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It’s the height of college basketball season, and since the conference tournaments wrapped up last week, eligible teams are preparing to compete in March Madness. One of the most dominant conferences in basketball this season, as always, was the Big Ten, and their conference tournament was a wild ride, so read on below for everything you need to know about what happened.
The TL;DR of this year’s Big Ten Tournament is that Iowa beat Purdue for the win and the trophy. The final score of Saturday’s championship game was 75-66. Last year’s tournament champ Illinois was the two-seed in the tournament and lost to Indiana.
Prior to this year’s tournament, Iowa had won four total games in the Big Ten tournament in the last 10 years. This year was their first tournament win since 2006, so fans were certainly excited by the game and hoping this could be a crucial pivot in the future of Hawkeyes basketball.
Iowa’s sophomore forward Keegan Murray had a team-high 19 points and 11 rebounds, significantly contributing to the victory. Murray has been a powerhouse for Iowa this season, improving significantly from his freshman year.
Murray was a bench player all year last year, and Hawkeye fans have enjoyed seeing his growth. Earlier in the Big Ten tournament, he broke the single-season scoring record left by Luke Garza, who left Iowa’s team at the end of last season, and he was recently nominated for the Naismith Trophy, one of the most prestigious awards a college basketball player can receive.
Big contributions from the whole team
Although Murray had a stellar game, the whole Iowa team stepped up to the plate to secure the trophy. Eight different Iowa players scored at least four points, with standout performances from Tony Perkins and Payton Sandfort as well.
Iowa’s team has become a dominant force in college basketball over the course of this season and is currently ranked number 16 in the AP polls.
On the other side of the floor, Jaden Ivey played a great game for Purdue. Even though his team didn’t come away with the victory, Ivey put up an impressive 20 points, three rebounds, and six assists.
The Purdue Boilermakers have had a good season with a 27-7 record, and despite the loss, they are still ranked higher than the Hawkeyes in the AP Polls and in the March Madness tournament seeding.
March Madness coming up
Both Iowa and Purdue have had excellent seasons this year which has earned them a 5th seed and a 3rd seed, respectively, in this year’s March Madness tournament. The Big Ten conference as a whole had a phenomenal year, with nine teams that will be competing in March Madness. This fact gives the Big Ten more teams in the tournament bracket than any other conference.
Both teams, as well as the seven other Big Ten teams in the bracket, look like they have a good shot at a championship run, so Big Ten sports fans will be excited to see how March Madness plays out!