NEW YORK -- Thanks for checking in with the notebook one more time here. For a look at the Michigan angle of Sunday's Big Ten title game,.
Let's look at Purdue over in these parts. Even with the 75-66 loss to the Wolverines, the Boilermakers will be slotted higher in the selection committee's seed list than U of M. It is, still, the second-best team in the Big Ten over the course of this season.
After Purdue's win on Saturday against Penn State, coach Matt Painter was talking about their game against U of M back in January. He was surprised they wound up scoring 92 on Michigan then. Prior to Sunday's game, Painter also told me he was expecting a close one, with the winner scoring right about 70 points.
He was pretty close. Michigan was five north of 70, Purdue four south of that number.
"They pose a lot of problems for us," Painter said. "Wagner really puts us in a bind."
Wagner won Big Ten Most Outstanding Player. He was on the court only 17 minutes Sunday, but each one of those minutes must have felt like a trip to the dentist. Wagner, who easily qualifies as one of the best big men in college basketball, scored a point for every minute he was on the floor, shooting 7-for-11.
Here's some more vision from Painter. Again, this was what he said on Saturday.
"I think any time you deal so much on the perimeter you're not going to always score at a high clip because you put so much value into your 3s," Painter said.
Purdue shot 4 of 17 from deep.
The man knows his team. Knows it well. Purdue was short of a title but still will enter the NCAA Tournament built to make a Final Four. This senior class of Vincent Edwards, Isaac Haas, Dakota Mathias and P.J. Thompson has eclipsed 5,000 career points, 2,000 rebounds and 1,150 assists. The NCAA Tournament fate of the Boilermakers will come down to the consistency of Vincent Edwards, the tone-setting leadership of Carsen Edwards, and the team's 3-point shooting. Purdue's 42.4 percent clip from beyond the arc heading into Sunday was No. 1 in college basketball. Any team that dangerous from deep -- and with five players shooting 40 percent or better from far out -- can get to San Antonio this season.
The question I posed to Painter on Sunday night was: Is a loss like this a good psychological motivator for this particularly team? Will it benefit them to sit on this loss for 11-12 days?
"You don't know the answer to that," Painter said. "We all know when you lose and you don't put your best foot forward, it does put you on edge. Sometimes winning doesn't. You shoot well, you take 10 days off and now you're going to go into a different setting and shoot well. We have to be able to watch the tape, be honest with ourselves and play better when we go out there."
Big Ten tourney awards
Most Outstanding Player: Moe Wagner, Michigan
Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman, Michigan
Carsen Edwards, Purdue
Tony Carr, Penn State
Corey Sanders, Rutgers
Michigan State hoping to stay on the 2 line
Michigan State felt like it should have been in Sunday's Big Ten tournament title game.
But the Spartans, who led Michigan by 3 at halftime of Saturday's semifinal, couldn't get past the Wolverines on Saturday and lost 75-64. A big reason for that was the Spartans shooting 7 of 25 from 3-point range. Miles Bridges (17 points, seven rebounds) had a good all-around game, but the Spartans were let down by lackluster long-distance shooting and a few times when they didn't get a hand in Michigan shooters' faces.
The Wolverines had five 3-pointers in the second half that helped keep a cushion on MSU.
And now the Spartans have lost their shot at a No. 1 seed. A 29-4 record is really good, but the reality of MSU's profile is the team's 3-4 in Quadrant 1 games.
"The outside chance Michigan State had to be a 1 is now gone," said CBS Sports Bracketology expert Jerry Palm. "The committee showed us in February that they were not impressed with the Spartans' schedule when they had them as a 3-seed in their top 16 reveal. MSU has stacked up wins since then, but has only played one game against a likely tournament team. That game was today's loss to Michigan."
Slipping to the 3 line is on the table for MSU, depending on how Auburn, Cincinnati and Tennessee fare in their league tournaments. Tom Izzo's now staring down a 12- or 13-day layoff, obviously the longest pre-NCAA Tournament hiatus of his career. Izzo was asked about this break at his press conference on Saturday.
"I don't know what I'm going to do," he said. "And the best part is we're on spring break next week. So we might just go to the beach, East Lansing, and see if we can play a little beach basketball and -- we're going to do something. We talked about doing something in Chicago and going over and seeing [Denzel Valentine] play. We might go down and see the Pistons or do something as a team."
"I mean, it will be one time in my life the NCAA has no rules on us," Izzo continued. "We're on break and we don't have any games. That doesn't happen very often. In fact, it's never happened to me. So knowing me, I'm going to take advantage of that."
Big Ten tournament an indisputable success
Here's a fact: Saturday's Michigan State-Michigan/Purdue-Penn State doubleheader marked the first time in four years that a Big Ten session sold out of tickets. That's validation enough for league commissioner Jim Delany, who took a lot of heat over his push to get the Big Ten bracket in the Big Apple a week earlier than usual.
