By TOM LEA
The Big Ten has been lauded as the nation’s top league throughout the course of the regular season. With six teams competing in the ongoing NCAA tournament the conference has an opportunity to validate that claim throughout the next few weeks.
Thursday’s second round action featured three wins from Big Ten teams. Three more play Friday night.
Let’s take a look back and a glance forward.
The game: No. 2 Ohio State beat Loyola (MD), 78-59.
The skinny: Deshaun Thomas scored a career-high 31 points on 13-of-22 shooting. William Buford and Jared Sullinger scored 17 and 12 points, respectively.
Up next: (Saturday) No. 2 Ohio State plays No. 7 Gonzaga, who beat No. 10 West Virginia, 77-54.
The game: No. 4 Wisconsin beat No. 13 Montana, 73-49
The skinny: Ryan Evans and Jordan Taylor scored 18 and 17 points, respectively. The Badgers shot 47.9 percent from the field and 52.6 percent from distance.
Up next: (Saturday) No. 4 Wisconsin plays No. 5 Vanderbilt, who beat No. 12 Harvard, 79-70.
The game: No. 4 Indiana beat No. 13 New Mexico State, 79-66.
The skinny: Jordan Hulls scored a game-high 22 points and was one of four Hoosiers to tally double-digit scoring.
Up next: (Saturday) No. 4 Indiana plays No. 12 VCU, who beat No. 5 Wichita State, 62-59.
The game: (Friday) No. 4 Michigan vs. No. 13 Ohio
Early note: Ohio is making its first appearance in the tournament since knocking off No. 3 Georgetown during the opening round in 2010.
The game: (Friday) No. 10 Purdue vs. No. 7 St. Mary’s
Early note: Senior forward Robbie Hummel, Purdue’s leading scorer, will play in his first NCAA tournament game since 2009.
The game: (Friday) No. 1 Michigan State vs. No. 16 LIU Brooklyn
Early note: LIU-Brooklyn averages 81.9 points per game. Michigan State allows just 59.1 points per game defensively.
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