tom crean

How will Sunday’s games affect the top five seeds in the Big Ten tourney?

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The final day of the regular season is going to be thrilling for Big Ten fans.

There are four Big Ten games that are going to be played that day, involving all five teams with a shot at getting one of the top four seeds in the Big Ten tournament.

Here are the games:

  • No. 22 Wisconsin (11-6 B1G) at Penn State, 12:00 p.m. ET
  • Illinois at No. 14 Ohio State (12-5 B1G), 12:30 p.m. ET
  • No. 2 Indiana (13-4 B1G) at No. 7 Michigan (12-5 B1G), 4:00 p.m. ET
  • Northwestern at No. 10 Michigan State (12-5 B1G), 6:00 p.m. ET

And here is how the outcomes will affect the top five seeds, the top four of which get a bye:

INDIANA: Indiana has already locked up the No. 1 seed in the Big Ten tournament regardless of what happens on Sunday. If they win at Michigan, they are the outright Big Ten champs. But even if they lose, the Hoosiers just so happen to own all of the tiebreakers, regardless of how the other three games play out.


MICHIGAN: Michigan may have the most on the line on Sunday. Obviously, they have a share of the Big Ten title and, potentially, a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. If Michigan beats Indiana, they will be the No. 2 seed if Illinois beats Ohio State and the No. 3 seed if Ohio State beats Illinois. But if the Wolverines lose, they will be the No. 5 seed unless Wisconsin pulls a Michigan and loses at Penn State. The No. 2 or No. 3 seed means they avoid Indiana until the finals. That matters.

Michigan fans need to root for: ILLINOIS and PENN STATE


OHIO STATE: The Buckeyes control their own destiny. If they beat Illinois, they will be the No. 2 seed regardless of what else happens on Sunday.

If the Buckeyes lose: the only way they can still get the No. 2 seed is if Indiana beats Michigan AND Wisconsin loses to Penn State AND Michigan State loses to Northwestern. That’s probably not happening. What could end up happening, however, is the Ohio State falls all the way down to the No. 5 seed. There’s only one scenario where that plays out, but it is a long way from far-fetched: if Michigan beats Indiana AND Michigan State and Wisconsin both win. Minnesota’s loss on Wednesday would mean that the Badgers have a tiebreaker with the Buckeyes, and Ohio State would miss out on their bye.

Here are the rest of the possible outcomes:

  • If Indiana beats Michigan: Ohio State will be the No. 3 seed if Michigan State loses to Northwestern OR Wisconsin loses to Penn State. If both Michigan State AND Wisconsin win, the Buckeyes will be the No. 4 seed.
  • If Michigan beats Indiana: Ohio State will be the No. 3 seed if both Michigan State AND Wisconsin lose. They will be the No. 4 seed if either Michigan State OR Wisconsin wins. They will be the No. 5 seed if both Wisconsin AND Michigan State win.

Ohio State fans need to root for: INDIANA, PENN STATE, and NORTHWESTERN


Michigan State: Beating the Badgers on Thursday locked the Spartans into a first round bye, but then things start to get complicated:

  • If Indiana beats Michigan: the Spartans will fall no lower than a No. 3 seed. If Illinois also beats Ohio State, Michigan State is locked into the No. 2 seed as long as Wisconsin beats Penn State OR Michigan State beats Northwestern. If Ohio State beats Illinois, the Spartans will be the No. 3 seed whether they win or lose.
  • If Michigan beats Indiana: the Spartans will be the No. 4 seed unless Illinois beats Ohio State AND EITHER Wisconsin beats Penn State OR Michigan State beats Northwestern.

Michigan State fans need to root for: INDIANA, ILLINOIS, and WISCONSIN


WISCONSIN: If Wisconsin loses to Penn State, they will be 11-7 in the league and locked into that No. 5 seed in the Big Ten tournament. If they win, they are still going to need some help to climb their way into a first round bye.

  • If Michigan beats Indiana: the Badgers can only climb out of the No. 5 seed if Illinois beats Ohio State, Michigan State beats Northwestern. In that case, Wisconsin will have the tiebreaker with Ohio State thanks to Minnesota’s loss to Nebraska.
  • If Indiana beats Michigan: Wisconsin will be the No. 4 seed unless Illinois beats Ohio State AND Michigan State beats Northwestern. If that happens, they climb all the way up to the No. 3 seed.

