Big Ten

Big Ten NCAA tournament roundup: Wisconsin, Purdue advance, Maryland, Minnesota go home

Big Ten NCAA tournament roundup: Wisconsin, Purdue advance, Maryland, Minnesota go home

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.

Northwestern Wildcats pause football workouts after positive COVID-19 test

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USA Today

Northwestern Wildcats pause football workouts after positive COVID-19 test

The Northwestern Wildcats have stopped football workouts due to a player testing positive for COVID-19. A university spokesperson says, the school is now undergoing “rigorous contact tracing and quarantine protocols to protect the health and safety of student-athletes, coaches and staff.”

Some student-athletes have already been placed in quarantine, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The earliest any football activities can resume for the Wildcats is Wednesday, according to the university spokesperson.

Michigan State required their entire football team to go into quarantine in late July after several positive tests among players and staff.

In addition, the Big Ten announced they will play a conference-only schedule in 2020, if they’re able to play at all.


RELATED: Northwestern football will not host Wisconsin Badgers at Wrigley Field

Lou Henson, former Illinois Fighting Illini basketball coach, dies at 88

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Getty Images

Lou Henson, former Illinois Fighting Illini basketball coach, dies at 88

Hall of Fame former Fighting Illini head basketball coach Lou Henson died last Saturday. He was 88 years old.

Henson was the all-time wins leader at the University of Illinois, guiding the team to a 423-224 record from 1975-1996. That included a 214-164 record in Big Ten Conference play, and one Big Ten conference title in 1984.

He also led the Illini to 12 NCAA tournament appearances, the highlight being a Final Four berth with the 1988-89 “Flying Illini.”

"Our Orange and Blue hearts are heavy," said Josh Whitman, Illinois Director of Athletics, in a statement. "We have lost an Illini icon. We have lost a role model, a friend, and a leader. We have lost our coach.

“Coach Henson may be gone, but the memories he provided us, and the legacy he created, will last forever. He was responsible for almost 800 wins in the record book and countless Fighting Illini moments frozen in time, but Coach Henson's true measure will be felt in the lives he touched – the lives of his former players, people on this campus, and friends in our broader community.

“We are all better for whatever time we were privileged to spend with Coach Lou, whether it was five minutes or 50 years. He made everyone feel like a friend. I so enjoyed my time with Coach these last five years, and I will miss him. Our thoughts and prayers are with Mary, Lisa, Lori, Leigh Anne, and the entire Henson family. Their family will always be part of ours."

In addition to his iconic career at the University of Illinois, Henson coached at New Mexico State where he compiled another 289 victories, from 1966-1975 and 1997-2005. Henson is the wins leader at New Mexico State, as well.

His 779 career wins rank 28th all-time in NCAA history. He was inducted into the National Collegiate Hall of Fame in 2015. The same year, the newly renovated court at Illinois was renamed “Lou Henson Court.” The basketball court at New Mexico State is named “Lou Henson Court,” as well.

“He really was ahead of the game, in terms of bringing fan interaction and fan connection to a program,” said Stephen Bardo, one of Henson’s former players in a video on Twitter. “For me, Lou Henson’s voice got louder the longer after I left school. The more of an adult I became, the older my kids became, I would hear coach Henson’s voice more. I would impart the lessons I learned from him onto my children.

“He had an enormous impact on my life.”


RELATED: Big Ten to play conference-only NCAA football schedule 'if able'


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