The 2013 Big Ten tournament got off to a wild start inside the United Center in Chicago on Thursday, when the conference's fourth-leading scorer, Brandon Paul, sunk a buzzer-beating game winner that lifted No. 8 Illinois over No. 9 Minnesota and into Friday's quarterfinals.
Announcer Gus Johnson practically losing his mind highlighted the thrilling finish. What else is new?
Paul's heroics likely locked up an NCAA tournament bid for Illinois. Meanwhile, Minnesota will be sweating much more on Selection Sunday with the loss.
Regardless of how far John Groce's squad goes this weekend in the Windy City, Illinois' one shining moment is sure to last as one of the most memorable moments from Championship Week.
Paul's final shot gave him 25 points for the game, meaning he accounted for nearly half of Illinois' points on Thursday. He hit 10-of-16 shots from the field, while the rest of the Fighting Illini shot just 8-of-40 from the floor.
Minnesota trailed by nine points at halftime, before going on a 24-9 run to open the second half and take a six-point lead with under nine minutes to play. Tubby Smith's Golden Gophers had their chances, but a turnover by Austin Hollins with 14 seconds left gave Paul and the Illini the only shot they needed to set up a Friday showdown with the top-seeded Indiana Hoosiers.
Brace yourself for plenty more buzzer-beaters, wild finishes and of course crazy Gus Johnson calls, as the madness has only just begun.
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