, is a much more talented team. Look for the Buckeyes to head to the semifinals.
No. 7 Michigan State vs. No. 2 Purdue-This is quite a matchup for the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament, but thanks to the Spartans' mediocre conference season, it's the one we're going to get. Purdue swept the season series, winning 86-76 in West Lafayette on Jan. 22 and 67-47 in East Lansing on Feb. 27. Depending upon how things shake out nationally, Michigan State may need this game to remain on the bubble, but given the Boilermakers' dominance in the regular season, it's hard to see that matter. We're going with Purdue in this one.
No. 5 Illinois vs. No. 4 Michigan-With Purdue's loss at Iowa on Saturday, Michigan might be the hottest team in the conference entering the tournament, though the Wolverines still likely need this team to assure their safety in the field of 68. Illinois won the only matchup of the teams 54-52 on Feb. 16 behind 18 points from Demetri McCamey and 12 from Mike Tisdale. Look for the Fighting Illini's veteran leadership to take charge again and push Illinois through to the semis.
No. 6 Penn State vs. No. 3 Wisconsin-Wisconsin dominated Penn State in a 76-66 home win on Feb. 20 but the Lions foiled the Badgers 56-52 in the first game in University Park on Jan. 29. Penn State will likely come out desperate in this game as it might well be the one that determines its post-season fate, and having cleared the mental hurdle that has been Wisconsin's dominance in recent years, it's hard to see Wisconsin being able to match the intensity of the Lions. The Badgers are the better team, but Penn State should be the more hungry one. Expect Penn State to get the win it needs here in an upset.
No. 5 Illinois vs. no. 1 Ohio State-The Buckeyes swept the Illini this season, and with relative ease. In the two games, Ohio State's star freshman Jared Sullinger racked up 39 points and 27 rebounds. Unless Bruce Weber suddenly found a secret weapon for guarding Thad Matta's man-child, then the Buckeyes will probably roll again and earn a berth in the title bout.
No. 6 Penn State vs. No. 2 Purdue-The Boilermakers swept the Lions this season, but the latter of the two wins wasn't easy. It took a late JaJuan Johnson jumper to push Purdue past Penn State in West Lafayette on Jan. 19, so clearly, this won't be a complete mismatch. The Lions will be playing their third game in three days, however, and expecting them to have the gas to matchup with studs like Johnson and E'Twaun Moore might be too much. Expect Purdue to advance.
No. 2 Purdue vs. No. 1 Ohio State-The Buckeyes have been nearly unstoppable this season. The one vulnerability they've shown has been getting road wins against the conference's elite teams, and never was that more exposed than Mackey Arena on Feb. 20 when the Boilermakers squashed Ohio State 76-63. E'Twaun Moore had a classic performance for the Boilers that day, tallying 38 points, grabbing four rebounds and dishing five assists. With what should be a very partisan Indianapolis crowd behind them and with a No. 1 seed possibly on the line, Purdue should realize its full potential in this game and take home the tournament crown.
The Big Ten has released its 2011 Tournament bracket. The tourney begins March 10, and Penn State is among the teams playing in the first round. Fortunately, the Nittany Lions will be playing the Indiana Hoosiers, who are 3-15 in the Big Ten and who lost to Penn State in December.
Thursday, March 10
8. Northwestern vs. 9. Minnesota, 2:30 PM
7. Michigan State vs. 10. Iowa, 25 minutes after Northwestern/Minnesota
6. Penn State vs. 11. Indiana, 7:30 PM
Friday, March 11
1. Ohio State vs. Northwestern/Minnesota, 12:00 PM
4. Michigan vs. 5. Illinois, 25 minutes after Ohio State game
2. Purdue vs. Michigan State/Iowa, 6:30 PM
3. Wisconsin vs. Penn State/Indiana, 25 minutes after Purdue game
Saturday, March 12
Ohio State/Northwestern/Minnesota vs. Michigan/Illinois, 1:40 PM
Purdue/Michigan State/Iowa vs. Wisconsin/Penn State/Indiana, 25 minutes after the first game
Sunday, March 13
Championship game, 3:30 PM
Stay tuned to SB Nation Pittsburgh and to Black Shoe Diaries for more coverage of the Nittany Lions and the Big Ten Tournament.
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