So yeah, Carsen Edwards is basically me staring down anyone still hellbent on criticizing the league for this decision.
The atmosphere in and around Madison Square Garden this week has been every bit on the level that we see annually for the Big East tournament, too.
Delany's decision to put the Big Ten tourney in the Big Apple was an out-and-out success. Obviously fans of the league want the tournament to rotate between Chicago, Indianapolis and Detroit. But if contracts can been maneuvered, I would not be surprised to see the Big Ten back in New York (in Brooklyn?) within the next decade. From pretty much everyone I spoke with on the Big Ten side of things over the past five days, four words sum up the conference's feelings on the MSG experiment: This was worth it.
MSG is unkind to Chris Holtmann's career
Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann would be fine with never again coaching in Madison Square Garden in early March.
Not only is Holtmann 0-4 in his career in conference tournament play at the World's Most Famous Arena, but every single loss has come as a result of his team having a bye. Second-seeded Ohio State was knocked off, 69-68, by No. 7 Penn State after Tony Carr found Josh Reaves on this gorgeous play in the closing seconds of their Friday night quarterfinal.
Here’s how that looked from the opposite baseline. pic.twitter.com/ER8r4MeN3q— Matt Norlander (@MattNorlander) March 3, 2018
Holtmann told CBS Sports afterward that, athletically, Penn State was a bad matchup for Ohio State -- as has been the case all season. In fact, one NBA scout told Holtmann that PSU is the second most impressive team, physically, in the Big Ten. Ohio State has won many more games than originally expected this season for a few reasons, but its team's athleticism is not high on the list. Against the Nittany Lions, Ohio State ran a stagnated offense around the perimeter and got beat on the offensive boards a lot.
"We did not have an answer for Carr," Holtmann also said.
Carr had 25 points, six rebounds and five assists. He was tremendous, and a big counter for what was the strongest game in weeks for OSU's Keita Bates-Diop.
Ohio State (24-8) now endures a long wait until its next game, in the NCAA Tournament. The Buckeyes likely fall to the 5 line. Holtmann told me he has already consulted with Brad Stevens about the prep for such a wait; Stevens dealt with this a few times back when Butler was in the Horizon League and had to wait almost two weeks before tipping in the NCAAs.
For Ohio State, the critical thing is not to rely on Keita Bates-Diop to bail out the entire team. The Big Ten Player of the Year had 25 points to match Carr, but a major factor in OSU's loss was a rash of contested 3s late in the shot clock. Without imposing guards, Penn State won the body battle. Plus, Bates-Diop was stripped by Shep Garner on the possession before PSU took the lead. Guard play will be why OSU could struggle to make a deep run in the NCAAs.
As for Penn State ...
- The Nittany Lions are 3-0 this season against Ohio State. The Buckeyes figure to be a 5 seed, a 6 at worst. So here's a wonderment I have: How many times has a 5 seed or better ever lost three times in the same season to a team that didn't make the NCAA Tournament?
- With its loss to Purdue, Penn State has a chance but probably not a very good on. It's 3-8 in Quadrant 1 performance, 2-2 in Q2, and it has three losses total in Q3 and Q4.
- Carr massively helped his draft stock and overall reputation in recent months. His body language and on-floor demeanor have picked up. With this, Penn State's become a viable threat in the league. Carr's a fun talent -- and he hasn't scraped his ceiling. Unfortunately, he looked fatigued on Saturday against the Boilermakers. As he went, so went Penn State. Making the semis was a nice step forward for this team anyway.
- Pat Chambers said Saturday that he believes his team will be in. Few bracket projections agree with that.
Rutgers' ride was a great bonus
Delany rankled a lot of Big Ten traditionalists by opting to move the league's tournament east. Last year it was in Washington, D.C. Now, New York. Rutgers is the only team local to the area, and even still, Piscataway is an hour's commute from Manhattan. Nevertheless, things worked out splendidly for Delany, the Big Ten and Rutgers fans.
Scarlet Knight backers bought up a lot of tickets and were plenty loud on Thursday and Friday. Rutgers -- remember, the 14 seed in this bracket -- fell 82-75 to No. 3 Purdue.
"I love the crowd," Rutgers coach Steve Pikiell said. "I'm glad people came out. It was a tough weather night, too. So I think you're getting a dose of what we can be at Rutgers. I'm so excited about the future. I really am. And we're going to get better and better."
By going 2-1 from the 14 line in this tournament, Rutgers fans are going to expect a bump next season in year No. 3 for Pikiell. Maybe not even a single-digit seed in the 2019 league tournament, but certainly 10th or 11th. Even that is progress. And hopefully Corey Sanders is back in an RU uniform next season. Talk about a fun player and a potential breakout guy for 2018-19.
