Big Ten Conference (27-5, 14-4)
With four clear-cut big-dancers, the Big Ten oozes front-end quality. But with lower-seeded teams providing late season scares to perennial powers – see Michigan State barely escaping Penn State in East Lansing last week - look for some drama to unfold this Thursday thru Sunday in Indianapolis.
Bad news hit West Lafayette and Columbia on Thursday afternoon, with Purdue's Robbie Hummel and Missouri's Justin Safford both going down for the remainder of the season with torn ACLs. The more important ligament on a national level: clearly that would be Hummel's, and his injury could be the difference in seed lines for the Boilermakers. Many have used Kenyon Martin's broken leg back in 2000 as the comparison to Purdue losing Hummel, but that's a bit off when you further examine the cases.
The first significant happening on The Road to the Final Four may have taken place in Minneapolis on Wednesday night depending upon the results of an MRI on Thursday. Purdue forward Robbie Hummel went down with a knee injury in the first half and was unable to return to action. Seemingly in control of the game at that point, the Boilermakers fell victim to a Golden Gopher run to take the lead and Minnesota led by as many as nine in the second half.
It should have come as no surprise that Purdue big man JaJuan Johnson was ready to make amends for a disappointing outing in the first meeting between the Boilermakers and Buckeyes. Johnson scored just four points before fouling out, powerless to help his team hold off the hard-charging Evan Turner in what ended up being an Ohio State victory. No such luck this time around as he and his teammates came out hot, making their first six shots on the way to building a 36-23 halftime lead.
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