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Posted on Thu, Mar 10, 2011 : 8:53 p.m.

Notes, quotes and observations from the first day of the Big Ten tournament

By Michael Rothstein

INDIANAPOLIS — Juice Thompson holds four career records at Northwestern and is widely considered one of the best players in school history.

Now, he owns a Big Ten record as well.

Thompson scored a career-high 35 points in Northwestern’s 75-65 win over Minnesota on Thursday afternoon, the most points ever scored in a Big Ten tournament game.

“That doesn’t mean anything,” Thompson said. “I’m just happy my team came out and we were able to get a win. I think, as a team, we did a good job of moving the ball around and just finding the right guys.”

JOIN OUR LIVE CHAT FRIDAY sports reporters Pete Bigelow and Michael Rothstein will host a live chat from press row at Conseco Fieldhouse during Friday’s Michigan-Illinois game.

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Thompson already holds Northwestern career records for assists, minutes played, games played and games started.

With his performance Thursday, Thompson gave the Wildcats another shot at No. 1 Ohio State in Friday's Big Ten quarterfinals.

“It’s exciting. Any time you get to play the No. 1 team in the country, it’s great,” Northwestern junior forward John Shurna said. “Everybody’s been stepping up and making plays for us. Juice today had a huge game for us offensively.

“If you’re hot, why not go and play the best team and see what we’re made of.”

For a second, concern Iowa led by seven points, 52-45, midway through the second half and, for a moment, concern for the future of the Michigan State season ran through at least one Spartans player's mind.

“Of course there’s some concern,” freshman guard Keith Appling said. “With me knowing what’s at stake, seeing them go on a little run.

“We had to return the favor and lock down on the defensive end.”

Iowa scored only nine points the rest of the game as Michigan State came back to beat the Hawkeyes, 66-61.

Much of the Michigan State effort came from Draymond Green, who had 21 points and 14 rebounds.

Quote of the day "I'd think they were crazy. I would say they were crazy. That's it." -- Minnesota coach Tubby Smith, on what he would have thought if someone told him the Gophers would lose 10 of 11 games to end the season.

Notes and observations: • There wasn't much of a crowd for the first game between Northwestern and Minnesota. Conseco Fieldhouse was about half full — and there were probably more people at Thursday's Teamsters rally outside the Indiana Statehouse than inside the basketball arena. There's also a work truck show going on at the nearby Indiana Convention Center.

• You can tell it is an early day in the Big Ten tournament because even when Michigan State and Iowa were playing in the second game, rarely was the crowd heard in the media room, which is about 30 yards from the arena floor.

• As the crowd filed in later Thursday afternoon, there was one prevailing color: Red. Indiana played Penn State in the late game.

Michael Rothstein covers Michigan basketball for He can be reached at 734-623-2558, by e-mail at or follow along on Twitter @mikerothstein.