The trend of top teams falling continued today and this time the Big Ten was not immune. Michigan State's hopes for winning its first league tournament since 2000 ended. The Spartans' hopes for a #1 seed likely disappeared with it. That's not a certainty, given all the upsets across the country and the reality that no one knows what the committee will really focus on. Nor is it all that consequential if they settle for a #2 or even a third seed. It's not as though homecourt advantage or first-round byes are at stake, and once upsets start happening in the NCAA, it's impossible to say where the most favorable bracket position will be.
Ohio State 82 Michigan State 70
The Buckeyes committed 15 turnovers, and lost the rebounding battle 31-36. But against Michigan State, being that close on the glass almost counts as a win. And with the Spartans clanging bricks from behind the arc (3-for-21), and Ohio State making hay at the free throw line (a 23-13 scoring edge), Thad Matta's team had more than enough to advance to the final for the third time in the last four tournaments. Evan Turner came up with his usual well-balanced line of 18 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists. The backcourt was outstanding, as Jon Diebler and William Buford combined for 31 points and 14 rebounds.
Purdue 66 Illinois 56
Robbie Hummel continues to build a strong case for being the tournament's Outstanding Player. The Purdue forward rang up 19 and pounded the glass for twelve rebounds. He was one part of frontline dominance for the Boilermakers, as JaJuan Johnson led all scorers with 20. Purdue wasn't able to keep Mike Davis off the glass, as he grabbed a dozen boards of his own, but they did keep him off the scorer's sheet, holding the Illini forward to just six points. For a team that straggled to the end of the regular season, the Boilers have certainly turned it up a notch at Conseco Fieldhouse, posting two easy wins over quality opponents.
So we're set for a Purdue-Ohio State final tomorrow afternoon. The Boilermakers have never won this event, and not even been this far since the inaugural in 1998. OSU won it two years ago when Mike Conley and Greg Oden were in uniform.