Big Ten Tournament 2012: Michigan State Has Inside Lane to Big Ten Glory

Donald Wood@@Donald_WoodFeatured ColumnistMarch 5, 2012

EAST LANSING, MI - MARCH 04: Draymond Green #23 of the Michigan State Spartans reacts after the loss of the game against the Ohio State Buckeyees  at Breslin Center on March 4, 2012 in East Lansing, Michigan. Ohio State defeated Michigan State Spartans 72-70 and won a share of the Big Ten Title.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images

With the NCAA tournament far enough away to be sad, the conference tournaments will provide the kind of appetizer that makes the big show even more enjoyable.

While there is a chance that any team could steal the show, the Michigan State Spartans are the prize pup in this bunch and will have the inside lane to winning another Big Ten tournament.

Where: Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, IN

When: Thursday, March 8 to Sunday, March 11

Watch: Early-round games on the Big Ten Network, ESPN2 or Semifinals and Final on CBS Sports.

Bracket: Complete Big Ten Tournament Bracket

Why Michigan State Has the Inside Lane

Tom Izzo—With a legendary coach like Tom Izzo controlling the Spartans, the team will always be a favorite to steal the show. Six Big Ten championships, six Final Fours and a national title on a resume will always give Michigan State the advantage. Unless they play Duke.

COLUMBUS, OH - FEBRUARY 15:  Head Coach Tom Izzo speaks with Draymond Green #23, both of the Michigan State Spartans, during the first half against the Ohio State Buckeyes on February 15, 2011 at Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Sham
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Draymond Green—The unquestionable Big Ten Player of the Year is forward Draymond Green. Not only does Green average a double-double each game, he also leads the team in points (16.2), rebounds (10.3) and steals (1.5) per game, while ranking second in assists (3.5). All those numbers add up to Big Ten champions.

Keith Appling—My dark horse candidate for MVP of the Big Ten tournament is Michigan State point guard Keith Appling. With Draymond Green sure to see much more double teams, Appling will be responsible for finding the open man and hitting the shots he has to make as well. The team’s No. 2 scorer is ready to show the world what he is made of.


Thursday, March 8

Game 1: No. 8 Iowa vs. No. 9 Illinois (11:30 a.m., BTN)

Game 2: No. 5 Indiana vs. No. 12 Penn State (2 p.m., BTN)

Game 3: No. 7 Northwestern vs. No. 10 Minnesota (5:30 p.m., ESPN2)

Game 4: No. 6 Purdue vs. No. 11 Nebraska (8 p.m., ESPN2)

Friday, March 9

Game 5: No. 1 Michigan State vs. Game 1 winner (Noon, ESPN)

Game 6: No. 4 Wisconsin vs. Game 2 winner (2:30 p.m., ESPN)

Game 7: No. 2 Michigan vs. Game 3 winner (6:30 p.m., BTN)

Game 8: No. 3 Ohio State vs. Game 4 winner (9 p.m., BTN)

Saturday, March 10

Game 9: Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner (1:40 p.m., CBS)

Game 10: Game 7 winner vs. Game 8 winner (4:10 p.m., CBS)

Sunday, March 11

Championship Game: Game 9 winner vs. Game 10 winner (3:30 p.m. CBS)

Check back for more on the NCAA Basketball as it comes, and check out Bleacher Report’s College Basketball Page to get your fill of college basketball.


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