Michigan fans may have not had much to cheer about during football season, but basketball has already given them reason to smile. The Wolverines pulled off their second upset of a Top 5 team yesterday. Already owning the scalp of UCLA, Michigan knocked off Duke 81-73 in Ann Arbor. John Beilein's club got 28 points and 12 rebounds from DeShawn Sims and 17 points from Manny Harris. Duke got the line only six times all game long and Michigan got revenge for its loss to the Blue Devils in Madison Square Garden during November.
Ohio State delivered its second straight clutch win. Fresh off their win over Miami, the Buckeyes took out an even bigger foe, in edging Notre Dame 67-62. Evan Turner scored 28 and got 10 rebounds to key the win. The Buckeyes join the Wolverines in letting us know early on that the title picture is about more then Purdue, Michigan State and Wisconsin.
The OSU-ND game was part of a doubleheader played in Indianapolis. The other half was Gonzaga matching up with Indiana. Zags coach Mark Few was rumored to be in line for the IU job when Mike Davis was fired. Whether it was lack of interest on the part of Few, Indiana or both, I'm not sure. Hoosier fans got a look at what their program might have been, as Few's fifth-ranked team pulled away in the second half to a 70-54 win. To the credit of Tom Crean's Hoosiers, they hung around a little longer in this game then had been the case in Maui or the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
Wisconsin dropped a hard-fought game on the road to in-state rival Marquette. The Badgers did not get their trademark edge from the foul stripe, going just 7/13 from the line, while MU went 14/23. Combine that with a slight Warrior edge in rebounding and turnovers and you have a 61-58 loss for Bo Ryan's squad. It marks the second straight year they've lost to Marquette, something that will cause considerable anguish to Badger alumni, particularly those working in and around the Milwaukee area.
Still, it was a good day for the Big Ten, thanks to Michigan and Ohio State. Today should be another good day. The BCS Selection Show is at night, and the indications are that the Buckeyes will be chosen for an at-large bid. The possiblity of seeing Penn State-USC in the Rose Bowl and Ohio State-Texas in the Fiesta gives the conference plenty of opportunity for redemption.