Tag Archives: March Madness

Kenzie Bowers and Illinois State Redbirds are Going Dancing

Just a year removed from leading the Kent City Eagles to their school’s first ever state championship game, Kenzie Bowers is flying high again as a true freshman with the Illinois State Redbirds. ISU just punched their ticket to the NCAA tournament after stunning victories in the Missouri Valley semifinal and final games.

Though Bowers’ role has looked much different this year than when she wore the red & white of Kent City, she has played an important one for the emergent Redbirds with stretches as a starter when others were down due to covid protocols and as a reliable player of the bench.

Whatever her role will be in the Redbirds opening matchup with #2 seed Iowa, it is certainly an incredible moment in her young collegiate career and one that many excellent players never achieve. Such a moment may not come again, but for now the Redbirds have this season and only one task in front of them: beat the Hawkeyes.

Kent City Completes Season Sweep of Morley Standwood to Win District Final

Just under a year ago, the Kent City Eagles competed in a post-season matchup in which they controlled things most of the way until poor free throw shooting allowed the visiting team to overtake them in the final minute.

That team was eventual state champion Pewamo-Westphalia, and while there is no guarantee the regional win would have given Kent City the same results, they certainly are justified in wondering what could have been. This year, the Eagles welcomed Morley-Stanwood to The Nest for the teams’ third matchup of the season and the District Championship on the line.

In a scene that was very reminiscent of a season prior, the Eagles led the Mohawks all night but left an opening at the end as free throws missed the mark in large numbers.

Morley Stanwood made great strides from an earlier season showdown at The Nest when the Kent City Eagles shot the lights out and ran away with a lopsided victory. The Mohawks were not dismayed and closed the gap between the teams to 10-points in the second matchup a few weeks later and just 6-points in the district final. The game got as close as 3-points in the final few minutes of play.

The tale of the night was undoubtedly the second consecutive game where the Eagles struggled from the field.

In the district semi-final, Kent City managed to get solid looks, but continually failed to turn those chances into points. Friday night looked very similar. The Eagles were able to work the ball through their offense and get open shots, but continued their cold streak and allowed the Mohawks to stick around until the final seconds ticked away.

Both games proved Kent City can win even when its shots aren’t falling. The Eagles can win games on the defensive end when needed and that is something they will once again need to do to advance this coming Tuesday.

The Mohawks end the season 19-4 with 3 losses coming against Kent City. They graduate a host of seniors, but will also return a number of impact players for the 2020-2021 season. The conference battle between the two schools should be back in full force next season and basketball fans are sure to be in for a treat when they meet again.

The #3 ranked Kent City Eagles advance to the round of 32 to face #1 ranked and defending state champion, Pewamo-Westphalia. The matchup marks the third consecutive year the two squads will face off in a post season contest with each year coming a round earlier than the last (2018 – round of 8, 2019 – round of 16, 2020 – round of 32). The teams will meet this Tuesday at Morley Stanwood High School.

Stay tuned for our preview of the game and opinion piece on some improvements that need to be made by the MHSAA.

Michigan and Michigan State Earn Weekly Men’s Basketball Honors

For Immediate Release
March 2, 2020

Player of the Week

Cassius Winston, Michigan State
G – Sr. – 6-1 – Detroit, Mich. – University of Detroit Jesuit – Major: Sports Management

  • Averaged 20.0 points, 7.5 assists, four rebounds and shot .524 from the field in a 2-0 week for the Spartans
  • Posted 20 points, five rebounds and nine assists in a 78-70 win over Iowa
  • Followed up that performance with 20 points and six assists while hitting 5-of-6 from 3-point land in a win at Maryland
  • Earns his second Player of the Week accolade this season and the seventh of his career
  • Last Michigan State Player of the Week: Cassius Winston (Jan. 6, 2020)

Freshman of the Week

Franz Wagner, Michigan

– 6-9 – Berlin, Germany – Alba Berlin – Major: Undecided

  • Led the Wolverines for the third straight week averaging 17.5 points and 8.5 rebounds, while shooting 66.7% (14-for-21) from the field and 50% (5-for-10) from the 3-point line
  • Opened the week scoring 15 of his 17 points in the second half, while grabbing seven rebounds versus Wisconsin
  • At Ohio State, produced his first career double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds; once again, he scored 15 of his 18 points in the second half, while grabbing his second career 10+ rebound game
  • Added two steals and tied a career-best four 3-pointers against the Buckeyes
  • Earns his third Big Ten Freshman of the Week honor
  • Last Michigan Freshman of the Week: Franz Wagner (Feb. 17, 2020)

2019-20 Big Ten Women’s Basketball Honors Announced

March 2, 2020

ROSEMONT, Ill. — The Big Ten Conference announced its 2019-20 women’s basketball all-conference teams and individual award recipients on Monday during BTN’s Women’s Sports Report.

