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 WatchESPN.com. 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.
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.