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Indiana University

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  • Hoosiers wilt down stretch for first loss
    It was tough to tell which team was from the Big Ten on Monday night at Assembly Hall.But it was easy to see which team had more toughness, made the key plays down the stretch and did all the little things well.
Game 1: Indiana vs. Illinois, noon (Big Ten Network; 1250 AM, 102.9 FM, 102.7 FM)
Game 2: Ohio State vs. Purdue (Big Ten Network; 1380 AM, 1480 AM)
Game 3: Minnesota vs. Penn State, 6:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
Game 4: Iowa vs. Northwestern, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
Game 5: Michigan vs. Game 1 winner, noon (ESPN/ESPN2)
Game 6: Nebraska vs. Game 2 winner, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN/ESPN2)
Game 7: Wisconsin vs. Game 3 winner, 6:30 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
Game 8: Michigan State vs. Game 4 winner, 9 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
Semifinal game 1, 1:40 p.m. (CBS)
Semifinal game 2, 4:10 p.m. (CBS)
Championship, 3:30 p.m. (CBS)
This year’s Big Ten tournament will be as wide open as ever.
Ohio State, Minnesota and Iowa seem reasonably safe bets to make it to the second round, but expect upsets and close games.
There’s nothing keeping Ohio State and Wisconsin from meeting in the championship game for a second straight year.
Or perhaps Michigan and Michigan State – occupying two of the top three seeds – are destined for a memorable chapter in their feud.
Maybe it’s just Nebraska’s time, and coach Tim Miles and the Cornhuskers shove aside the champions of the past.
Here’s a look at the tournament: Top matchups
Indiana-Illinois, noon today – No NCAA drama here, but it is the best first-round pairing.
Wisconsin-Michigan State, potential semifinal – Advancement could enhance these teams’ NCAA seeding. Top players
Terran Petteway, Nebraska – Few players have been better than Petteway in the past six weeks. He has averaged 19.3 points and lived at the foul line, making 71 of 90 free throws.
Gary Harris, Michigan State – A versatile guard who has shot well in his past five games (18 of 37 on 3s).
Austin Hollins, Minnesota – He comes in on a roll, averaging 19 points his past three games while shooting 61 percent.
Favorite: Michigan won the regular-season title by three games. The Wolverines have the best RPI by four slots over their closest conference competitor and by 18 slots over the next closest.
Dark horse: Minnesota is striving to secure an NCAA tournament berth, and its second-round opponent – if it beats Penn State today – will be Wisconsin, a team the Gophers beat in league play. After that is a potential matchup with the Spartans, who have lost seven of their past 12.
Prediction: Second-seeded Wisconsin will close the deal. The Badgers have regained their stride, winning eight of nine, and are 2-1 this season against the Michigan teams.
Associated Press
Yogi Ferrell and the rest of the Indiana Hoosiers will face ninth-seeded Illinois today in the first round of the Big Ten tournament in Indianapolis.
Big Ten tournament

Last chance for Hoosier hysteria

Dating back to Bob Knight’s opposition to the concept itself, Indiana has never found synergy with the Big Ten tournament.

The Hoosiers are 10-16 overall at the event, have never won it and have lasted to the third day only five times.

They need this single-elimination free-for-all now more than ever. It is Indiana’s last gasp at a third consecutive NCAA tourney appearance.

The team’s quest begins today when the eighth-seeded Hoosiers (17-14) open with No. 9 seed Illinois (18-13).

With each game that passes, the pressure will mount, but IU coach Tom Crean doesn’t want his team to think about the tightrope.

“The most important thing is that you don’t ever look ahead,” said Crean, whose teams are 2-5 in the tournament. “It doesn’t really matter what team you have going in. If you look ahead to Day 2, you could be done on Day 1. You don’t want any part of that. You have to be so locked into what is in front of you.”

That’s the Illini.

Later, it could be Michigan, Nebraska and Wisconsin, with stars Nik Stauskas, Terran Petteway and Frank Kaminsky. They would be the Hoosiers’ opponents if they advance and face the highest possible seed in each round.

The Hoosiers split the season series 1-1 with the Illini, but they committed 35 turnovers and struggled from the field, shooting 41 percent. Rayvonte Rice averaged 24.5 points and six rebounds in those games.

Illinois, which lost eight in a row from Jan. 8 to Feb. 4, is 5-3 since Feb. 9. That includes victories over Michigan State, Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska, which all appear to be NCAA tournament teams.

“One of our goals was to be playing our best basketball heading into what we call ‘Season 3,’ ” Illinois coach John Groce said. “We’ve seen a lot of progress. That’s what you want this time of year. ”

Eight games ago, Groce benched senior starters Jon Ekey and Joseph Bertrand in favor of freshmen Kendrick Nunn and Malcolm Hill. Illinois has been riding that smaller lineup ever since.

“We and Indiana were the two youngest teams at the outset of the season by a landslide,” Groce said. “My entire bench was five freshmen and a sophomore. I wanted that more balanced with experience.”

Today is Illinois’ revenge game in a sense. Indiana beat the Illini in the second round of this tournament last year.

Both teams feature a new core and even the style figures to be different.

Illinois’ current roster is notable for its slow-paced offense. A major factor will be whether the Hoosiers can create an up-tempo game with chaos and disorder.

The wild card is Troy Williams. The Hoosiers could use a dose of the freshman who gave them 34 points in the last two games.

“He’s gaining confidence all the time,” Crean said. “We hope it can keep up the rest of the season.”

– Chris Goff, The Journal Gazette