The final is now set in what has been a crazy Big Ten Tournament.
It will be a #1 and #10 seed squaring off in the Big Ten Tournament final, and that is the most fitting ending with how the Big Ten regular season went.
Takeaway #1: Zach Edey is still dominant
Zach Edey went for 32 points, 14 rebounds, and 3 assists in the 80-66 win over Ohio State. He reminded everyone once again why he is the National Player of the Year. As Purdue slid a bit toward the end, I think people (including me) forgot how much of a matchup nightmare Edey is if teams don’t have an elite big. I think Felix Okpara has a really bright future for Ohio State, but he was their only legitimate option for guarding Edey, and Edey still handled him a lot. This was a 32-point performance that very easily could have been 40 points if a couple of bounces went his way. Teams have to gameplan 2-3 defenders for Edey, and even that is sometimes not enough.
The bench also is really starting to round into form for Purdue. David Jenkins and Ethan Morton have been playing phenomenally, TKR has played really well in his minutes, and I thought Caleb Furst provided really good energy. Braden Smith and Brandon Newman both played really well. Fletcher Loyer has struggled as of late, but I think he is the most likely person to have a random 5-for-8 game from 3. Overall, Purdue has individuals playing some of their best basketball, and that is paired with the best player in college basketball, Zach Edey.
Ohio State put up a good fight for the first 10 minutes, shooting a blistering 7-for-10 from downtown in the first half. Their freshman trio really showed out, and there is a lot to be excited about next season for the Buckeyes after this run in the Big Ten Tournament.
Takeaway #2: Penn State is legit
Penn State came into the Big Ten Tournament on the bubble. Now they will enter the postseason as one of the most feared lower seeds. Penn State has used three straight clutch performances to get to the championship, highlighted by a 77-73 win over Indiana. They almost let the lead slip late but were able to do enough earlier to hang on.
This was not a blistering 3-point performance that seems almost routine for the Nittany Lions. They went 8-for-23 from deep, but they out-rebounded the Hoosiers and made life tough on a lot of IU’s shooters. I thought they game planned pretty well, and Indiana seemed scared at times to try and force-feed Trayce Jackson-Davis. Jalen Pickett showed why he is an All-American with 28 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists. Seth Lundy has been one of the best second options in the Big Ten, and he had 16 points and 6 rebounds.
They are going to have to figure out a way to slow down Zach Edey in the Big Ten Tournament Championship. If they can “limit” him, Penn State has more than enough shooting in their entire roster plus a superstar in Pickett that could lead them to a banner.