No. 8 Illinois vs. No. 9 Minnesota
When it comes to first round matchups, it doesn't get much better than this.
Both of these teams will be competing for a spot in the NCAA tournament. Illinois is 21-11, while Minnesota is 20-11.
Both teams have lost two in a row entering this contest.
As for who will win, look for Brandon Paul to try his hand at deciding that. The super-scorer of Illinois will do all he can to light up the scoreboard and pull out this W.
Unfortunately, Paul and Illinois pale in comparison to what the Golden Gophers possess—depth.
Andre and Austin Hollins will pace Minnesota along the perimeter, while Rodney Williams and Trevor Mbakwe will pound it inside. Even still, we'll see this one come down to the wire.
An attempt to tie it at the buzzer will rattle out as Minnesota holds on.
Minnesota 73, Illinois 70
No. 5 Michigan vs. No. 12 Penn State
How angry do you think the Michigan Wolverines are about blowing a win against Indiana and falling all the way to a fifth seed? I'd say very, very mad.
Penn State will feel their wrath.
Trey Burke will be out to make up for his missed game-winning layup attempt against the Hoosiers. In turn, he'll drop a double-double en route to solidifying his status as the Big Ten Player of the Year.
They'll fight until the final buzzer, but this will be a rough one for Penn State.
Michigan 83, Penn State 66
No. 7 Purdue vs. No. 10 Nebraska
Purdue made their mark by picking on the weaker teams in the Big Ten. With that being said, they've also defeated No. 22 Wisconsin and Minnesota over the past two weeks.
Terone Johnson and A.J. Hammons will continue that trend of success against an inferior Nebraska squad.
The Cornhuskers are capable of an upset, but the numbers suggest they'll fall short. As for why, their top two scorers are both shooting below 38 percent from the field.
Against a Purdue team that limits second-chance scoring opportunities as well as any, Nebraska will be in trouble.
Purdue 61, Nebraska 50
No. 6 Iowa vs. No. 11 Northwestern
The Iowa Hawkeyes may be an under-the-radar team, but they're one that could make noise. As an elite rebounding squad with a star scorer in Roy Devyn Marble, the potential is there for a future upset.
To reach that opportunity, however, they must get past Northwestern.
If there is one thing that Northwestern thrives at, it's moving the ball. Unfortunately, that's just about all the Wildcats will be able to do against Iowa.
The Hawkeyes make a statement here.
Iowa 70, Northwestern 59