College Basketball

Big Ten Tournament 2014: Schedule, Bracket and Viewing Info

COLUMBUS, OH - MARCH 9:  LaQuinton Ross #10 of the Ohio State Buckeyes splits the defense of Adreian Payne #5 of the Michigan State Spartans and Branden Dawson #22 of the Michigan State Spartans in the second half on March 9, 2014 at Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio.  Ohio State defeated Michigan State 69-67. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images
Brian MaziqueCorrespondent IIIMarch 10, 2014

The Big Ten tournament runs from March 13-16 and takes place at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Ind. Heading in, the Michigan Wolverines have to be considered the favorites after winning the regular-season title.

Things can certainly change in the conference tournament, though.

At least three other teams could get hot and make a run at the postseason title. As drama and close games are concerned, the Big Ten tournament could feature the best action of all the conference tournaments.

Here's a link to the schedule, viewing info and bracket, per BigTen.org.

Let's look at the teams to watch.

 

The Favorites

Michigan Wolverines

ANN ARBOR, MI - MARCH 8:  Nik Stauskas #11 of the Michigan Wolverines goes in for a layup past Will Sheehey #0 of the Indiana Hoosiers during the first half of a basketball game on March 8, 2014, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Imag
Duane Burleson/Getty Images

The Wolverines won the regular-season conference title in a cakewalk. The team was 15-3 during conference play, which was a full three games better than its closest competitors.

Nik Stauskas is one of the nation's best shooting guards. He has underrated ball-handling and finishing skills. To add to those abilities, Stauskas also makes 49 percent of his three-point attempts. 

Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman talks about Stauskas' development:

He averages 17.4 points per game and is one of the favorites to win Big Ten Player of the Year. The Wolverines' supporting cast is unselfish and versatile. As a team, they shoot just under 40 percent from beyond the arc.

They also knock down 76 percent of their free throws. Michigan is built to win close games, and that's why it deserves to be considered favorites in the conference tournament.

 

Other Teams to Watch

Michigan State Spartans

COLUMBUS, OH - MARCH 9:  Head Coach Tom Izzo of the Michigan State Spartans and Branden Dawson #22 of the Michigan State Spartans argue during a timeout in the second half against the Ohio State Buckeyes on March 9, 2014 at Value City Arena in Columbus, O
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Despite dropping three of its last four regular-season games, the Spartans are a quality team. After losing a heart-breaking close game in the regular-season finale against the Ohio State Buckeyes on Sunday, head coach Tom Izzo wasn't happy.

The Spartans turned the ball over on five of their last nine possessions. Per Zac Jackson of Fox Sports Ohio, here's how Izzo reacted when he was asked about his frustration level after the game:

It's almost a given that the team will be put through the paces after a disappointing performance. Don't be shocked if they're even better for it during tournament play.

Izzo is one of the premier coaches in the game, and the talent is there. This is still a dangerous team.

 

Wisconsin Badgers

MADISON, WI - MARCH 05: Frank Kaminsky #44 of the Wisconsin Badgers drives to the hoop during the first half against the Purdue Boilermakers at Kohl Center on March 05, 2014 in Madison, Wisconsin. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)
Mike McGinnis/Getty Images

Because they flat out defend, the Badgers have a chance to knock off just about any team. On offense, Wisconsin might be the most balanced team in the league. Four players average double figures, led by Frank Kaminsky's 13.4 points per game.

The downside to that makeup is that it lacks a real go-to player down the stretch.

In close games, it's nice to have a player who can simply take the ball to the hole and get a bucket, or at least two free-throw attempts.

We'll see if the Badgers can do it by committee.

 

Ohio State Buckeyes

COLUMBUS, OH - MARCH 9:  Sam Thompson #12 of the Ohio State Buckeyes glides in all alone for a slam dunk in the second half against the Michigan State Spartans on March 9, 2014 at Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio.  Ohio State defeated Michigan State 69-
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

After their emotional win over the Spartans on senior day, the Buckeyes' confidence should be at an all-time high. There were issues with free throws in the game, but behind Aaron Craft, the team gutted out a win.

LaQuinton Ross and Craft are obviously big factors for Ohio State, but the key to success in the postseason will be the play of junior Sam Thompson. The uber-athletic swingman is a spark plug and ignitor for the team.

When he plays well, the Buckeyes are like a different team. In Ohio State's eight losses, Thompson has only scored double figures in two of them. The team is 6-1 in games when he scores 12 or more points.

He is the X-factor.

 

Follow me. I'm addicted to hoops.

@BMaziqueFPBR

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