The 2014 Big Ten tournament will invade the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis from March 13-16, and the event is shaping up to be one of the most exciting battles in college basketball this season due to the depth of talent in the conference.
With perennial powerhouses Michigan, Michigan State and Wisconsin and a surprising Nebraska team gaining top seeds and talented programs like Indiana, Ohio State and Iowa still having an outside shot at winning it all, this promises to be an exciting tournament.
Here is a full tourney schedule with television information, the updated bracket and all the details fans need to enjoy the action.
|Game||Date||Team One||Team Two||TV Broadcast||Time|
|1||March 13||Indiana||Illinois||Big Ten Network||12 PM ET|
|2||March 13||Ohio State||Purdue||Big Ten Network||25 mins after Game 1|
|3||March 13||Minnesota||Penn State||ESPN 2||6:30 PM ET|
|4||March 13||Iowa||Northwestern||ESPN 2||25 mins after Game 3|
|5||March 14||Michigan||Game 1 Winner||ESPN/ESPN 2||12 PM ET|
|6||March 14||Nebraska||Game 2 Winner||ESPN/ESPN 2||25 mins after Game 5|
|7||March 14||Wisconsin||Game 3 Winner||Big Ten Network||6:30 PM ET|
|8||March 14||Michigan State||Game 4 Winner||Big Ten Network||25 mins after Game 7|
|9||March 15||Game 5 Winner||Game 6 Winner||CBS||1:40 PM ET|
|10||March 15||Game 7 Winner||Game 8 Winner||CBS||25 mins after Game 10|
|11||March 16||Game 9 Winner||Game 10 Winner||CBS||3:30 PM ET|
Updated Big Ten Bracket
*Source: Big Ten Network
NCAA Bubble Teams Looking to Succeed
While the team that wins the conference championship will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, there are several programs in the Big Ten tourney with the talent and the record this season to sneak in as well.
Each of the following schools should make the NCAA bracket with big wins at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Minnesota Golden Gophers (19-12, 8-10 Big Ten)
The Minnesota Golden Gophers are one of the more underrated teams in the nation, but the program’s talent will be on full display when the Big Ten tournament kicks off on Thursday.
Minnesota won 13 of its first 16 games to start the season, but struggled down the stretch, losing nine of the program’s last 15 matchups. The good news for the Golden Gophers is the team has played tough against Big Ten competition.
Winning the conference tournament will be difficult, but Marcus R. Fuller of The Pioneer Press still believes the team can make the NCAA tourney without winning the Big Ten:
Pitino said he doesn't t think #Gophers have to win the Big Ten tournament to make the NCAA tournament. He's right. Probably need two wins.— Marcus R. Fuller (@GophersNow) March 10, 2014
After closing the season with a one-sided beatdown on the Penn State Nittany Lions, Minnesota plays PSU once again in the opening round. Not only did the Golden Gophers beat Penn State on March 9, but the school also dominated its opponent by a score of 81-63 to ensure the psychological edge heading into this matchup.
Beating No. 2 seed Wisconsin in the next round is imperative if Minnesota wants to make the NCAA tournament, and the Gophers should be confident in their abilities after splitting the season series with the conference foes.
Nebraska Cornhuskers (19-11, 11-7 Big Ten)
Unlike most of the other teams in the Big Ten tournament, the Nebraska Cornhuskers started the season slow and did not look to be destined for more than a first-round loss in the conference tournament.
After winning 11 of the final 14 games in the regular season—including huge victories against Ohio State, Michigan State and Wisconsin—it is clear that Nebraska is one of the most dangerous teams in the Big Ten.
Jeff Borzello of CBS Sports talks about the Cornhuskers’ NCAA hopes:
Nebraska is going to finish fourth in the Big Ten and is on the precipice of the NCAA Tournament. Crazy. Tim Miles is a program-changer.— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) March 10, 2014
Nebraska has the offensive prowess to stand toe-to-toe with any of the top programs in the conference, but its biggest flaw has been the inability to rebound consistently.
Which team has the better chance of making the NCAA tournament?
Led by the elite scoring tandem of Terran Petteway and Shavon Shields on the offensive end, Nebraska has the chance to take down whichever team it faces in the second round and make a deep run at a surprise conference title.
Whether the Cornhuskers win the Big Ten championship or not, a victory in the second round would almost guarantee a spot in the NCAA tournament.
*Stats via ESPN.com.