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Minnesota vs. Illinois
Illinois and Minnesota have both shown just how brutal the Big Ten schedule is. They have both been ranked very highly this season, but because of their brutal schedules they have both been left with 8-10 conference records.
From the start, this game will be closely contested just like any Big Ten game. The winner gets a near death sentence by moving on to take on Indiana, but there is something unique about Illinois and Minnesota. They both have so much talent, that they were both able to beat Indiana this season.
Both these teams are great, and the game will show that. Illinois escapes because of their defense though.
Penn State vs. Michigan
When the No. 6 ranked team in the entire country only gets the No. 5 seed in the Big Ten conference tournament, then you know how hard the Big Ten is.
This seems like an easy win for Michigan, but one of the big reasons the Wolverines do not have a first round bye is because they lost to Penn State in February. Still, this game should be fairly easy for Michigan to win.
Northwestern vs. Iowa
The Hawkeyes have played their way back into discussion for a berth in the NCAA Tournament, but they will definitely have to get a win in the Big Ten Tournament.
Iowa has handled the Wildcats fairly easily both times that they met this season, and they are playing really good basketball right now. The Wildcats' struggles will continue as they get bounced early in the Big Ten Tournament.
Nebraska vs. Purdue
Nebraska came to play in the Big Ten mainly because of football. Its basketball has not really been very competitive in Big Ten play, to say the least.
Purdue on the other hand, has played some really good basketball at times this season. The Boilermakers had a terrible nonconference season though and would certainly have to make a dream run all the way to the Big Ten title if they want to dance next week. They start that potential run with a win over Nebraska.