With another brutal regular season in the books, the Big Ten is providing a quality post-season. Four of the top five seeds advanced to the semifinals. Ohio State performed the lone "upset," knocking off NCAA Tournament hopeful Nebraska. Regular season champion Michigan is alive, looking to lock up a higher seed with a Big Ten Tournament win.
In the early game, those top-seeded Wolverines did anything but run away in Friday's quarterfinal game against No. 9 Illinois. Though the Big Ten is solid up and down, Michigan had previously beat the Illini by 31 points. This time, it took a 9-10 performance from the free-throw line by Nik Stauskas to salvage his -- and the rest of the Wolverines' -- day. The All-American candidate shot just 2-10 from the three-point line and 4-12 overall. No. 5 Ohio State got by No. 4 Nebraska in an unconventional way, outscoring the Huskers to a 71-67 victory. LaQuinton Ross scored 26 points and grabbed 13 rebounds; it was his fifth straight game with 19 or more points. In the teams' only regular season clash, Michigan beat Ohio State by 10 points.
No. 2 Wisconsin may have dashed the NCAA Tournament hopes of No. 7 Minnesota with a big win Friday. Ben Brust went off for the Badgers, finishing with 29 points on 8-15 shooting. Frank Kaminsky added six points to his 12-rebound game, adding "defensive boards" to his diverse skill-set. The win sets up an intriguing game between Wisconsin and No. 3 Michigan State. The Spartans lost on Traevon Jackson's last-second jumper back in February. In its game against Northwestern Friday, Michigan State looked healthy and productive. Branden Dawson finished with 16 points and nine rebounds, including six on the offensive glass.
Saturday's schedule of games:
No. 1 Michigan vs. No. 5 Ohio State, 1:40 p.m. ET, CBS
No. 2 Wisconsin vs. No. 3 Michigan State, 4 p.m., CBS
Here's a link to the entire Big Ten bracket: