The 'Best of' the 2022 B1G Men's Basketball Tournament
What a tournament.
This week’s B1G Tournament from Indianapolis gave us our first taste of March Madness, and boy, was it fun. We were witnesses to everything over the last 5 days — buzzer beaters, upsets, double-digit comebacks and tremendous individual performances.
It really was a special tournament.
Now that it’s over and the Iowa Hawkeyes have been crowned B1G Tournament champions after a 75-66 win over Purdue on Sunday, let’s take a look back at the highlights from Gainbridge Fieldhouse.
Best player: Keegan Murray, Iowa
Nobody in the history of the B1G Tournament has put together a week like Keegan Murray. Literally.
Murray ended this week as the leading scorer in a single B1G Tournament. In his four games, he piled up a total of 103 points, shattering the previous record of 92 points, set by Ohio State’s Duane Washington Jr. last season.
Murray scored 26 points in each of his first two games against Northwestern and Rutgers. He dropped 32 in a win against Indiana and closed it out with a double-double, scoring 19 points and grabbing 11 rebounds in a 75-66 win over Purdue in the championship.
In four games, Murray averaged 25.8 points and 9 rebounds per game. That’s good enough to win B1G Tournament MVP honors any year. If he continues to play at this level, Iowa is going to be a tough team to beat in the NCAA Tournament.
Historic hoop 🙌
Keegan Murray just set the single-season #B1Gtourney record for most points (93).@keegan3murray // @IowaHoops pic.twitter.com/yHTGTkJ3Bo
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) March 13, 2022
Runner up: Trayce Jackson-Davis, Indiana
When Indiana needed someone to step up, Trayce Jackson-Davis delivered. For the tournament, the Indiana big man averaged 25.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per contest. Without him, the Hoosiers would’ve been nowhere close to making a run to the semifinal round of the B1G Tournament.
Best feel-good moment: Brandon Newman vs. Penn State
The sophomore guard from Purdue hadn’t played in a month. He hadn’t scored in nearly two months. When his name was called, though, Brandon Newman delivered.
Needing a spark in Purdue’s quarterfinal matchup against Penn State, Matt Painter called Newman’s number. Despite seeing very limited action, the guard came into the game and provided a much-needed boost. He was a perfect 4-of-4 from the floor, scoring 12 points in Purdue’s 69-61 victory.
1/17: Last time Brandon Newman scored.
2/10: Last time Brandon Newman played.
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The @BoilerBall G erupted for 7 quick points off the bench in the first half tonight. 🙌#B1Gtourney x @ballislife_219 pic.twitter.com/tapYI0oeQA
— Purdue On BTN (@PurdueOnBTN) March 12, 2022
Thanks to his efforts, Newman received a standing ovation from a favorable Boilermaker crowd at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. After the game, he said he was “at a loss for words” and that his performance was an “indescribable feeling.”
Talk about taking advantage of your opportunities.
Runner up: Micah Shrewsberry’s postgame comments on John Harrar, Jalen Pickett
All you have to do is watch this clip. You’ll love it.
March 15 will mark one year since @Coach_Shrews was hired.
The @PennStateMBB coach wasted no time developing close relationships with his players.
He got a little emotional talking about it Friday night.#B1Gtourney pic.twitter.com/hGFBqCiI4y
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) March 12, 2022
Best game: Iowa vs. Indiana
The semifinal matchup between Iowa and Indiana on Saturday had something for everyone. To sum it up, this matchup was as close to basketball nirvana as you’ll ever get at the college level.
Both stars — Keegan Murray and Trayce Jackson-Davis — were outstanding. Murray finished with 32 points, 9 rebounds and 3 assists while making 8-of-10 shots from behind the 3-point line. Jackson-Davis ended with 31 points on 15-of-21 from the floor, while collecting 10 rebounds and blocking 2 shots.
Indiana had a late lead but Iowa was able to make a run to tie it in the closing minutes. Then, Jordan Bohannon drilled a game-winning shot from way downtown to send the Hawkeyes to the B1G Tournament championship.
Saturday’s game between the Hoosiers and Hawkeyes was an instant classic. It wasn’t just one of the best games this year, it was one of the best in the history of the tournament.
Runner up: Take your pick
Seriously, 13 games were played in Indianapolis — 11 were decided by single digits, 8 were decided by 6 points or fewer and 4 were 1-possession games. That’s an incredible week of hoops.
So, go ahead and name your runner-up game. I won’t argue. Unless it’s Iowa-Northwestern.
Best shot: Jordan Bohannon’s game winner vs. Indiana
Is there really another contender? That’s a shot you can watch over and over and over again. Well, unless you’re an Indiana fan, of course.
JORDAN BOHANNON, WHAT A SHOT. THIS. IS. MARCH. !!!!!! pic.twitter.com/v7B5MlK68E
— DGC (@Itamar_17_10) March 12, 2022
Runner up: Jaden Ivey’s ridiculous layup
This will be another short description, because the video will do the talking. Just one question, though — How?
YOU ARE UNREAL JADEN IVEY 😱
— Overtime (@overtime) March 12, 2022
Best comeback: Indiana over Michigan
It was over. Michigan was leading 60-43 at the 12-minute mark, appearing to burst Indiana’s NCAA Tournament bubble. Based on how the Hoosiers performed in the final month of the regular season, there wasn’t much reassurance that Mike Woodson’s team had the mental toughness to dig its way out of such a deep hole.
Then some shots started falling. Michigan started to turn the ball over. Indiana began getting more stops on the defensive end. Just 6 minutes after trailing by 17, Indiana took its first lead at 63-62 with 5:39 to play.
Indiana didn’t exactly slam the door on Michigan — the Wolverines had their chances until the end — but it survived with a 74-69 win to advance.
Because of the implications and everything on the line for Indiana, it’s hard to pass this up as the best comeback win from the B1G Tournament. IU had lost 7 of its last 9 games in the regular season and it appeared to be playing its way out of March Madness once again.
Mike Woodson found a spark from his team in Indianapolis when it needed it most.
Indiana just reminded Michigan what month it is. pic.twitter.com/sVPmPHXBrb
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) March 10, 2022
Runner up: Northwestern over Nebraska
You can make the argument that Nebraska entered the tournament as hot as any team in the B1G. The Huskers closed out the regular season with 3 wins, including victories over ranked opponents Wisconsin and Ohio State. To build a 15-point lead in the second half against a struggling Northwestern team felt like it was more than enough to get to the next round. But Ryan Young, Boo Buie and Pete Nance erased that deficit in a hurry and advanced after a 71-69 win.
Best upset: Penn State over Ohio State
Yes, Ohio State was shorthanded when it took the floor against Penn State on Thursday night, but that shouldn’t diminish the accomplishment from the Nittany Lions. Despite trailing by as many as 13 points, Penn State found a way to cut the Buckeyes’ stay in the B1G Tournament short.
Sam Sessoms came off the bench to score a team-high 18 points. Myles Dread was a perfect 3-of-3 from 3-point range, hitting some clutch baskets in the second half. John Harrar made big plays down the stretch.
It was a collective effort from the tournament’s No. 11 seed to take down an Ohio State that won both regular season games and was thought to be capable of making a long run in Indianapolis.
Runner up: Indiana over Illinois
Indiana’s upset over Illinois easily could’ve taken the honor here. Illinois was expected to back up its B1G regular season title with a deep run in the tournament. The Hoosiers caught fire at the right time to score a big upset and put themselves on the right side of the NCAA Tournament bubble.