Big 10 Tournament 2019: Bracket Predictions Before Final Regular-Season Games

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistMarch 9, 2019

Michigan guard Jordan Poole (2) is defended by Michigan State forward Kenny Goins (25) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019, in Ann Arbor, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

The final weekend of regular-season play in the Big Ten will affect the conference tournament seeding up and down the standings.

Entering Saturday, Michigan, Michigan State and Purdue are locked at 15-4 at the top of the Big Ten.

Michigan and Michigan State play each other Saturday, while the Boilermakers will try to finish strong on the road at Northwestern.

The middle of the Big Ten provides a wealth of intrigue as well, as a quartet of programs with sub-.500 records in conference play are jockeying for the best seed possible in Chicago.


Bracket Predictions

1. Michigan 

2. Purdue

3. Michigan State

4. Wisconsin

5. Maryland

6. Iowa

7. Minnesota

8. Ohio State

9. Indiana

10. Rutgers

11. Illinois

12. Penn State

13. Nebraska

14. Northwestern 


Saturday night's clash between Michigan and Michigan State at Breslin Center will decide the No. 1 seed in the Big Ten tournament.

The Spartans won the first meeting between the two sides at Crisler Center on February 24 by seven points. 

The prime-time showdown in East Lansing is expected to be a close affair, with the stars on both teams making big plays.

But we're leaning toward the Wolverines earning revenge on the road behind leading scorer Ignas Brazdeikis and Jon Teske, who enters Saturday with three straight double-doubles.

ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN - FEBRUARY 16:  Jon Teske #15 of the Michigan Wolverines reacts after making a three point basket next Bruno Fernando #23 of the Maryland Terrapins during the second half at Crisler Arena on February 16, 2019 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Mi
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

A Michigan win would drop Michigan State down to the No. 3 as long as Purdue takes care of business against Northwestern.

That means the Boilermakers would have to go through both Michigan and Michigan State to win the Big Ten tournament if form holds in Chicago.

The seeding possibilities get messier for Sunday's four-game slate in the Big Ten, which includes Wisconsin's trip to Ohio State and Indiana hosting Rutgers.

The Badgers, who have won four of their past five games, should be able to finish off the regular season with a victory and earn the No. 4 seed for their trip to Chicago.

Wisconsin might feel a bit of pressure since Maryland ended its regular season with a victory and Ohio State is fighting for its NCAA men's basketball tournament fate, but we have trust in the Badgers to get the job done.

The Buckeyes still have a chance to hold on to the No. 8 seed if they lose because of tiebreakers, and they are in line for a first-round matchup with Indiana as long as the Hoosiers beat Rutgers at home.

EVANSTON, ILLINOIS - MARCH 06: Andre Wesson #24 of the Ohio State Buckeyes takes on Vic Law #4 of the Northwestern Wildcats at Welsh-Ryan Arena on March 06, 2019 in Evanston, Illinois. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
Quinn Harris/Getty Images

A first-round clash between Ohio State and Indiana could become an elimination game to get into the Big Dance, and the winner of that game has a chance to earn another quality win against the No. 1 seed in the quarterfinals.

The Buckeyes are one of the last four teams with byes into the round of 64, and Indiana is in the First Four Out category, according to ESPN.com's Joe Lunardi.

However, if Rutgers goes into Assembly Hall and wins, chaos will break loose in the race for Big Ten tournament seeding, as Illinois and Penn State also go head-to-head.

As much as we embrace the mayhem at this time of year, Indiana will simplify the process with a win over Rutgers and take the No. 9 seed on a head-to-head tiebreaker over Illinois.

That would leave Rutgers, Illinois, Penn State, Nebraska and Northwestern to fill out the bottom part of the standings since four of those teams are projected to lose Saturday and Sunday.


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90Statistics obtained from ESPN.com.