Big Ten Tournament Bracket: TV Schedule and Predicting the Tournament
The Big Ten's first regular season with 12 teams is officially over, and man, was it exciting. This season, the conference was arguably at its best, and it was back and forth all season.
Following such an exciting regular season, it is expected that the tournament will not disappoint.
With a three-way tie at the top of the conference, this could be anyone's tournament.
Here are the matchups, my predictions and the TV schedule for what should be a great weekend of college basketball.
Game 1: No. 8 Iowa vs No. 9 Illinois
When: 11:30 a.m. ET
Who could have imagined that Illinois would be a lower seed than Iowa?
That is just one of the woes that have plagued the Illini throughout their disappointing season. At this point, Bruce Weber is going to need a deep run in the Big Ten Tournament and an NCAA berth to save his job.
Iowa, on the other hand, has had a better season than expected, beating Wisconsin twice, Michigan and Indiana. There is talk of Iowa as a bubble team, but I think it is a year away from participating in March Madness.
In their one matchup this season, the Illini defeated Iowa, 65-54.
Although their season has been a disappointment, this squad is very talented, and it should beat Iowa again. Iowa has trouble matching up with teams like Illinois, and to me, it's a no-brainer that the first game of the tournament is going to be an upset.
The Illini advance in this one.
Game 2: No. 5 Indiana vs No. 12 Penn State
When: 25 minutes following Game 1 (Approx. 2 p.m. ET)
Indiana is playing great basketball right now. It is shooting the ball well from three-point land and playing some great defense.
What really propels this team is its transition play. It is constantly hustling on both ends of the floor and can burn you if you don't chase it down on offense, especially off of turnovers.
Just ask Purdue.
Penn State has had an expected season with the exception of one man, Tim Frazier. Frazier went from being a role player to the lead man and one of the best guards in the Big Ten.
If Penn State was a little better, he might be in talks for the Big Ten player of the year. If there is a reason to go to the tournament Thursday, this guy is it. He is fun to watch.
Indiana swept the series, 2-0.
This one shouldn't be close, but I guess that's why they play the game.
Penn State showed some serious heart when the Hoosiers came to Happy Valley, losing by just six, but it's difficult to advance it in the tournament the way Indiana is playing right now.
Game 3: No. 7 Northwestern vs No. 10 Minnesota
When: 5:30 p.m. ET
Northwestern is having another year of mediocrity, and once again, are on the bubble. It is widely known that Northwestern remains the only team from a major conference to never make the NCAA tournament, and with a deep run in the tournament, it would be a sure lock.
The win against Michigan State is the only thing keeping it alive right now, but it has a lot of work to do.
Minnesota has had to change it up a bit this season and has been either hot or cold. With the loss of Trevor Mbakwe at the beginning of the season to a knee injury, it has had a difficult season, but all hope isn't lost.
It might have what it takes to advance a few games in the tournament and get in like it did a few seasons ago, but the odds are stacked against it.
The series was split between these teams, with a home win apiece.
I just think this might be the year; they are going to need a win in the next round as well, but the Wildcats might have what it takes to finally get over the hump into the tournament.
Game 4: No. 6 Purdue vs No. 11 Nebraska
When: 25 minutes after Game 3 (Approx. 8 p.m. ET)
TV: ESPN 2
Purdue is not going to be in a good mood following a poor shooting performance against Indiana. This season has been rocky for the Boilermakers, but after an off-court incident, this team looks to have come closer.
Purdue is playing some of its best ball right now, and following a tough road loss to a rival, this team is going to have a lot to prove.
Nebraska now knows what it's like to play in the Big Ten. It got its first big home victory, where the fans rushed the court against Indiana.
In their first Big Ten tournament, the Cornhuskers are looking to show the rest of the Big Ten they have come to play.
Purdue won the only meeting.
Purdue should advance easily in this one.
Nebraska isn't that talented, and the home-crowd advantage has to be with Purdue. This game could be close, though, if Purdue doesn't take it seriously and struggles like it has in recent years at Bankers Life Field House.
