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Big Ten Tournament Final

The Minnesota Golden Gophers shocked the Purdue Boilermakers in Saturday’s Big Ten Tournament semifinal. Can they keep the upset streak going with a win over the Ohio State Buckeyes in today’s final? The Golden Gophers are a No. 6 seed in the tourney and in yesterday’s semis they clashed with the No. 2 seed Boilermakers as a 2.5-point underdog at Bovada. The way Minnesota outplayed Purdue they should have been a double-digit favorite. The Gophers totally dominated the Boilermakers in a 69-42 win.

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The Boilermakers came out so flat in the opening half that game was basically over at the break. Purdue scored only 11 points in the first half and trailed 37-11. Ralph Sampson III led Minnesota with 13 points, as the Golden Gophers shot a solid 48% from the floor and grabbed 45 rebounds. To see how bad the Boilermakers were you just have to compare their numbers to Minnesota’s. Purdue shot a horrific 27%, which included going 2-of-14 from three-point range, and they posted only 20 rebounds in the loss. The Buckeyes are in the tournament final after another near scare in their semifinal against Illinois. In the quarterfinals the Buckeyes had to rely on a three-pointer at the buzzer from Evan Turner. Against Illinois, Turner stepped up late again in an 88-81 double overtime victory as a 7.5-point favorite. Turner led the way with 31 points, 10 rebounds, and six assists and scored 12 of his 31 after regulation. William Buford also had a big game in the win with 22 points and 10 rebounds.

During the regular season the Golden Gophers and Buckeyes met up twice and the home team won each game. They first squared off on January 9 at Minnesota, and the Golden Gophers won 73-62 as a 4-point favorite. Blake Hoffarber had a career game for Minnesota with 27 points, while Turner led Ohio State with 19 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists. In the rematch at Ohio State on January 31 the Buckeyes slammed the Gophers 85-63 as 7.5-point chalk. Buford led the Buckeyes with 26 points, and Rodney Williams netted 13 points for Minnesota. The Buckeyes are back in the tournament final for the second straight year. Last season they lost to Purdue 65-61 as a 5.5-point underdog. Overall the Buckeyes are 2-3 in the Big Ten tournament final, with their last win coming in 2007.

This will be Minnesota’s first appearance in the final and they’re a 4-point underdog to claim their first tournament title.