Nobody expected either of these teams to be playing on Saturday, but in March, in the Big Ten Tournament, all it takes is the right combination of luck and big plays and any team can win and advance.
Michigan State had by far the more convincing of wins, getting a thirty point performance from stand out senior point guard Kalin Lucas and railroading No. 9 Purdue out of the tournament 74 to 56. Michigan State has probably already done enough to get themselves firmly in the field of 68, but they are out for much more than that, a Big Ten Tournament championship to wash away what has been a disappointing season in East Lansing.
Penn State got here by winning one of the ugliest games in Big Ten Tournament history, a 36-33 slug fest over No. 13 Wisconsin, where neither team looked particularly well. The Nittany Lions still probably need to make the championship game to move them into the field confidently.
Whoever wins this game, for the second year in a row, a team who played on Thursday will have a shot at the tournament championship, just another reason why the Big Ten Tournament is so exciting, and so hard to predict.