SALT LAKE CITY — The Northwestern Wildcats are justly demanding a great deal of attention after reaching the NCAA tournament for the first time in program history and then for winning their first NCAA tournament game in exciting fashion on Thursday.
But there are six other Big Ten teams in this year's Big Dance, and four of those teams also played Thursday.
Here's a recap of those games.
Bronson Koenig hits eight 3s to advance eighth-seeded Wisconsin
The Badgers seemed totally disrespected by the selection committee, handed the No. 8 seed in the East Region. But Bronson Koenig turned in an eight of his own Thursday night against Virginia Tech, hitting an octet of triples and scoring a career-high 28 points in Wisconsin's 84-74 win over the ninth-seeded Hokies. Nigel Hayes also had a big night with a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds. The two veterans of the Badgers' recent Final Four runs helped keep the Hokies at bay. Virginia Tech never got too far away and trailed by as little as a point in the second half. The good news is Wisconsin advanced. The bad news is it advanced to play No. 1 overall seed Villanova in the second round. That's where that unfavorable seeding comes in. It's up to the Badgers to do something not many winners of an 8-9 game have done.
Purdue avenges last season's first-round loss with win over feisty Vermont
Despite getting another all-out effort from a team wih a double-digit seed, Purdue advanced past the first round this season, avenging its first-round loss to Arkansas Little Rock a season ago. The Boilermakers got huge performances from Vincent Edwards and Caleb Swanigan in the 80-70 victory. Edwards totaled 21 points, five rebounds, three assists, two blocks and a steal. And Swanigan, otherwise known as Mr. Double-Double, finished with 16 points, 14 rebounds, four assists and three blocks. The Boilers had their hands full with the Catamounts, trailing by as many as eight in the first half and leading by just a point at halftime. But the upset bid ran out of gas in the game's final minutes, meaning no double-overtime defeat this year. Purdue will tangle with fifth-seeded Iowa State on Saturday for a spot in the Sweet Sixteen.
Middle Tennessee takes another Big Ten victim, this time Minnesota
Last year, 15th-seeded Middle Tennessee pulled the unthinkable, upsetting second-seeded Michigan State in the first round. Well, it seems the Blue Raiders have the Big Ten's number. This time seeded 12th, Middle Tennessee pounded Minnesota on Thursday, winning 81-72 to bounce the fifth-seeded Gophers from their first NCAA tournament under Richard Pitino. Middle Tennessee led for the final 28 minutes, grew its lead as big as 17 in the second half, shot nearly 50 percent from the field and out-rebounded Minnesota to the tune of 37-24. It was quite the thud of an ending to what had been a sensational season for the Gophers, who after going 8-23 a season ago entered the Big Dance with a 24-9 record. But after an eight-game winning streak near the end of the regular season, Minnesota finished losing three of four.
Is Melo Trimble's Maryland career over after first-round loss to Xavier?
Perennial good tournament team Xavier tossed Maryland from the Big Dance on Thursday thanks to a huge 21-4 second-half run that transformed a six-point Terps lead into an 11-point one for the Musketeers. Maryland at one point went five minutes without a point in the second half. But the biggest question on everyone's mind is whether we've seen the last of Melo Trimble in a Maryland uniform. The Terps' star has been the center of speculation following each of the two previous seasons. He opted to stay for his sophomore season when it looked like Maryland had the makings of a national-title contender, and he stayed for this, his junior season, after watching his statistics (and perhaps NBA Draft stock) plummet as a sophomore. Trimble gave no indication to his thinking Thursday, but the Terps at least looked like they will survive should he leave: Freshmen Kevin Huerter and Justin Jackson combined for 33 points in the loss.