The Big Ten will have four teams in action today, with Purdue and Ohio State in very winnable games and Michigan and Illinois in much tougher draws. Yesterday the Big Ten ended up with one win and two losses, as Wisconsin took down an over matched Belmont and Michigan State and Penn State lost by just two points each to Temple and UCLA respectively.
Michigan tips off first today, against the Tennessee Volunteers, at 11:40 central on TruTV. The Wolverines had a solid showing in Indianapolis, beating the Fighting Illini with a big second half comeback, and staying competitive with Ohio State down to the wire in the Big Ten Tournament. Today the young team led by guard Tim Hardaway jr. with 14 points per game, and Darius Morris, who is averaging 15 points and 6 assists per game. The Wolverines have gotten this far by having a very potent offense, which can put up a lot of points with three point shooting. Tennessee has had a roller coaster year, with wins over Villanova, Pitt and Memphis, but finishing only at .500 in conference. To top it off, coach Bruce Pearl has had a cloud of NCAA violations hanging over him all season, and could very well end up losing his job today, if he loses to Michigan.
Ohio State will take on UT San Antonio today at 3:40 central, on TNT. Ohio State got the honor of being the No.1 overall seed for the NCAA tournament, and faces the winner one of the play in games from earlier this week, the UTSA Roadrunners. With Jared Sullinger, Jon Diebler, David Lighty, William Buford, and Aaron Craft, the Buckeyes are absolutely loaded, and will be far too much for the No.16 seed Roadrunners to handle. This game will likely be out of hand very quickly.
The Purdue Boilermakers will take the court in Chicago tonight at 6:20 central, against St. Peters. The Boilers are coming off of two straight losses, to Iowa and Michigan State, and as a result their seeding slipped all the way down to a No.3 seed, when a few weeks ago a No.1 seed was still a strong possibility. Nonetheless, Purdue should have no trouble dispatching the No.13 Peacocks, if E'Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson are playing up to their normal standard of quality. Purdue did lose defensive specialist Kelsey Barlow for the tournament due to a violation of team rules, and that may come into play in later rounds, but it wont today.
The Fighting Illini will play at 8:20 central on TBS, against UNLV. Illinois seemed to have lucked into an overseeding with their No.9 seed, until they saw that their first opponent would be a quality UNLV squad coached by their former coach Lon Kruger. To further complicate matters, the Illini were placed in the same region as Kansas, who is frighteningly talented, and coached by another former coach, Bill Self. The match against UNLV is a toss up according to the gamblers, Illinois will need to be very disciplined on defense and have great leadership from their seniors in order to come away with a victory. Winning or losing, the Illini never play a boring game, and this will be no doubt a very stressful cap for the Big Ten evening.