Iowa senior guard Kathleen Doyle was chosen as Big Ten Player of the Year by both the conference coaches and a select panel of Big Ten media members, the second consecutive season a Hawkeye student has swept both honors. Megan Gustafson was the 2019 Big Ten Player of Year, on the way to being chosen the consensus National Player of the Year, and she also earned Big Ten Player of the Year honors from the media in 2018.

Big Ten co-champion Northwestern picked up a pair of individual awards on Monday, with Joe McKeown chosen as Big Ten Coach of the Year by both his colleagues and the media, while Wildcat sophomore guard Veronica Burton was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year by each voting body.

Ashley Owusu from Big Ten co-champion Maryland was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year by the conference coaches and media (she was also a unanimous Big Ten All-Freshman Team pick by the coaches), while Nebraska sophomore guard Leigha Brown was voted the Big Ten’s Sixth Player of the Year by both groups.

McKeown earns his first Big Ten Coach of the Year award and is the first Northwestern coach to receive the honor since 1990, when Don Perrelli was selected by the media. Burton becomes the third Wildcat in the past five seasons voted Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, following Ashley Deary’s back-to-back selections in 2016 and 2017.

Likewise, Owusu is the third Maryland student in the last five years named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year and the second in as many seasons following Taylor Mikesell’s selection by the coaches in 2019.

Brown is the first Nebraska student to receive the Big Ten Sixth Player of the Year honor since the Huskers joined the conference for the 2011-12 season.

Doyle joined Maryland senior guard Kaila Charles, Michigan sophomore forward Naz Hillmon and Northwestern junior guardLindsey Pulliam as unanimous first-team All-Big Ten selections by both the coaches and media. In addition, Rutgers’ Arella Guiranteswas a unanimous first-team choice by the coaches. The conference’s All-Big Ten teams consist of 10 first-team honorees, 10 second-team selections and honorable mention choices.

The Big Ten also recognized 14 Sportsmanship Award recipients in the sport of women’s basketball on Monday, one from each conference school. The students chosen are individuals who have distinguished themselves through sportsmanship and ethical behavior. These students must also be in good academic standing and have demonstrated good citizenship outside of the sports-competition setting.

All 13 games of this year’s Big Ten Tournament will be televised live to a national audience, with the first round through semifinal games from Wednesday through Saturday broadcast on BTN and the FOX Sports app. The Big Ten Tournament championship game on March 10 will be televised live on ESPN2 and the ESPN app.

This year’s Big Ten Tournament champion will earn the conference’s automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament. Follow all the Big Ten Tournament action on the official Tournament Central web site atbigten.org/wbbt and on Twitter @B1GWBBall (use the hashtags #B1GTourney and #B1GWBBall). #B1GWBBall

2020 Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament Bracket Announced

March 1, 2020

ROSEMONT, Ill. — The Big Ten Conference has announced the full bracket for the 27th Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament presented by SoFi that will take place March 4-8 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

Maryland (25-4, 16-2 Big Ten) is the No. 1 seed for this year’s tournament after securing a share of the Big Ten Championship on Sunday with its 99-44 win at Minnesota. The Terrapins have won five Big Ten titles (2015, 2016, 2017, 2019, 2020) and three Big Ten Tournament championships (2015, 2016, 2017) since joining the conference prior to the 2014-15 season.

Maryland will open tournament play on Friday with a quarterfinal contest at noon (ET) against the winner of the second-round game between No. 8 seed Michigan State and No. 9 seed Purdue.

Northwestern (26-3, 16-2) is the No. 2 seed for this year’s Big Ten Tournament after the Wildcats earned a share of their second Big Ten title and first since 1989-90. NU, which has set school records for overall wins and conference wins, also has its highest-ever seed for the Big Ten Tournament and will tip off its postseason schedule at 6:30 p.m. (ET) Friday with a tournament quarterfinal game against the winner of the second-round matchup between No. 7 seed Michigan and 10th-seeded Nebraska.

