Men's Basketball In The Polls

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Oddsmakers are listing Penn State as the favorite in this game, as the Nittany Lions are getting odds of -5.5 points against Northwestern.

The only Big Ten teams with 11 or more conference wins to miss the modern-day NCAA tournament are IL in 1991 and Ohio State in 2016.

This year, the buildup to the first game has been less dramatic, but the Wolverines are hoping for the same result.

Chris Holtmann of Ohio State is the conference's coach of the year. The Michigan Wolverines are allowing 34.9 percent shooting from deep and are grabbing 33 rebounds per game.

Wisconsin came into the Big Ten tournament in an unfamiliar position. Duncan Robinson was 4-of-7.

The Badgers peppered the MI net during the five-minute power play, and Weissbach got a shot through Hayden Lavigne (48 saves) to cut Michigan's lead to 5-4. Brad Davison had 13 points and Iverson added 11 and six rebounds.

Friday's outcome in front of about 10,000 fans at Madison Square Garden nearly certainly ended NCAA tournament hopes for the Huskers (22-10), who came in with an RPI of 59 and only six wins over teams with winning records. He's never won a national title, he's been to only one Final Four, and he's won three Big Ten titles - far fewer than the league leaders. Teams don't have to respect Simpson on offense like they did Walton. It really came down to two things.

It wasn't all rosy for the Wolverines' special teams, though. The Huskers entered this tournament carrying more pressure than the other 13 league members combined, and when a sizzling MI defensive effort made the game more hard than anticipated, they fractured.

However, when he's playing without confidence, the Spartans' bench production is lackluster, at best.

With Michigan's stars saddled with foul trouble, and the shots just not falling, the 15th-ranked Wolverines got a lift from their senior sixth man to survive their Big Ten Tournament opener. They advance to the semifinals on Saturday afternoon at Madison Square Garden.

Even though it's 600 miles away from the Crisler Center, New York feels like home for the MI basketball program. 3-Point Goals-Iowa 7-23 (Bohannon 3-11, Garza 2-5, Dailey 1-2, Baer 1-2, Nunge 0-1, Moss 0-2), MI 3-19 (Robinson 3-6, Abdur-Rahkman 0-1, M.Wagner 0-2, Livers 0-2, Simpson 0-4, Poole 0-4).

MI continued to enjoy NY with a December 2013 victory over Stanford at the Barclays Center in New Jersey. I've been arguing for years that MI fans have not fully appreciated what they've got in Beilein, especially if you believe it's better to finish second and clean than first and dirty. The Huskers went 7-of-23 from three-point range and 6-of-10 at the free throw line.

Michigan State forwards including Nick Ward were slow on screens and failed to close out on "pick-and-pop" plays, leading to made baskets by the Germany native.

Shabazz Napier, who played for the University of CT, a key player in their two NCAA tournament championships in 2011 and 2014, now with the Portland Trailblazers, explained in 2014 how there had been nights when he was hungry as a student-athlete, not having funds to eat, further stating, "but I still gotta play up to my capabilities".

The win wasn't pretty, but the Badgers made all the key plays down the stretch and eight-seeded Maryland (19-13) didn't.

Overall, the Wolverines are 7-2 with two preseason tournament titles in NY since 2012, and the two close losses came against an eventual No. 1 seed and an Elite 8 team. We don't know yet how any of this will shake out, but it's made for some uncomfortable post-game press conferences, when Izzo has declined to answer any questions after games, probably wisely. Still, this was an historic season on many fronts from Tim Miles' crew.

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