As we get closer to March Madness, college basketball will get better and better. The Big Ten is no stranger to good basketball and in my opinion, is second only to the Big East.
This year the Big Ten seems to have more depth rather than any real dominant teams. It has its fair share of good teams but really only one dominate team.
This article will break down who I think will get in the tourney. It will be in order of strongest to weakest.
No. 1 Ohio State - Overall (26-2) - Conference (13-2) - RPI 3
Ohio State has hit a few speed bumps in the past few games. Ohio State lost these two games (both on the road) to No. 13 Wisconsin and No. 8 Purdue.
Regardless I see Ohio State bouncing back and winning its game against Indiana and probably beating Penn State. The last game of the regular season is against Wisconsin. The Buckeyes will be out for revenge at home, so the Buckeyes will win this one as well.
No. 2 Purdue - Overall (23-5) - Conference (12-3) - RPI 6
The Purdue Boilermakers have been putting together another good season. Purdue has been on a five-game winning streak, highlighted by victories over No. 13 Wisconsin and No. 2 Ohio State. Purdue should win its final three games and go into the Big Ten tourney as the 2-seed.
No. 3 Wisconsin - Overall (21-6) - Conference (11-4) - RPI 14
Wisconsin has won seven of its last 10 games. They seem to be well on the way to locking up the 3-seed in the Big Ten Tourney and possibly a 3-seed in the NCAA Tournament. Wisconsin should win two of its final three games, the only loss coming against Ohio State.
No. 4 Illinois - Overall (18-11) - Conference (8-8) - RPI 39
Illinois is currently tied for fourth in the Big Ten standings with Michigan State and Penn State. I gave Illinois the edge here because they have beaten higher quality opponents compared to the others.
Illinois should make the Big Dance if they win their first round game in the Big Ten Tournament. They should win two out of their last three, only losing to Purdue.
No. 5 Michigan State - Overall (16-12) - Conference (8-8) - RPI 38
The Michigan State Spartans have been off and on throughout the season. They have won three games out of their last five and should win their last two (both home games, Iowa and Michigan).
Michigan State can help their stock by winning one or two games in the Big Ten Tournament. They will probably end up being an 11- or 12-seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Who will win the Big Ten Tournament?
No. 6 Penn State - Overall (15-12) - Conference (8-8) - RPI 55
Penn State has also shown flashes of greatness this season. In the Lions high point, they defeated Michigan State, Illinois and Wisconsin. However they have also lost a few ugly games; losing to Maine by 10 points and Maryland by 23 points.
Penn State will make the NCAA Tournament if they can upset Ohio State and beat Minnesota. If they do not beat Ohio State, they can still make it in with a good showing in the Big Ten Tourney.
No. 7 Minnesota - Overall (17-11) - Conference (6-10) - RPI 61
If Minnesota wants to get into the dance, they will have to beat Northwestern and Penn State and then win two games in the Big Ten Tournament.
It is a stretch, but Minnesota has enough talent to get it done. If they lose anymore games, I think the Tournament committee will pass them over.
Teams Just Outside of the Tournament
No. 8 Michigan - Overall (18-12) - Conference (8-9) - RPI 57
Michigan is just out of the tournament because they have not beaten any quality opponents. If they can upset Michigan State and win one or two games in the Big Ten Tournament though, I think they get in.
No. 9 Northwestern - Overall (16-11) - Conference (6-10) - RPI 95
If Northwestern wants to get in, they will have to beat Wisconsin and Minnesota and go deep into the Big Ten Tournament. It does not look good for the Wildcats but anything is possible in college basketball.
Indiana - Overall (12-16) - Conference (3-12) - RPI 185
Iowa - Overall (10-18) - Conference (3-13) - RPI 178
So that's it for my article. Agree? Disagree? Leave your comments below.
Thanks for reading.