College Hoops Player of the Day for Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Big men in the Big Ten play important roles in their teams' successes, but none was bigger than Minnesota's 6'8" senior, Trevor Mbakwe, as he powered the Golden Golphers to a 77-73 defeat of top-ranked Indiana Tuesday night.
Mbakwe posted his ninth double-double of the season with 21 points and 12 rebounds, significantly outplaying Indiana's Big Ten player of the year candidate, Cody Zeller, who was held to just nine points on 2-for-9 shooting and a mere seven rebounds before fouling out late in the second half.
Mbakwe's prowess on both ends of the floor were evident as Minnesota dominated the boards, out-rebounding the Hoosiers, 44-30, and snaring an incredible 23 offensive rebounds. Mbakwe was 8-for-10 from the field and 5-for-7 from the foul line, completing what was surely one of his best effort as a collegian.
Indiana's loss is college basketball's gain. It's the seventh time this season a #1-ranked team has tasted defeat, setting up an exciting, unpredictable NCAA tourney, which commences in just three weeks. It also gives hope to the chasers in the Big Ten, as Indiana drops to 12-3 in the conference. Michigan State and Wisconsin are tied for second at 11-4; Michigan is 10-4 and Ohio State is 10-5.