The Big Ten could feasibly have seven teams in the NCAA tournament. Michigan State, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio State and Iowa are locks. Minnesota and Nebraska could punch their ticket with strong performances in the Big Ten tournament.
Gaining a top seed in a region is likely out of reach, but Michigan and Wisconsin could easily ascend to No. 2 seeds.
The conference games have been intense this season. You can bet the games in the tournament will be equally exciting. Here's how you can follow the action.
When: March 13-16
Where: Bankers Life Fieldhouse
TV: BTN, ESPN 2, ESPN, CBS
Live Stream: Information Here
|Game||Date||Team One||Team Two||TV Broadcast||Time|
|1||March 13||Indiana||Illinois||Big Ten Network||12 p.m. ET|
|2||March 13||Ohio State||Purdue||Big Ten Network||25 minutes after Game 1|
|3||March 13||Minnesota||Penn State||ESPN 2||6:30 p.m. ET|
|4||March 13||Iowa||Northwestern||ESPN 2||25 minutes after Game 3|
|5||March 14||Michigan||Game 1 Winner||ESPN/ESPN 2||12 p.m. ET|
|6||March 14||Nebraska||Game 2 Winner||ESPN/ESPN 2||25 minutes after Game 5|
|7||March 14||Wisconsin||Game 3 Winner||Big Ten Network||6:30 p.m. ET|
|8||March 14||Michigan State||Game 4 Winner||Big Ten Network||25 minutes after Game 7|
|9||March 15||Game 5 Winner||Game 6 Winner||CBS||1:40 p.m. ET|
|10||March 15||Game 7 Winner||Game 8 Winner||CBS||25 minutes after Game 10|
|11||March 16||Game 9 Winner||Game 10 Winner||CBS||3:30 p.m. ET|
Nik Stauskas has had a fantastic season. He deserves to be the Big Ten Player of the Year. Stauskas has developed his game on multiple fronts. Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman talks about the strides the sophomore guard has made since 2013:
Nik Stauskas skipped about three stages in the developmental process. Went from one-dimensional shooter to an offensive Swiss Army knife.— Jonathan Wasserman (@NBADraftWass) March 9, 2014
As a team, the Wolverines shoot 40 percent from three-point range. Their ability to also apply pressure on the perimeter defensively with a variety of long and athletic wings is another quality.
Michigan clearly established itself as the top team in the conference all year. Through the regular season, it is 15-3 against conference opponents. That record left them a full three games ahead of Wisconsin in the standings.
If ever there was a team that earned the right to be considered a favorite, it's Michigan.
Defensively, the Badgers can give just about any team a headache.
Offensively, there are some challenges, but Wisconsin has found some stability in the post. Frank Kaminsky is the conference's most dominant post presence. He lit up North Dakota for 43 points early in the season.
Kaminsky has scored 20 or more points five times this season.
He was named All-Big Ten and could provide moderate opposition for Stauskas for Player of the Year. Per Jeff Potrykus of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Kaminsky was humble and filled with gratitude. He said:
I'm honored that people think I'm worthy of first-team all-Big Ten, and I'm happy that I'm able to contribute to the team success we're having.
When you come into the program you hear all about the great players who have come before you and made Wisconsin what it is. I'm humbled to be in that company.
Kaminsky is the closest thing the Badgers have to a go-to man. They will need him to shine brightly in the conference tournament to win it all.
Michigan State Spartans
The Spartans finished the season losing three of their last four games, but don't count them out. Head coach Tom Izzo is one of the best in the business. He has experienced talents like Adreian Payne and Keith Appling to lean on.
Guard Gary Harris is capable of using the postseason as a springboard heading into the 2014 NBA draft.
Look for the Spartans to be focused and determined. The team is talented enough to not only win the Big Ten tournament, but also make some serious noise in the Big Dance.
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