Courtesy of MCT
CHICAGO–Brandon Paul waited calmly at the top of the key, watching the seconds tick down before making his move. The Illinois senior guard then dribbled hard to the left elbow, crossed over, stepped back and hit a fadeaway jumper as the clock expired.
The thousands of fans in attendance at the United Center-except for those wearing Minnesota gear-let out a roar, and the 2013 Big Ten tournament in Chicago was fully underway
Paul’s jumper gave the Illini a 51-49 win against the Gophers, starting the four-game first round with a bang similar to many that occurred during the regular season of the nation’s most competitive conference.
Michigan 83, Penn State 66
The No. 6-ranked Wolverines beat the Nittany Lions behind sophomore guard and Big Ten Player of the Year Trey Burke’s 21 points. Michigan, which stumbled against Penn State in State College, Pa., on Feb. 27, shot 46 percent from the field and outrebounded their opponent, 34-28.
Nebraska 57, Purdue 55
Nebraska managed to withstand a late rally from Purdue to hang on and advance to the tournament’s second round. Freshman guard Shavon Shields guided Nebraska with 19 points in the program’s first-ever win in the Big Ten tournament in their second year in the conference. Conversely, Purdue senior D.J. Byrd had 15 points in what might be his last game to don the Black and Gold.
Iowa 73, Northwestern 59
Iowa jumped out to an early lead in the first half against Northwestern and rode such momentum to a convincing win despite just shooting 37 percent from the floor. The Hawkeyes, though, blasted the Wildcats on the boards, 44-27, en-route to a date with Michigan State Friday.
No. 1 seed Indiana vs. No. 8 seed Illinois, 12 p.m.
No. 4 seed Wisconsin vs. No. 5 seed Michigan, 25 minutes after IU-Ill.
No. 2 seed Ohio State vs. No. 10 seed Nebraska, 6:30 p.m.
No. 3 seed Michigan State vs. No. 6 seed Iowa, 25 minutes after OSU-Neb.