Big Ten Tournament 2013 Schedule: Upsets to Watch for in Opening Rounds

Dan TalintyreSenior Analyst IIMarch 14, 2013

WEST LAFAYETTE, IN - MARCH 6: Trey Burke #3 of the Michigan Wolverines brings the ball up court against Ronnie Johnson #3 of the Purdue Boilermakers during the game at Mackey Arena on March 6, 2013 in West Lafayette, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Big Ten tournament is on again for another year, with a plethora of exciting matchups and games set to take place in the weeks ahead.

All the top seeds will be expected to triumph in their respective early matches, but the reality is that upsets could well be on the cards in the opening rounds of the tournament this year.

Several of the top seeds could be primed for a shock loss early; read on to see which teams are definitely on upset alert in the opening rounds.


Penn State [12] over Michigan [5]

Michigan will head into this match no doubt furious that they blew their chance to have a top-four spot for the tournament ahead, but also at the fact that they have to play against Penn State once more.

The Nittany Lions have not been good throughout the year, yet they managed to turn it on for one night against the Wolverines when the two teams played earlier in the year. And whilst it might not seem like much, that win could well give Penn State the confidence they need to cause another huge upset here.

Michigan squandered a huge lead in that game and will be desperate to avoid a similar thing happening here. They were up by 15 points on the lowly Penn State, yet somehow allowed their opponents back into the game and ended up losing as a result.

So expect both sides to carry plenty of feeling and passion into this one—especially if the Nittany Lions can get on a roll early and frustrate Michigan. 

The Wolverines will know that they are the better team and that they should win easy here, but will also have that loss earlier in the year in the back of their minds. And if Penn State can start to make their shots and force turnovers from their opponents, then who knows what could end up happening in this first-round fixture?

I think Michigan will finish strong with a win here, but not before Penn State give the Wolverines an almighty scare in the first half of this one.

Michigan 84, Penn State 75


Minnesota [9] over Illinois [8]

Both Minnesota and Illinois head into the Big Ten tournament on the back of losing streaks, and with mixed regular-season form under their belts, as well.

The respective teams have played very well at times this season, but both have coupled that good form with some shocking performances—something they'll be desperate to avoid here, as they seek to keep their postseason chances alive.

Minnesota will have the edge over the Fighting Illini in terms of regular-season matchups, having beat them by 17 points on the road earlier this year. They drained 50 points in the second half alone of that fixture to give them a huge win, but given their performance in the repeat game where—they not only lost, but also scored only 53 points—they will be looking for a big offensive night.

The Golden Gophers have a good interior offense that can trouble the best in the league, and if they can start making plays on defense once more, they could be a surprise team to handle in the Big Ten. I think they'll start with another strong win over the Fighting Illini—even if it does take a late run to get them over the line and into the second round of competition.

Minnesota 72, Illinois 70


Click here for a full Big Ten tournament schedule.


Which Big Ten teams do you think can pull off an upset this year?

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