Editor’s note: Our man Scott is reporting live from the Big Ten Tourney in Indianapolis. Enjoy.
The Big Ten tournament kicked off Thursday and, while the Buckeyes were not in action, there were plenty of games to whet your March Madness appetite. So, compliments to the chef, here is a Hors d’Oeuvres appetizer platter of everything round one had to offer.
Iowa versus Illinois
The Big Ten’s version of the Titanic finally sunk to the bottom of the ocean Thursday. Illinois completed its monumental collapse with a 64-61 loss to the Iowa Hawkeyes in the tournament’s opening game. More importantly, Iowa fans also brought home the tic-tac-toe championship in the halftime contest.
Apparently, Brandon Paul had a finite number of baskets he was allowed to score this year, and he used them all up against the Buckeyes the night he scored 43 points. Illinois’ biggest problem against the Hawkeyes was its refusal to give the ball to seven-footer Meyers Leonard in the second half. I’m 90 percent sure that if Leonard quit midgame and left for the locker room the Illini guards wouldn’t even notice.
In other news, Iowa has a guard from Compton, California. I would have loved to hear how Iowa’s coach pitched the farmlands of Iowa during that recruitment trip.
Indiana versus Penn State
The program said Indiana against Penn State, but in actuality, it was Indiana playing against Tim Frazier. The Nittany Lion guard scored 26 points in vain, as the Hoosiers easily handled Penn State 75-58. Props to the Hoosier fans, who brought the stadium to life with throngs of fans everywhere. It’s been a rough couple years for Indiana basketball, but it was clear Thursday that Hoosier basketball is officially back.
In important halftime news, Indiana fans also handled Penn State fans in a rules optional game of dodgeball during the break. When I played dodgeball growing up, the midcourt line was not allowed to be crossed. Apparently, this is not the case in Indianapolis, which bothered me more than it probably should have.
Northwestern versus Minnesota
In the day’s most disappointing result, Northwestern saw its perilous tournament chances come crashing down with a 75-68 loss to Minnesota. In true and heartbreaking Northwestern fashion, the Wildcats controlled the majority of the game and choked down the stretch. It has become almost painful at this point to watch Northwestern find new ways to lose every March, letting its elusive first tournament bid once again slip through its grasp.
Halftime was also disheartening, since the Simon Says game ended in a tie. First the midcourt line isn’t used in dodgeball, and then the Simon Says game ends in a two-way stalemate. Not acceptable.
Nebraska versus Purdue
I can assure you, the best way to end a long day is not watching the Nebraska Cornhuskers play basketball. In what was essentially a late-night shoot-around for Purdue, the Boilermakers handled Nebraska 79-61. This sets up a quarterfinal match-up with the Boilers on Friday night for the Buckeyes. Last time out against Purdue, good William Buford showed up and carried Ohio State to a narrow victory. Hopefully he shows up again.
Either way, round one is officially in the books. Here’s to another day of ridiculous halftime performances and Big Ten hoops on Friday.
BBN March Madness Bracket Challenge
The newly formed Buckeye Bloggers Network is combining forces to bring you the best in Ohio State fan bracket contests. Be sure to check back for details. Also, check out the video player in the sidebar for highlights from last night’s games.