Wisconsin fans need to root for: INDIANA, ILLINOIS and MICHIGAN STATE

(A huge h/t to The Only Colors for making this chart)

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

VIDEO: Kris Dunn wills Providence to win over No. 11 Arizona

Kris Dunn, Elliott Pitts
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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Kris Dunn spent the first 35 minutes of Friday night’s game against No. 11 Arizona in foul trouble, splitting his time between sitting on the bench and trying to avoid finding himself, again, on the wrong side the whistle.

With 11 minutes left in the game, and with Dunn yet to find a rhythm, the all-american point guard was whistled for his fourth foul as he battled for a rebound with Arizona’s Mark Tollefsen. Head coach Ed Cooley say his superstar beside his for six game minutes, time enough for Arizona to turn a 49-47 deficit into a 58-54 lead.

There were just over five minutes left when Dunn reentered the second semifinal of the Wooden Legacy, and he proceeded to show everyone in the country why he was named the Preseason Player of the Year. Providence had nine possessions after he reentered the game. Dunn scored 11 points and had a pair of assists on those eight possessions, and if Ben Bentil had stuck a wide-open three — that was setup by Dunn — the Friars would have scored on all nine.

In total, Dunn was responsible for all 15 Friar points in a game-changing, 15-7 run in the final 4:30. It was capped off by this Kobe-in-his-prime-esque game-winner:

The win for Providence is huge for a couple of reasons:

  • Dunn showed a killer instinct against a marquee opponent, something that we didn’t necessarily see out of him a season ago. He wasn’t going to let his team lose, and given that Providence doesn’t have anyone else that can consistently create good shots, they are going to need that from him a lot this year.
  • It makes a statement for the Friars. Arizona is overrated at No. 11 in the country, yes, but going out on national television against an elite program and getting this kind of performance from Dunn is a confidence-booster and a tone-setter. Providence hasn’t been accustomed to winning in recent years. This is a way to set a trend.
  • Ben Bentil continues to play like a star. Dunn had 19 points and eight assists on Friday, but Bentil followed up a 24-point performance in the win over Evansville with 21 critical points on Friday.

This win sets up a matchup between No. 3 Michigan State and Providence on Sunday night, which means that Denzel Valentine and Kris Dunn — the two best players in the country, sorry Ben Simmons — will be going head-to-head.

Oh. Hell. Yes.

No. 14 Cal goes 0-2 in Las Vegas Invitational

Jaylen Brown
AP Photo/Ben Margot
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After midnight on the east coast on Thanksgiving, No. 14 Cal blew a 15 point second half lead against San Diego State, allowing the Aztecs to use a 30-6 run to put away the game and advance to the final of the Las Vegas Invitational. That’s the same San Diego State team had scored 43 points in a loss to Arkansas-Little Rock last week.

Not 24 hours later, the Golden Bears were shredded defensively by the Richmond Spiders, losing 94-90 in the consolation game of a four-team tournament they were considered to be the heavy favorite in.

It’s a disappointing two-game stretch for Cal, who entered the season as a Pac-12 favorite and had looked the part for the first four games of the season.

And the issue appears to be on the defensive end of the floor.

Richmond is a good Atlantic 10 team. Terry Allen and Marshall Wood are high-major big men, Shawn’Dre Jones is a jitterbug at the point and Chris Mooney runs a Princeton-esque system that is very difficult to prepare for without a day in-between games. So it’s not really surprising that the Spiders gave Cal a fight.

But 94 points?

On the heels of giving up 44 points in the second half against the offensively-challenged Aztecs?

That’s a problem, one that I’m sure that Cuonzo Martin is going to address this week in practice. Martin has managed to put together a roster that is build for small-ball, with four talented perimeter players surrounding a first round pick in the post. But that’s not the style that he’s known for. Martin played his college ball at Purdue in the Gene Keady days. He cut his teeth as a head coach at Missouri State in the Missouri Valley. His team’s at Tennessee were known for being tough and physical defensively.

That’s how Martin coaches, which is part of the reason Cal had such hype entering the year.

The talents of Tyrone Wallace, Jaylen Brown, Ivan Rabb, Jabari Bird and Jordan Mathews on a team with a coach that gets teams to defend the way Martin does? It’s no surprise that pundits would be optimistic.

But as of now, they have some work to do defensively if they want to live up to that hype.