Selection Sunday is on the horizon, and college basketball teams across the country are scrambling to make the NCAA tournament.
One way to get an invitation is to win the conference tournament, and this week many of the big conferences will crown a champion. The Big Ten is one of those conferences that play a tournament this week, but besides the winner of the Big Ten postseason title, what are the odds of the other teams going to the Big Dance?
It could be argued that the Big Ten is one of the most talented conferences in college basketball. The conference has five teams ranked in the Top 25 polls and will have several teams that will get an automatic bid to the Big Dance based on their body of work.
Tom Izzo is a mainstay in March Madness, and the Spartans will be a lively participant in the NCAA tournament. The four-time National Coach of the Year has led the Spartans to 14 straight NCAA tournaments and six Final Fours, and has the talent to make another deep run.
Draymond Green and the Spartans will have the No. 1 seed headed into the Big Ten tournament and they will be headed to the NCAA tournament, regardless of the outcome.
The Buckeyes’ win over Michigan State on Sunday cemented their place in the NCAA tournament. Ohio State All-American Jared Sullinger is a force on the floor, and this team can play with some of the best teams in the country.
Ohio State won’t have to win the Big Ten tournament to get an invite to March Madness.
The Wolverines ended the regular season on a hot streak, winning five of the last six games. That mini-streak included a big win at home over the Ohio State Buckeyes.
During the season the Wolverines were able to secure a slew of impressive victories over ranked opponents like Michigan State, Wisconsin and Indiana.
That is more than enough to get the Wolverines into the NCAA tournament.
The Badgers win with a solid defense as they have allowed a NCAA-best 51.8 points per game. That defense led them to an easy victory over Illinois to end the season that included an impressive victory on the road at Ohio State.
Senior Jordan Taylor gives the Badgers a deadly scorer capable of carrying this team to a Big Ten championship. However, the Badgers won’t need a title to get into the tournament; they have done more than enough to get in.
The Indiana Hoosiers are the fifth team from the Big Ten that will get a ticket to the Big Dance.
Head coach Tom Crean has revitalized the basketball program, and the Hoosiers have shown that they can play with the best teams in the country.
The win over Kentucky is a strong indicator they belong in the NCAA tournament, and the double-digit demolishing of Michigan State all but assured the Hoosiers they would be dancing in March.
With five teams from the Big Ten already assured a spot in the field of 68, the rest of the conference is scurrying to get a string of victories in the Big Ten tournament. Here is a look at the bubble teams in the conference.
Purdue has 20 wins on the season and is considered a lock by many experts to make the tournament.
The Boilermakers have won three out of the last four games to end the season that included an impressive win on the road against Michigan.
The problem is Purdue is just 2-7 against AP ranked teams and 9-9 when facing the RPI Top 100. If Purdue suffers an early loss in the conference tournament, it could miss out on the NCAA tournament.
The Wildcats are walking a very thin line and have been selected by many experts as the last team in or out.
They have a very impressive win over the Spartans, but tough-luck losses to Michigan and Ohio State could put the Wildcats into the NIT.
A win or two in the Big Ten tournament could give them the extra edge to making the NCAA tournament.
Illinois has a big win on its schedule when it defeated Ohio State in early January, but after that it gets ugly. The Illini have lost 11 of 13 overall and the last seven in a row on the road.
Illinois would need to win the tournament to go to the Big Dance and save the job of coach Bruce Weber. It looks as though neither one will happen.
With an awful RPI rating of 139 and just eight wins in conference, Iowa seems destined for the NIT, but it does have some promise.
Two wins against Wisconsin and defeating Indiana makes the Hawkeyes a dangerous team in the tournament, but they have to go deep if they want any shot of getting the attention of the selection committee.
Minnesota lost five of six to end the regular season and it may be a stretch to call the Golden Gophers a bubble team. The only impressive win on the schedule is against Indiana, which does not outweigh the bad losses to other Big Ten bubble teams.
The only way Minnesota is going to the Big Dance is it wins this tournament, but a first-round draw against scrappy Northwestern should provide a quick exit.
Penn State and Nebraska have no shot of winning the Big Ten tournament or going to the NCAA tournament.
With a combined 3-18 record in the last 21 games, these two teams will be out the door early in the tournament and leave fans waiting for football season to kick off.
The Big Ten basketball conference is one of the best in the country and could easily send several teams deep into the NCAA tournament.
The talent pool is very deep, and it will be interesting to see how the tournament unfolds leading up to Selection Sunday.