Game 5: No. 1 Michigan State vs No. 9 Illinois
When: 12 p.m. ET
Michigan State is going to be down a key piece in Brandon Dawson, but someone should be able to step up and convert following adversity. This team is very talented; it's just going to take someone else to step in Dawson's shoes for the rest of the season.
Illinois won the only matchup this season in a barnburner, 42-41.
Michigan State Advances
Illinois is just too broken right now. It's time for a change in the leadership, and that will happen. Even with Dawson out, look for MSU to take this one.
Game 6: No. 4 Wisconsin vs No. 5 Indiana
When: 25 minutes after Game 5 (Approx. 2:30)
Wisconsin is a very good squad that takes things very slowly.
In what should be a very intriguing matchup, Wisconsin is going to have to figure out a way to stop this high-flying offense of Indiana's. With its slow pace and tough defense, look for this one to be a good one. Jordan Taylor is going to have to have a great game if the Badgers are going to win this one.
Wisconsin won the only game of the series.
A lot of Indiana fans think Wisconsin stole the game in Madison, and it will be out for revenge. In what will be a pro-Hoosier crowd, it could get very loud in Indy for this one.
Indiana gets this win.
It is just playing really well right now. This one should be close, though.
Game 7: No. 2 Michigan vs No. 7 Northwestern
When: 6:30 p.m. ET
Michigan is having a great season and have surprised a lot of people. It has one of the best freshmen in the country in Burke and look to run away with the Big Ten Tournament.
It was given a tie for the conference this season, but have suffered a few tough losses. This team knows how to win in the Big Ten Tournament and will be a tough out.
Michigan won both games in overtime.
After two losses to Michigan in overtime, it's time Northwestern beat them.
Just one of those wins would have helped the Wildcats' tournament chances, but look for them to get one back here.
Game 8: No. 3 Ohio State vs No. 6 Purdue
When: 25 minutes after Game 7 (Approx. 9 p.m. ET)
Ohio State hasn't lived up to expectations this year, but it is still a top team in the nation and shared a part of the Big Ten title.
With Ohio State on the verge of being a one seed, it needs to do well in the tournament and likely win. The Buckeyes are looking for their third straight title in Indianapolis and look to advance to their fourth straight title game.
Earlier this season, the Buckeyes narrowly beat the Boilermakers at home.
Ohio State Advances
Ohio State is just too talented for this Purdue team. With the lack of Barlow, who was so great in the first game, the Boilermakers may struggle in this one.
Game 9: Michigan State vs Indiana
When: 1:40 p.m. ET
This should be a very good matchup. Indiana is playing well, and the teams both won at home in the regular season.
Michigan State Advances
I just think Michigan State is going to be too much for Indiana on a neutral floor. Although both games were split decisively, Michigan State is the more experienced and talented team.
Game 10: Northwestern vs Ohio State
When: 25 minutes after Game 9 (Approx. 5:20)
This one could be a great game. After a close game in Evanston, it will be interesting to see if Northwestern will be able to respond.
Ohio State Advances
Ohio State is just going to be too much for Northwestern. It will be Northwestern's third-straight day of play, and it is going to be tired. With Craft on the ball, it could be a tough day for the 'Cats.
Game 11: Michigan State vs Ohio State
When: 3:30 p.m. ET
This is the rematch everyone wanted. After losing on Senior Night to the Buckeyes, Draymond Green will likely be fired up for this one in search of the Big Ten Tournament Championship.
After the big lead blown, the Spartans should be out for revenge.
Ohio State is looking for that one seed still, and so is MSU. This game should give the winner a good shot at a one seed in the Big Dance if it wins.
Michigan State: Champs
MSU will beat OSU in the final game.
Although it will be close, it should be one of the most exciting championship games in Big Ten Tournament history. Look for this matchup to be great and to be a true slugfest.
OSU will be going for the three-peat, but I just can't see it happening.
I'll be at the games this week; feel free to follow me for live updates.
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