Nebraska scores important Class of 2017 commitment from four-star guard Thomas Allen

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Nebraska landed an important commitment from the Class of 2017 on Friday as four-star guard Thomas Allen is heading to Lincoln next season.

The 6-foot-1 guard is considered the No. 99 overall prospect by Rivals in the national Class of 2017 rankings as Allen was previously committed to N.C. State before head coach Mark Gottfried was fired.

A scorer with a good amount of skill, Allen has a chance to come in and make an immediate impact at Nebraska as he can play a bit on or off the ball. Allen should help offset the loss of senior Tai Webster in the Husker backcourt.

Allen joins wing Nana Akenten in Nebraska’s Class of 2017 recruiting efforts.

Nebraska loses forward Michael Jacobson to transfer

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Nebraska is losing another starter to transfer as forward Michael Jacobson will play elsewhere next season, according to a release from the school.

The 6-foot-9 sophomore will have two years of eligibility remaining after sitting out a season due to NCAA transfer regulations. Jacobson started all 31 games last season and averaged 6.0 points and 6.2 rebounds per game while playing 24.0 minutes per game.

“After much deliberation, I have made the decision to transfer,” Jacobson said in the release. “This was a very difficult decision for me, but I feel it is necessary at this time. I want to thank the Nebraska fans for their incredible support. I also want to say thank you to Coach Miles and his staff, my teammates and the Athletics Department. I will always be grateful for the opportunity I was given here at Nebraska.”

“I support Michael in his decision to transfer,” Nebraska head coach Tim Miles said in the release. “Although I am disappointed, we’ve appreciated his hard work in our program over the last two seasons. Michael and I have had numerous discussions regarding his role and what position he would be playing for us in the future. After a lot of thought, Michael decided to find a new school.  I understand and respect his decision.”

Nebraska has lost Jacobson and forward Ed Morrow Jr. to transfer this offseason as it will be tough for the Huskers to replace that much experience in the front court.

March Madness 2017: Big Ten Tournament Preview, Bracket and Conference Postseason Awards

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Big Ten Player of the Year: Caleb Swanigan, Purdue

A no-brainer for this award, Swanigan posted a ridiculous 25 double-doubles this season while averaging 18.7 points and 12.7 rebounds per game. Nearly unguardable in the post without a double team at the college level, Swanigan has expanded his offensive game as he hurts defenses from every level of the floor. A 44 percent three-point shooter who also makes 79 percent of his free throws, Swanigan has rare touch for a player his size.

Big Ten Coach of the Year: Richard Pitino, Minnesota

Minnesota looked like they might be in serious trouble entering this season but Pitino has done a remarkable job of helping turn things around while saving his job. After only eight Big Ten wins the last two seasons, the Golden Gophers finished with 11 Big Ten wins this season as they finished in fourth place. Mixing veterans, transfers and true freshmen, Minnesota has a top-15 defense and the future looks solid.

First-Team All-Big Ten:

  • Caleb Swanigan, Purdue (POY)
  • Melo Trimble, Maryland: The Terps lost four starters but Trimble (16.9 ppg, 3.7 apg, 3.4 rpg) was once again one of the nation’s most clutch players. Trimble scored Maryland’s game-winning points five times in the final 30 seconds this season.
  • Ethan Happ, Wisconsin: Happ clearly emerged as Wisconsin’s best player this season, putting up 13.9 points, 9.0 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game. Defensively, Happ is perhaps the Big Ten’s best player.
  • Peter Jok, Iowa: One of the nation’s best offensive players, Jok scored in bunches (2o.2 ppg) but also improved his all-around game (5.7 rpg, 2.7 apg) while leading the Big Ten in free-throw percentage at 92 percent.
  • Derrick Walton Jr., Michigan: Finally healthy for a full season, Walton was brilliant in his senior season as he gets a slight nod over Nate Mason. Walton had good numbers (14.5 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 4.5 apg) and was very efficient (43% FG, 41% 3PT, 85% FT)

Second Team All-Big Ten:

  • Nate Mason, Minnesota
  • Miles Bridges, Michigan State
  • Tai Webster, Nebraska
  • Malcolm Hill, Illinois
  • Bryant McIntosh, Northwestern

RELATED: Player of the Year | Coach of the Year | NBC Sports All-Americans

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The Big Ten Tournament moves east to Washington D.C. for the first time this season as it will be very intriguing to see which fanbases travel to catch this event.

As for the tournament action itself, this has been a strange year for the Big Ten.

Since the committee didn’t give the Big Ten a top-four seed during February’s early bracket reveal, we know that the conference likely has work to do to get even one top-four seed. With the way Purdue has played lately, they have the best chance to win this event and gain a respectable seed, but the Big Ten is going to have to prove itself in March with some pretty undesirable seeds.