Wisconsin's streak is over
The first matchup of Friday at MSG was Michigan State-Wisconsin, with Sparty holding on, 63-60. The outcome dropped Wisconsin to 15-18, officially bringing an end to Bucky's streak of 19 straight NCAA Tournament performances. It's going to be weird to see an NCAA Tournament without Wisconsin in the field, but the fact this program has built itself into a near-automatic in the modern era -- after being an also-ran for much of the 20th century, is worth pointing out.
Wisconsin coach Greg Gard, who has been with the program since 2001, had a great quote when asked to reflect on the accomplishment of 19 years and disappoint of 2018.
"We've never talked about a streak," he said. "I don't get caught up into streaks. I understand that. But how about admiring the great string that's been put together? That's pretty dang impressive. I think the next one, I know Michigan State has one, Kansas has one. Duke maybe has one. Gonzaga has one. Then I saw the next closest was seven years. After that, Iowa State and somebody else has, Cincinnati maybe that has it at seven years. How about applauding those 19 teams that were able to make it. I'll tell you what, there's a lot more that could go wrong than can go right. If you have injuries or have things happen at the wrong time to you, there's a lot of teams would have -- 400-some Division I teams and we're only one of four or five that have strings this long.
"I think we reflect back and admire the coaches and the players and the tradition that's been established and appreciate that. Because that's pretty special. Nineteen years in a row is hard. And obviously there's a few that -- Michigan State has a string that's going at 20 or something like that. But that's hard to do. And our goal will be to try to get back there next year not where the idea that we're going to start 19 in a row again. Let's just do the best we can do to get ready for next year, try to win the Big Ten Championship and take that process-oriented approach."
Going forward, Wisconsin could be a top-25 team come the preseason. Almost everyone is expected to come back. Ethan Happ, if he stays, will be a senior and probable All-America choice. Gard will have the pieces, and pressure, to get back to the NCAAs.
Nebraska almost certainly headed to the NIT
I spent some time one on one with Tim Miles after Nebraska's 77-58 loss to Michigan on Friday. The Cornhuskers are probably a top-40 team in America. The problem is they definitely don't have a top-40 resume, and against Michigan they didn't put on a convincing performance in defeat. For a longer look at how Nebraska got to this point -- some of it by things out of its control --.
Early rounds news and notes
- Northwestern was expected to compete on that second tier of the Big Ten this season. Instead, the Wildcats end their 2017-18 run as a 15-17 program, easily qualifying as a massive letdown. This team got to the second round of last year's NCAA Tournament, the school's first Big Dance showing. Something was clearly amiss with team chemistry, but nonetheless, Bryant McIntosh, Scottie Lindsey and Vic Law leave as seniors who established history for the program. Next season with be Chris Collins' sixth with the school.
- How about this for an incredible stat: In 2014, Archie Miller coached Dayton to a tie for fifth place finish in the Atlantic 10. The Flyers got an at-large bid that season and went on to the Elite Eight. This season, Miller's first at Indiana, had a sixth-place finish in the Big Ten. But the Hoosiers, who stunned 76-69 by Rutgers on Thursday, went 16-15 and will not be playing in the postseason. Miller said after Indiana's loss that he would be surprised if an NIT invite came, and obviously Indiana is not going to accept to play in the CBI or CIT.
- The Iowa Hawkeyes had a rough season, going 14-19 and winning only four games in the league. Iowa's best win out of Big Ten play came on a neutral floor against UAB, which will struggle to reach the NIT. Coach Fran McCaffrey isn't going anywhere. Iowa awarded him earlier in the season with a contract extension through 2023. His current buyout is more than $10 million.
- The Big Ten had a down year in part because programs like Maryland didn't pull through despite having the talent to do so. The Terps' season was impugned after their best player, Justin Jackson, was injured in early December. Maryland fell 59-54 in the second round to Wisconsin. Mark Turgeon has made three NCAA Tournament in seven seasons. Given what Maryland brings back, he deserves another year in College Park.
- Minnesota, statistically, qualifies as the most disappointing team in college hoops this season. The Gophers were a No. 5 seed in last year's NCAA Tournament, entered the year No. 15 in the AP poll, and wound up 15-17 with a one-and-done showing in Manhattan. Rutgers took out Minnesota 65-54 in the first round. The Gophers scored a season-low in their flop finale. Richard Pitino is 90-78 in five seasons with the school. There were also issues off the floor for Minnesota this season, and speculation about his job security has surfaced.
- Illinois, the 13 seed, lost in the opening round to Iowa, 96-87. Illini coach Brad Underwood went 14-18 in his first season with the program. It's by far his worst campaign as a head coach. Not only had Underwood never been under .500, but 2018 marks the first time he failed to coach a team to the NCAAs.
For the latest from Madison Square Garden, and frequent updates on the bubble and NCAA Tournament, we'll continue to provide updates, insight and interviews here at CBSSports.com and on CBS Sports HQ.