The updated bracket for this year’s tournament…..
Today is the day where all parties involved need to give it everything they have. Today is about more than just a tournament victory, it’s about more than just a championship trophy, it’s about an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
The Wisconsin Badgers and the Ohio State Buckeyes are well aware of what’s at stake here. Ohio State is looking for redemption as they lost last year’s title game to Michigan State, this is their fourth straight tournament championship game appearance. They are 2-2 in that stretch.
As for Wisconsin, this is their first Big Ten Tournament Championship game since 2008, and their fourth in school history. They are also 2-2 in Big Ten title games. Yesterday both teams came off of some thrilling victories. Wisconsin slowed down the #1 seed Indiana Hoosiers and beat them 68-56.
Ohio State put on a clinic in the second half to get past Michigan State 61-58. Wisconsin’s formula for success these last few days has been their defense. But as good as their defense has been, their offense has also stepped up in a big way.
The Badgers have scored 136 points so far in this year’s tournament. Bo Ryan’s team isn’t exactly known for their offense. The Buckeyes have gotten it done in three ways:
1. Back-to-back double digit performances from forward DeShaun Thomas.
2. Production from their bench players.
3. Good second half defense.
Thad Matta has coached his team well and they are fully capable of executing any game plan that is presented before them. And they will need that game plan if they are going to get past the best defense in the Big Ten. Wisconsin must also have a solid game plan, especially when it comes to matching up against DeShaun Thomas.
Another player that the Badgers must account for is Buckeyes guard Aaron Craft. His 20 point explosion against Michigan State yesterday was their main key to victory in the Big Ten semi-finals. But today is a new day and this game will be decided by which defense can make the most stops.
Both teams will wind up getting into the NCAA Tournament regardless of who wins and loses. But whomever gets the automatic bid will more than likely get a top five seed.
Both of these teams have something to prove and something to play for. This nationally televised game will be the talk of the town when this one is all said an done.
You can follow me on Twitter during the game @GabeSalgado82 #Q101Sports