The Bracket 

When: March 8-12

Where: Verizon Center, Washington D.C.

Final: Sunday, March 12, 3 p.m. EST

Favorite: Purdue

The Boilermakers are the easy favorite for this event as they won the Big Ten regular season by two full games and enter this week as winners of eight of their last nine games. With the Big Ten’s best player in Caleb Swanigan and a great supporting cast that was built to play around Swanigan’s unique skillset, the Boilers are motivated to earn a better NCAA tournament seed by winning this event. Matt Painter made that clear in the postgame interview following the Northwestern win.

And if they lose?: Wisconsin

Based solely on recent play, Wisconsin has no business being in the title conversation this week. The Badgers had lost five of six games before Sunday’s win over Minnesota as they went into a freefall. But the rest of the Big Ten is still very mediocre and Wisconsin has a veteran group that knows how to win in tournament settings. The win over the Golden Gophers was convincing enough that Wisconsin might have figured things out just in time.

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JANUARY 21: Reggie Lynch #22 of the Minnesota Golden Gophers fouls Ethan Happ #22 of the Wisconsin Badgers while shooting the ball during the second half of the game on January 21, 2017 at Williams Arena in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Ethan Happ (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

Other Contenders:

  • Maryland: As long as Melo Trimble is on the floor, you can’t count out Maryland. One of the nation’s elite guards is still great in close games and he has plenty of talent around him.
  • Minnesota: The Big Ten’s biggest surprise has an elite defense anchored by Reggie Lynch, one of the nation’s best shot blockers, and an offense led by breakout guard Nate Mason.

Sleeper: Iowa

The Hawkeyes have quietly crept into the bubble picture by winning four straight — including impressive road wins at Wisconsin and Maryland. The Big Ten Tournament draw also happens to lay out very nicely for Iowa. Potential matchups in the first three rounds come against Indiana, Wisconsin and Maryland — three of the four teams Iowa just beat. With something to play for, a potent star senior scorer in Peter Jok and a favorable draw, Iowa could be a team to watch in D.C.

The Bubble Dwellers:

  • Illinois: A shocking road loss to Rutgers might leave Illinois out either way. A win over Michigan in the first round has to happen at the very least and Illinois might even have to beat No. 1 seed Purdue to get in.
  • Iowa: If Iowa beats Indiana and gets the best of the Badgers again in the quarterfinals then they might be dancing.

Defining moment of the season: The Big Ten didn’t have a lot of great moments this season but Purdue clinching the Big Ten title against rival Indiana on Senior Day was pretty cool.

CBT Prediction: Purdue over Wisconsin

Wooden Legacy bracket announced

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Thursday morning the match-ups for the 2016 Wooden Legacy were announced, an eight-team event that includes programs such as UCLA, Dayton, Texas A&M and Virginia Tech. Of the eight teams in the field just two made NCAA tournament appearances last season, Dayton and Texas A&M. Both were eliminated by eventual Final Four participants, with Dayton falling to Syracuse in the first round and Texas A&M losing to Oklahoma in the Sweet 16.

The Wooden Legacy will run from November 24-27, with each team being guaranteed three games and the event taking a day off Saturday, November 26. The first two days of games will be played at Titan Gym on the campus of Cal State Fullerton, with the final round scheduled for the Honda Center in Anaheim.

There will also be one unbracketed game in the Wooden Legacy, with UCLA hosting CSUN Sunday, November 13 at Pauley Pavilion.

Thursday, November 24 (all times Eastern)
2:00 p.m.: Texas A&M vs. CSUN
4:30 p.m.: New Mexico vs. Virginia Tech
8:30 p.m.: Dayton vs. Nebraska
11:00 p.m.: Portland vs. UCLA

Friday, November 25
3:00 p.m.: Consolation #1
5:30 p.m.: Semifinal #1
9:30 p.m.: Consolation #2
Midnight: Semifinal #2

Sunday, November 27
2:00 p.m.: 5th Place Game
4:30 p.m.: 3rd Place Game
8:30 p.m.: Championship Game
11:00 p.m.: 7th Place Game

Vince Edwards’ 20 leads No. 15 Boilers over Nebraska 81-62

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LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) Vince Edwards scored 20 points and A.J. Hammons had 12 of his 16 points in the second half, leading No. 15 Purdue to an 81-62 victory over Nebraska on Tuesday night.

The Boilermakers (23-7, 11-6) ended a three-game road losing streak and moved into a tie with Ohio State for sixth in the Big Ten. The Cornhuskers (14-16, 6-11) lost their fourth straight.

Shavon Shields scored a season-high 32 points on his senior night for Nebraska.

Purdue used its superior height to dunk eight times and outscored the Huskers 40-28 in the paint. The Boilermakers shot 65 percent in the second half and pulled away after Nebraska pulled within eight points.

