Ohio State dominated Michigan State in the second half yesterday, prevailing 82-70 in a uncharacteristically-quick 69 possessions. Michigan State actually took 24 more shots than the Buckeyes, but still lost by a sizable margin. The reason was Ohio State's excellent shooting (62.8 effective field goal percentage). Evan Turner led the Buckeyes with 18 points and 10 rebounds, while Kalin Lucas had 17 points on 12 shots for the Spartans. Box score.
In their run to the final, the Buckeyes haven't exactly "solved" their turnover problems, but their normally excellent shooting has gotten even better. It takes a heck of a lot of turnovers (and some bad defense) to lose while posting an eFG above 60.0. Ohio State has done that before (twice), but generally you have to like their chances when they shoot like this.
Michigan State's loss probably ends all talk of a #1 seed. It didn't sound all that important to Tom Izzo anyways, and I don't think it changes their Final Four chances. This team is good enough to make it to Detroit, but in order to do so they'll need to shoot better than they did yesterday.
In the other semifinal, Purdue pummeled Illinois 66-56 in a 63 possession game. The Boilermakers took advantage of some ice-cold shooting in the first half by the Illini, who missed 15 shots in a row at one point. Purdue wasn't exactly hot from the field, but they took very good care of the ball, committing just 5 turnovers. Robbie Hummel and JaJuan Johnson combined for 39 points on 27 shots. Dominique Keller led Illinois with 16 points on 11 shots. Box score.
This sets up the showdown between Ohio State and Purdue in the final, both teams that should feel secure in their NCAA Tournament status. I'll go on record here and state that I think 8 Big Ten teams should get in, and anything less than 7 would be ridiculous. But the talking heads have gotten to me - I expect the ridiculous right now (Jim Nantz declared Illinois was an "8 or 9 seed" in yesterday's game, Clark Kellogg agreed. Egads, if the 2nd place Illini are an 8/9 seed, that doesn't bode well for the rest of the conference hopefuls.). Someone in the Big Ten will get snubbed.