Defending Big Ten Tournament champion Iowa (23-6, 14-4) earned the No. 3 seed for the Big Ten Tournament after recording 14 conference wins for the second consecutive season and third time in the past six seasons. The Hawkeyes will play in the last Big Ten Tournament quarterfinal on Friday night, 25 minutes following the completion of Northwestern’s quarterfinal.

Rounding out the top four seeds in this year’s Big Ten Tournament is Indiana (23-7, 13-5), which claimed the last of the tournament’s double-byes into the quarterfinal round. The Hoosiers, who have tied their school record for wins in a season in addition to winning a program-record 13 conference games, will open their Big Ten Tournament slate Friday afternoon in the quarterfinals, playing 25 minutes after Maryland’s game has concluded.

All 13 games of this year’s Big Ten Tournament will be televised live to a national audience, with the first round through semifinal games from Wednesday through Saturday broadcast on BTN, as well as on the FOX Sports app. The Big Ten Tournament championship game on March 8 will be televised live on ESPN2, as well as the ESPN app.

All-session and single-session tickets for the 2020 Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament are on sale at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse box office and Ticketmaster.com. Single-session ticket prices vary from $4 to $16 depending on the session, while all-session tickets are available for $75. Other than suites and the fan blocks for that university’s respective games (with tickets within fan blocks available through each school’s ticket office), the Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament features general admission seating, allowing fans to witness the action from the best available seats at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

In addition, several special ticket offers and activities are lined up for this year’s Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament. For more information on this year’s tournament ancillary events and promotions, visit the Big Ten Tournament Central page atbigten.org/wbbt. #B1GWBBall

Wisconsin Stuns Michigan at Home

Fans packed the stands for a sold out game at Crisler Arena expecting to cheer their Michigan Wolverines to victory over the visiting Wisconsin Badgers basketball team. Wisconsin had other plans, however, and delivered one of their finest performances of the season to upend the home squad and send fans home wondering what might have been.

Contrasting the scene envisioned by most of the 12,707 fans arriving to stiff winds and frigid temperatures at Crisler Arena in Ann Arbor, Wisconsin never trailed and put forward an astounding shooting performance that left Michigan hapless trying to overcome a 10-point halftime deficit.

Each time Michigan made a run and cut the score to within a bucket or two, Wisconsin delivered a death-nail from behind the arch or several consecutive buckets in the paint. The feeling in Crisler was that if Michigan was going to come back, it would have to do so by matching Wisconsin’s shooting; a tall order on a night that Wisconsin shot 64% from the field.

That hope never materialized and two missed opportunities with trips to the free throw line in the final minute kept the spread at three points, which got extended to five and seven after Wisconsin capitalized at the charity stripe on their own end.

The standouts of the game for both teams were evident most of the way. Wisconsin junior point guard, D’Mitrik Trice, turned in a career performance, scoring his way out of a season-long slump and shooting the lights out of Crisler Arena in the process. Trice delivered on 10 of 16 from the floor and a soul-crushing 5 of 6 from three point land. Junior forwards Micah Potter and Aleem Ford also performed well and each added 18 points. Potter finished the night with 7 rebounds and Ford finished with 8. The trio shot nearly 64% from the field and an even more impressive 67% from behind the arch.

Michigan senior point guard, Xavier Simpson, had a career day with 32 points on 14 of 22 shooting. The guard cut deep into the Wisconsin defense and consistently delivered multiple hook shots off the glass over sizable Badger defenders all night. He added 5 rebounds and 6 assists to his stat line on the night. Despite the performance, few other Wolverines scored effectively in the first half or second half and defensive woes meant the Wolverines were unable to sustain runs long enough to close the deficit.

Simpson was aided by freshman guard, Franz Wagner, who came alive in the second half and got to the rack on a number of contested takes. Wagner was the only other Wolverine to finish in double digits and concluded his night with 17 points on 7 of 9 shooting, which he paired with 7 boards.

Wisconsin held off the late Michigan run to secure the 81-74 victory.

Wisconsin will close out their regular season with games against Minnesota, Northwestern and Indiana. Michigan will look to rebound at #23 Ohio State before moving on to face Nebraska on senior night and #9 Maryland on the road in the regular season finale.