Nebraska was within 52-44 with 12 minutes left before the third of Hammons’ five dunks started a 10-2 run that put Purdue up 60-46.

The Boilermakers opened an early 21-point lead and looked as if it would make this one a runaway. Edwards drilled consecutive 3-pointers and scored 10 of his 12 first-half points during a 23-4 run that made it 30-9.

But Shields, who scored 25 points in a loss at Penn State last Thursday in his first game back from a concussion, scored the first seven points and 15 in all during a 24-11 spurt that cut it to 41-33 at halftime.

Nebraska started 3 for 16 from the field but hit 10 of its next 15 shots to make it a game entering the second half.

Purdue won the teams’ first meeting 89-74 on Jan. 30, with its centers combining for 45 points. The 7-foot Hammons had a season-high 32 in that game, 7-2 reserve Isaac Haas had 13 and the Boilermakers dunked seven times.

On Tuesday, Hammons picked up a couple of quick fouls and was limited to 6 minutes in the first half. Haas had all eight of his points in the first half and played only 2 minutes in the second.

The Boilermakers, shooting 36 percent for the season from 3-point range, got two 3s apiece from Edwards, Mathias and Ryan Cline and finished 7 of 15 from beyond the arc.

Tai Webster had nine points and eight rebounds for Nebraska. Andrew White III scored four points and was held out of double figures in consecutive games for the first time this season.

TIP-INS

Purdue: The Boilermakers won in Lincoln for first time since 2012-13. … Purdue has won 37 of last 38 games when attempting more free throws than the opponent. … Hammons has scored 10 or more points in 11 straight games.

Nebraska: Shields and Benny Parker, who has played in all 126 games in his career, were honored during a Senior Night ceremony before the game. … White needs one point to become the 14th Nebraska player to score 500 in a season. … Shields has scored in double figures in 12 straight games, the longest stretch of his career. … The Huskers have played nine ranked opponents, fourth-most in program history.

UP NEXT

Purdue hosts Wisconsin on Sunday.

Nebraska visits Northwestern on Sunday.

Stone, Trimble lift No. 4 Maryland to 70-65 win over Huskers

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LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) Freshman Diamond Stone had 16 points, 10 rebounds and a season-high eight blocks, and No. 4 Maryland held off Nebraska 70-65 on Wednesday night.

Melo Trimble had 14 of his 20 points in the second half as the Terrapins overcame a slew of turnovers to remain a half-game behind conference co-leaders Indiana and Iowa.

Stone dunked off an assist from Trimble to give the Terps (20-3, 9-2 Big Ten) the lead for good, 60-58, and he dunked again after rebounding Jake Layman’s missed free throw to make it 66-61 with 2 minutes to play.

The Huskers were within three points when Trimble put the game away with two free throws with 8.2 seconds left.

Andrew White III had 19 points and nine rebounds to lead Nebraska (12-11, 4-6). Shavon Shields was just 4 of 17 from the field and finished with 11 points and seven rebounds.

Maryland committed 18 turnovers, its most in a conference game this season, but the Huskers converted them into only nine points. Nebraska was unable to overcome its season-worst 31.8-percent shooting.

The Terps blocked a season-high 13 shots.

Nebraska was within 68-65 with 35 seconds left when Shields fouled Stone, an 81 percent free-throw shooter. Stone missed his third straight free throw of the game, though, but he was able to block Shields’ layup try at the other end.

After White missed what would have been a tying 3-point attempt, Layman came up with the rebound. Trimble was fouled and shot the clinching free throws.

The Terps had lots of chances to put away the game but couldn’t against a Nebraska team that has dropped four of five Big Ten home games.

Maryland turned the ball over 13 times in the first half and mostly got away with it because of Nebraska’s poor shooting. The Huskers brought the crowd to their feet when White dunked a lob from Benny Parker to tie it 27-27. After Layman’s hook-shot air ball, Jake Hammond made a free throw to put Nebraska in front by a point, but Stone’s jumper from the free throw line gave the Terrapins a 29-28 halftime lead.

TIP-INS

Maryland: Stone has scored in double figures in 16 of the past 19 games. … The Terps lead the nation in wins (19-2) in games decided by six points or less the past two seasons. … They entered the game as the only team in Big Ten to have five players averaging 10 or more points.

Nebraska: The Huskers were assessed a bench technical early in second half after Trimble stripped the ball from Shields right in front of coach Tim Miles. … They matched their season low with six turnovers and have had 10 or fewer in five straight games. … Glynn Watson Jr. has scored 10 or more points in seven straight games.

UP NEXT

Maryland hosts No. 18 Purdue on Saturday.

Nebraska hosts Rutgers on Saturday.