Bubble watch week
Published 8:52 am Tuesday, March 7, 2017
The Big Ten dominated Sunday’s schedule and two bubble teams that needed wins got them.
Iowa (18-13, 10-8) started the conference season 3-5 but turned things around, a trend that continued with a 90-79 victory over Penn State. It would do the Hawkeyes well to definitely win one, maybe even a second game in the Big Ten Tournament.
Michigan (20-11, 10-8) was in much better shape than Iowa, but the Wolverines added a 93-57 mashing of Nebraska to close the season.
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Minnesota seemed likely to make the tournament field, but a win over Wisconsin would have been a great way to end the regular season. The Gophers fell 66-49.
The Gophers rebounded from an eight-win season in 2015-16 to where they didn’t have to worry about being on the bubble.
“We will get excited about where we sit right now because that’s in a great spot,” coach Richard Pitino said.
The other Big Ten team that lost in a bubble-breaking situation was Northwestern, which fell 69-65 to No. 16 Purdue. The Wildcats (21-10, 10-8) have become a fan favorite as they wait for the call to their first ever NCAA Tournament.
“We don’t take anything for granted, we don’t feel our ticket is punched until we see it on Sunday,” guard Bryant McIntosh said.
Bubble talk took a rest on Monday when none of the power conferences played. Things will heat up again quickly today when the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament gets underway.