Big Ten Tournament 2013: Breaking Down Odds for Each School to Win It All

Patrick Clarke@@_Pat_ClarkeCorrespondent IMarch 13, 2013

Big Ten Tournament 2013: Breaking Down Odds for Each School to Win It All

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    The 2013 Big Ten men's basketball tournament will tip off from the United Center in Chicago on Thursday, March 14, as the conference's 12 teams begin their chase for the Big Ten championship and an automatic bid to the Big Dance.

    Indiana will enter as the top seed and the team to beat after winning the regular season conference title outright, finishing 26-5 overall and 14-4 in the Big Ten this season. And according to the oddsmakers, Ohio State and Michigan State are the Hoosiers' biggest threats to the crown.

    With championship week already underway, and the 2013 Big Ten Tournament set to begin, here we'll break down the odds for each school to win it all in Chicago this weekend.

    *All betting odds according to

No. 12. Penn State Nittany Lions

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    Record: 10-20 (2-16 Big Ten)

    The 12th-seeded Nittany Lions don't stand much of a chance in Chicago this week. Penn State was the worst team in the Big Ten by far this season, starting off 0-14 in conference play before picking up recent wins over Michigan and Northwestern.

    Sophomore guard D.J. Newbill, the conference's fifth-leading scorer averaging 16.1 points per game this season, will need to bring his A-game to the "Windy City" if Penn State hopes to get out of the first round. 

    The Lions will take on Michigan in the first round on Thursday afternoon in a matchup that the Wolverines are likely drooling over. After having the court stormed on them at University Park last month, you can bet the Wolverines will be out for revenge this week. 

    Odds: +2500 

    Projected Finish: First Round

No. 11. Northwestern Wildcats

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    Record: 13-18 (4-14 Big Ten)

    Northwestern may have a better conference record than Penn State, but the Wildcats were one of only two teams in the Big Ten to lose to the Nittany Lions this season, and the only team to fall to them at home.

    The Wildcats will play Iowa in the first round, a team that finished .500 in the Big Ten this season and swept them during the regular season. If that isn't bad enough, Northwestern enters the Big Ten Tournament on an eight-game losing streak that began with a loss to the Hawkeyes back in early February. 

    Northwestern will need guards Drew Crawford (13.5 ppg) and Reggie Hearn (13.2 ppg) to step up tremendously against Iowa just to have a shot to advance to the quarterfinals. But don't expect that to happen.

    Odds: +2500

    Projected Finish: First Round

No. 10. Nebraska Cornhuskers

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    Record: 14-17 (5-13 Big Ten)

    Nebraska has flown under the radar in the Big Ten this season and rightfully so. The Cornhuskers have struggled since conference play began in January, with three of their five wins in the Big Ten having come against bottom feeders Penn State and Northwestern. 

    Senior guard Dylan Talley will be Nebraska's best shot at surprising the rest of the field this week in Chicago. Talley is averaging over 14 points per game this season, but he'll need to hit more than 37 percent of his field goal attempts on Thursday against Purdue in order to get the 'Huskers out of the first round.

    The Boilermakers aren't unbeatable by any means, but remember that this is a Nebraska team that's dropped five of its last seven games and seven of its last 10 overall.

    Odds: +2500

    Projected Finish: First Round

No. 9. Minnesota Golden Gophers

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    Record: 20-11 (8-10 Big Ten)

    Tubby Smith's Minnesota Golden Gophers are a legitimate bubble team, and will have plenty to play for this week in Chicago even if they don't wind up cutting down the nets as Big Ten champions.

    One of the best rebounding teams in the country, Minnesota will have a huge advantage on the boards with the conference's leading rebounder Trevor Mbakwe sure to make his presence felt on the glass.

    The Gophers will match up with Illinois in the first round on Thursday in a game they'll be favored to win. Minnesota split the regular season series with Illinois this season, and has impressive wins over Michigan State, Wisconsin and Indiana. 

    Look for this team to reach the quarterfinals and push top-seeded Indiana to the finish line on Friday. 

    Odds: +2200

    Projected Finish: Quarterfinals

No. 8. Illinois Fighting Illini

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    Record: 21-11 (8-10 Big Ten)

    Despite finishing below .500 in the Big Ten this season, Illinois boasts some impressive conference victories over Ohio State and Indiana. But don't expect the Fighting Illini to make a whole lot of noise in Chicago.

    John Groce's squad has dropped two straight coming into the Big Ten Tournament and three of its last four overall. Eighth-seeded Illinois will take on Minnesota in the tournament opener on Thursday. 

    The Illini will be led by senior guard Brandon Paul this week. Paul is the Big Ten's fourth-leading scorer this season, averaging 16.3 points per game on 40 percent shooting from the field. But Paul won't make much of an impact on the glass, where Illinois is poised to struggle in the first round against Minnesota on Thursday.

    Illinois is trending in the wrong direction at the worse time, and their chances of getting past the first round look bleak. 

    Odds: +2500

    Projected Finish: First Round

No. 7. Purdue Boilermakers

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    Record: 15-16 (8-10 Big Ten)

    Purdue will begin the Big Ten Tournament against Nebraska on Thursday in a game it should win easily. The Boilermakers beat the Cornhuskers by nine points on the road back in January and should cruise on a neutral floor in Chicago this week.

    But that's where the winning will likely end for Purdue, as it will then run into the buzz saw that is Ohio State in the quarterfinals. The Buckeyes won the two teams' only meeting this season, and are firing on all cylinders at the moment having won five straight games overall.

