Big Ten Tournament 2016: Bracket, Schedule and Championship Odds

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistMarch 7, 2016

Michigan State's Denzel Valentine (45) drives against Ohio State's Mickey Mitchell during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, March 5, 2016, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)
Al Goldis/Associated Press

The Big Ten tournament hit a new high last year, when the Wisconsin Badgers and Michigan State Spartans met in a thrilling championship game at the United Center in Chicago.

The Badgers and Spartans could not separate from each other, and it took an overtime session before Frank Kaminsky III and his Wisconsin teammates were able to defeat Michigan State.

The conference tournament proved to be a precursor to the NCAA tournament, as both Wisconsin and Michigan State earned spots in the Final Four.

The Big Ten would like to put on an equally good show in Indianapolis this week:

2016 Big Ten Tournament
DateGame No.MatchupTime (ET)TV
March 91Minnesota (13) vs. Illinois (12)4:30 p.m.ESPN2
March 92Rutgers (14) vs. Nebraska (11)7 p.m.BTN
March 103Northwestern (9) vs. Michigan (8)NoonBTN
March 104Illinois/Minnesota vs. Iowa (5)2:30 p.m.BTN
March 105Penn State (10) vs. Ohio State (7)6:30 p.m.ESPN2
March 106Nebraska/Rutgers vs. Wisconsin (6)9 p.m.ESPN2
March 117Michigan/Northwestern vs. Indiana (1)NoonESPN
March 118Game 4 winner vs. Purdue (4)2:30 p.m.ESPN
March 119Game 5 winner vs. Michigan State (2)6:30 p.m.BTN
March 1110Game 6 winner vs. Maryland (3)9 p.m.BTN
March 1211Semifinal (Game 7 winner vs. Game 8 winner)1 p.m.CBS
March 1212Semifinal (Game 9 winner vs. Game 10 winner)3:30 p.m.CBS
March 1313Championship3 p.m.CBS
BigTen.com

Michigan State is again likely to be involved in the most crucial games, while Indiana appears to have an excellent chance of replacing Wisconsin in a starring role.

The Hoosiers won the regular-season title, while the Spartans finished as the No. 2 seed. If the seeding holds up throughout the week, Indiana and Michigan State will meet for the Big Ten title Sunday afternoon.

Even though Michigan State finished second in the regular season, head coach Tom Izzo's Spartans are 27-20 favorites to win the tournament, according to Odds Shark.

The Hoosiers are the second choice at 7-2, while Maryland and Purdue are both tied for third at 5-1.

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Odds to Win Big Ten Tournament
TeamBig Ten RecordOdds
Michigan State13-527-20
Indiana15-37-2
Maryland12-65-1
Purdue12-65-1
Iowa12-67-1
Wisconsin12-611-1
Michigan10-816-1
Ohio State11-725-1
Northwestern8-1025-1
Penn State7-1125-1
Nebraska6-1225-1
Illinois5-1325-1
Minnesota2-1625-1
Rutgers1-1725-1
Odds Shark

Michigan State will likely be a top seed in the NCAA tournament when the brackets come out Sunday. The Spartans played a challenging nonconference schedule and performed brilliantly, but they struggled early in the Big Ten season. However, they regained their form and have won six games in a row and 10 of their last 11.

National Player of the Year candidate Denzel Valentine, who averaged 19.6 points per game during the regular season, leads the Spartans. Valentine is a creative player who excels at finding the open man as well as hitting the clutch shot. He is averaging 7.5 rebounds per contest and has received praise from legendary Spartans star and NBA all-time great Magic Johnson, per Kyle Austin of MLive.com:

Caught up with Magic Johnson in Anaheim last night. He had some nice things to say about Denzel Valentine https://t.co/hwT0l3Yk2M

— Kyle Austin (@kylebaustin) November 30, 2015

Valentine has gotten plenty of help from guard Bryn Forbes and powerful forward Matt Costello. Forbes is averaging 15.1 points per game and is one of the best outside shooters in the nation. He is connecting on 50.5 percent of his shots from beyond the arc.

Costello leads the team in rebounding with 8.5 boards per game, and he is also scoring 10.5 points per contest. Aside from his numbers, Costello dives, hustles and sets the tone for the Spartans as well.

Indiana has been brilliant throughout the Big Ten season, and head coach Tom Crean has quieted critics who had complained about him.

Guard Yogi Ferrell is the team's leading scorer with 17.1 points per game. Ferrell is also one of the best passers in the league and is averaging 5.5 assists per contest.

Fellow guard James Blackmon Jr. is the team's second-leading scorer, averaging 15.8 points per game. He is connecting on 48.0 percent of his shots from the field and 46.3 percent from beyond the arc.

If someone denies Michigan State and Indiana, look for Maryland or Iowa to come away with the title.

The Terrapins have a pair of stars who are capable of filling it up quickly iMelo Trimble and Diamond Stone. The Terps are Big Ten outsiders because they spent so many years in the ACC. However, they have not been intimidated in their first two seasons in the Big Ten and are capable of putting on an impressive show in the tournament.

While Iowa slumped down the home stretch, the Hawkeyes led the Big Ten throughout much of the season. Forward Jarrod Uthoff had an impressive regular season and leads Iowa with 18.8 points per game, while swingman Peter Jok is averaging 15.8 points per game.