It's already been an exciting day for the Big Ten tournament, and the quarterfinals are only halfway over.
As expected, Indiana kicked off the day by trumping Illinois 80-64. And with a final score that doesn't really reflect how close the game actually was, Wisconsin avoided an upset with its 68-59 win over Michigan.
Here's how the bracket currently looks:
With two more games to go before the end of the day, here are some predictions for the final two quarterfinal games in this exciting Big Ten tourney.
No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 10 Nebraska, 5:30 p.m. ET, BTN
Nebraska limped into this year's tournament, dropping six of its last nine games in the regular season. But the Cornhuskers did squeeze out a 57-55 win over Purdue in their first game of the Big Ten tournament, proving that, maybe, they shouldn't be underestimated.
Ohio State was nearly unbeatable in the final months of the season. It lost just three games in February and none in March.
The Buckeyes do everything right. They averaged 70.2 points per game in the regular season (fourth in conference) while allowing opponents just 58.7 points (second).
Ohio State is built around junior forward Deshaun Thomas, who led the Big Ten in scoring this year with 19.7 points per game.
While the Cornhuskers gave it a good go against Purdue, it's hard to see them finding a way to upset the Buckeyes. This one shouldn't be pretty.
Prediction: Ohio State 72, Nebraska 56
No. 3 Michigan State vs. No. 6 Iowa, 8 p.m. ET, BTN
Michigan State looked suspect coming into the tournament, dropping three of its last five. But the Spartans finished the regular season strong, with dominating wins over Wisconsin and Northwestern.
Led by guard Keith Appling and center Adreian Payne (both juniors), the Spartans play solid on both ends of the court. They averaged 68.9 points a game over the season and allowed opponents 59.3 points.
Looking to carry its hot streak into the postseason, Michigan State will face Iowa as its first opponent in the Big Ten tournament.
If the Spartans are enjoying a hot streak, the Hawkeyes are on fire. In the team's last three games—against Illinois, Nebraska and Northwestern—Iowa topped its opponents by a margin of 210-174. Led by junior Roy Devyn Marble and his 14.3 points per game, Iowa averaged 70.8 points per game in the regular season (third-best in the conference).
These two teams last met in January, when Iowa gave Michigan State a run for its money but ultimately lost 59-62. Despite all the heat in Iowa's favor, it's tough to overlook the experience of the Spartans and head coach Tom Izzo. It'll be another close one, but Michigan State will get it done.
Prediction: Michigan State 69, Iowa 65
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