    Purdue has shown some glimpses this season, but the seventh-seed is clearly lacking the mark of a champion.

    Odds: +2500

    Projected Finish: Quarterfinals

No. 6. Iowa Hawkeyes

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    Record: 20-11 (9-9 Big Ten)

    The Iowa Hawkeyes look primed to come roaring into Friday's quarterfinals as they will take on Northwestern in the first round on Thursday night. Iowa swept Northwestern during the regular season and should have no problem disposing of the Wildcats in Chicago.

    A win over Northwestern would pit Iowa up against Michigan State in Friday's quarterfinals. Although Iowa fell to the Spartans by three points in January, the loss was certainly encouraging.

    Alongside Ohio State, the Hawkeyes are one of the hottest teams in the conference coming into championship week, having won six of their last eight overall and nine of their last 15 following an 0-3 start to conference play.

    Still, Michigan State has a first-round bye for a reason.

    Odds: +2500

    Projected Finish: Quarterfinals

No. 5. Michigan Wolverines

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    Record: 25-6 (12-6 Big Ten)

    The Wolverines have struggled against the Big Ten's top teams this season, but will be a heavy favorite to win the conference tournament this March, mainly because of the spectacular play of point guard Trey Burke.

    Burke, the Big Ten's second-leading scorer and leading assist man this season, is averaging 19.2 points and nearly seven assists per game for John Beilein's squad despite only being a sophomore. Look for Burke and company to overwhelm Penn State in the first round on Thursday and then avenge their February loss to Wisconsin in the quarterfinals on Friday, setting up a much-anticipated Indiana-Michigan rematch in the semis.

    Although Michigan came close to topping Indiana this past weekend at home, it seems that the Hoosiers have their number. Look for the Wolverines' Big Ten Tournament run to come to an end in the semifinals on Saturday.

    Odds: +450

    Projected Finish: Semifinals

No. 4. Wisconsin Badgers

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    Record: 21-10 (12-6 Big Ten)

    Coach Bo Ryan's Wisconsin Badgers have already proven they can beat the Big Ten's best this season, having knocked off Indiana, Ohio State and Michigan this year.

    But unfortunately for Wisconsin, the Big Ten Tournament bracket is not its friend, as the Badgers will likely have to take on fifth-seeded Michigan in the quarterfinal on Friday unless the Wolverines are upended by Penn State in the first round.

    While the Badgers did defeat the Wolverines in overtime last month, they needed a half court heave at the buzzer and overtime to do so. Michigan would be out for revenge in this potential quarterfinal matchup, and the Wolverines feature a legitimate National Player of the Year candidate in Trey Burke, a reliable scoring machine that gives them an edge over Wisconsin. 

    Odds: +1000

    Projected Finish: Quarterfinals

No. 3. Michigan State Spartans

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    Record: 24-7 (13-5 Big Ten)

    The Spartans have recovered from their painful three-game losing streak spanning from mid-February to early March, winning two straight to conclude the regular season and head to Chicago as the No. 3 seed in the Big Ten Tournament.

    Michigan State will take on the winner of Iowa vs. Northwestern in the quarterfinals on Friday. Tom Izzo's crew beat both of those teams during the regular season and will be a favorite to reach Saturday's semifinals, where barring any upsets it will face second-seeded Ohio State.

    As is usually the case, the Spartans will likely get a bulk of their offensive production from talented guards Keith Appling and Gary Harris. However it might not matter, as Deshaun Thomas and the Buckeyes are on fire right now and are without a doubt the hottest team in the Big Ten having won five in a row.

    It wouldn't shock anyone if Michigan State won the Big Ten Tournament this March, but it's more likely that the Spartans' run ends in the semifinals on Saturday.

    Odds: +400

    Projected Finish: Semifinals

No. 2. Ohio State Buckeyes

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    Record: 23-7 (13-5 Big Ten)

    The Ohio State Buckeyes have the second-best odds to win the Big Ten Tournament this weekend in Chicago, and there's no arguing with that.

    Ohio State has won five-straight games to conclude the regular season, and boasts wins over Michigan State and Indiana over that time. The Buckeyes' leading scorer Deshaun Thomas has been huge during the five-game winning streak, carrying a bulk of the scoring load for his team and making an impact on the boards.

    Averaging 19.7 points per game this season, Thomas is leading the Big Ten in that category and makes Ohio State a lock for Sunday's final. But that's where things get tricky for Thad Matta's squad. 

    Odds: +350

    Projected Finish: Runner-Up

No. 1. Indiana Hoosiers

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    Record: 26-5 (14-4 Big Ten)

    It comes as no surprise that the Indiana Hoosiers are the odds-on favorite to win the Big Ten Tournament title this March. Tom Crean's squad has been the best and the most consistent team in the conference since the season began, having dropped just five games all year and managing to rebound with a win after each loss.

    Led by National Player of the Year candidates Victor Oladipo (13.7 points and 2.2 steals per game) and Cody Zeller (16.8 points and 8.1 rebounds per game), the Hoosiers have very few weaknesses. They rank second in the country in points per game, seventh in field goal percentage and inside the top 20 in rebounds per game.

    Upsets are a part of college basketball this time of year, and nothing is guaranteed. But for now, Indiana is the best team in the conference hands-down and the favorite to win the Big Ten Tournament this weekend in Chicago.

    Odds: +140

    Projected Finish: Champion


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