Tournament to be played at Verizon Center, Washington, District of Columbia
Michigan Wolverines vs Purdue Boilermakers (-2.5, 141.5)
Michigan breezed past Illinois 75-55 in the second round despite arriving in the nation’s capital only hours before tipoff as their charter plane skidded off the runway during takeoff Wednesday. The Wolverines were forced to wear their practice uniforms because of the delay, but that didn’t hamper their performance as they shot 53.6 percent from the floor and will turn their attention to beating Purdue for the second time following an 82-70 victory Feb. 25. Michigan all but cemented a place in the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year and hopes to exact a measure of revenge against the Boilermakers, who dumped the Wolverines out of the semifinals in last season’s Big Ten Tournament.
The Boilermakers won eight of their last nine games down the stretch to earn their first outright regular-season title since 1996, and hope to continue their winning ways by advancing to the semifinals of the conference tournament for the third consecutive year. “We wanted to take the next step and from the beginning of the season everyone had bought in,” Sophomore forward Caleb Swanigan told reporters. “We kept reminding ourselves why we we’re here – to help restore this great legacy from this great school.” Swanigan was named the Big Ten Player of the Year after averaging 18.9 points, 12.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists during conference play to become the fourth player in program history to win the award.
* Wolverines are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 neutral site games.
* Boilermakers are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 neutral site games.
* Under is 7-0 in Wolverines last 7 neutral site games.
* Over is 5-0 in Boilermakers last 5 neutral site games as a favorite.
* Favorite is 4-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings.
Michigan St. Spartans vs Minnesota Golden Gophers (+1, 138.5)
The Spartans, who are fighting for their NCAA Tournament lives, can cement their 20th straight appearance in the Big Dance by beating Minnesota for the third time in a row after sweeping the season series. Michigan State advanced to the Big Ten Tournament semifinals in each of the last six years while winning it three times during that span, and hopes to live up to its reputation of peaking in March with another deep run. Miles Bridges, who was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year earlier in the week, scored 15 points and pulled down nine rebounds against Penn State to finish in double figures for the 15th consecutive game. The Under in their Thursday win over Penn St. was the sixth Under in Michigan State’s last seven neutral site games.
The Golden Gophers won eight of their last nine games to finish with 11 conference victories for the first time in 18 years and hope to parlay their regular-season success into their first Big Ten Tournament title. Richard Pitino was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year after engineering the greatest turnaround in Minnesota history as the Gophers improved their win total by 15 games and search for their first semifinal appearance in the conference tournament since 2010. The Spartans ended a two-game slide with an emphatic 78-51 victory against 13th-seeded Penn State in Thursday’s second round. Junior point guard Nate Mason became the first Golden Gopher to be named to the All-Big Ten First Team since 2005 after leading the club with 15.5 points and 5.1 assists during the regular season.
* Spartans are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
* Golden Gophers are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 neutral site games.
* Under is 6-1 in Spartans last 7 neutral site games.
* Over is 7-1 in Golden Gophers last 8 vs. Big Ten.
* Spartans are 13-5 ATS in the last 18 meetings.
Indiana Hoosiers vs Wisconsin Badgers (OFF)
Indiana defied its own history in the Big Ten tournament Thursday when it knocked off a higher-seeded team for only the fourth time in the 20-year history of the event. The 10th-seeded Hoosiers attempt to pull off another seemingly improbable task one day later when they square off against No. 2 seed Wisconsin in the quarterfinals. Indiana showed no signs of the struggles that led it to drop eight of its final 12 regular-season contests during its second-round 95-73 rout of seventh-seeded Iowa, catching fire beyond the arc after halftime (6-of-8) en route to setting school tournament records with 12 3-pointers and in 3-point percentage (60). The Hoosiers improved to 3-10 in the Big Ten tournament over the last 10 years as a result, although defeating the Badgers has proven to be even more difficult in recent years, as Wisconsin has won 17 of the last 19 meetings.
The 23rd-ranked Badgers picked up two of those victories earlier this season, winning 75-68 at Bloomington on Jan. 3 and 65-60 at home on Feb. 5. Wisconsin suffered through its own late-season malaise by dropping five of its last seven games, although one of those two triumphs came against Minnesota in their regular-season finale Sunday. Ethan Happ is averaging only eight points per game over his last four outings, but the sophomore forward still finished the regular season as the only player in the nation to lead his team in points (14.6), rebounds (8.6), assists (three per game), blocks (1.6) and steals (2.3) during conference play. Leading scorer Bronson Koenig (14.2 points) is the school’s all-time leader in 3-pointers (247) and is averaging 20 points per game over the last four contests, nailing at least four triples in three of those outings.
* Badgers are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games following a straight up win.
* Over is 5-1 in Hoosiers last 6 overall.
* Under is 10-1 in Badgers last 11 neutral site games.
* Underdog is 9-2 ATS in the last 11 meetings.
Northwestern Wildcats vs Maryland Terrapins (OFF)
Northwestern may be the sentimental favorite for many in the Big Ten tournament as it inches closer to its first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance, but the Wildcats will almost certainly not gain any benefit from it in their next game. The Wildcats made quick work of Rutgers in second-round action Thursday, using a 31-0 run in the first half on their way to an 83-61 victory over the Scarlet Knights and advance to the quarterfinals at this event for the first time since 2014. The win further increased the likelihood that Northwestern, which already entered this tournament with a school-record 21 victories, will end its dubious distinction of being one of only five schools – and the only one from a major conference – to never make the Big Dance. The Wildcats played without Scottie Lindsey (14 points per game) in the first meeting – the final of four games he missed due to mononucleosis – and the team’s second-leading scorer had averaged only 7.6 points in the five games since his return before contributing 16 on Thursday.
No. 3 seed Maryland makes the 15-minute drive from its College Park campus to the Verizon Center in Washington D.C. on Friday when it meets sixth-seeded Northwestern in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament. Maryland’s Melo Trimble scored a career-high 32 points in that contest and helped the Terrapins wrap up conference play on a high note Saturday, as he drained the tiebreaking 3-pointer with 1.1 seconds left in a 63-60 win over Michigan State. Trimble (team-high 16.9 points), who has reached double figures in 20 straight games, became the first Terrapin since Greivis Vasquez to earn all-conference recognition three times when he was one of two unanimous picks on the coaches’ All-Big Ten team.
* Wildcats are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 neutral site games.
* Terrapins are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
* Under is 10-2 in Wildcats last 12 neutral site games.
* Over is 5-1 in Terrapins last 6 games following a ATS loss.
* Underdog is 4-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings.