Gophers eye Spartans
INDIANAPOLIS Minnesota knows it would greatly enhance its NCAA tournament resume by beating Michigan State today.
Of course, the Golden Gophers want to get in the old-fashioned way.
Devoe Joseph scored 15 points to help Minnesota beat Penn State 76-55 on Thursday night in the first round of the Big Ten tournament. Colton Iverson scored 12 points, Damian Johnson scored 11 and Lawrence Westbrook added 10 for the Golden Gophers (19-12), who advanced to play No. 11 Michigan State today in a quarterfinal.
A win over the Spartans would give the Golden Gophers that magic number of 20 victories, and it would come against a ranked team. The sixth-seeded Golden Gophers have won five of their last seven, including a victory over now-No. 13 Wisconsin.
Still, Minnesota won’t buy into the hype, knowing that the only sure thing is a tournament title.
“I just know that a win tomorrow is going to get us to the next round, and right now we’re just focused on winning the Big Ten tournament,” Joseph said. “If you win the Big Ten tournament, obviously, you go to the NCAA tournament.”
n Northwestern 73, Indiana 58—Northwestern’s Michael Thompson still remembers how it felt to lose 20 games as a freshman.
Now he can embrace the celebration of the Wildcats’ first 20-win season.
The junior guard scored 11 of his 16 points, leading a second-half comeback that gave Northwestern a record-setting victory over Indiana.
But the seventh-seeded Wildcats (20-12) are hoping there are more memorable moments still to come.
It was Northwestern’s first conference tourney win in five years and a day, and sets up today’s quarterfinal contest against No. 6 Purdue.
n Michigan 59, Iowa 52—Michigan earned one more chance to fulfill its promise.
Manny Harris had 22 points and nine rebounds to help the Wolverines defeat Iowa.
DeShawn Sims added 14 points for Michigan (15-16), which advanced to play No. 5 Ohio State today in the quarterfinals.
Michigan was ranked No. 15 in the preseason Top 25, but the Wolverines never found their stride. Now, they can continue their quest to make things right with a win over the Buckeyes.
“It’s definitely an opportunity, but it ain’t gonna be an easy road,” Harris said. “If we just play Michigan basketball, keep playing hard, keep playing smart, have the right attitude, then I think it could be done.”