Big 10 Tournament 2019: Bracket Predictions Before Final Regular-Season GamesMarch 9, 2019
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.
3. Michigan State
8. Ohio State
12. Penn State
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.
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.
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, @JTansey90. Statistics obtained from ESPN.com.