Big Ten Tournament 2019: Round-1 Schedule, Live-Stream Info, Bracket Predictions

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistMarch 13, 2019

Cassius Winston has been Michigan State's go-to scorer throughout the season.
Cassius Winston has been Michigan State's go-to scorer throughout the season.Al Goldis/Associated Press

The Big Ten regular season was a dogfight between Michigan State, Purdue and Michigan.

The Spartans and Boilermakers tied for the regular-season championship with 16-4 records, while the Wolverines were a game behind at 15-5.

One of those top three seeds will have the best chance to win the Big Ten tournament, but the most important game may be the second-round matchup between eighth-seeded Ohio State and ninth-seeded Indiana.

Those two teams will meet at 12:30 p.m. ET Thursday, the first of four games at the United Center in Chicago.

The victor may have a chance to gain a ticket to the NCAA tournament, while the loser will almost certainly be eliminated from contention.

According to ESPN college basketball bracketologist Joe Lunardi, the teams are currently listed in the "first four out" section. 

The two teams are going in opposite directions as the tournament gets underway, because Ohio State lost four of its last five regular-season games, while the Hoosiers won their last four.

The winner will get the top-seeded Spartans, and Michigan State had a pair of victories against the Buckeyes but lost both of its games against Indiana.             

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Big Ten tournament

Wednesday, March 13

First round

Game 1: No. 12 Rutgers vs. No. 13 Nebraska (6:30 p.m. ET, BTN)
Game 2: No. 11 Illinois vs. No. 14 Northwestern (9 p.m., BTN)      

Thursday, March 14

Second round

Game 3: No. 8 Ohio State vs. No. 9 Indiana (12:30 p.m. ET, BTN)
Game 4: No. 5 Maryland vs. Game 1 winner (3 p.m., BTN)
Game 5: No. 7 Minnesota vs. No. 10 Penn State (7 p.m, BTN)
Game 6: No. 6 Iowa vs. Game 2 winner (9:30 p.m., BTN)                  

Friday, March 15


Game 7: No. 1 Michigan State vs. Game 3 winner (12:30 p.m. ET, BTN)
Game 8: No. 4 Wisconsin vs. Game 4 winner (3 p.m., BTN)
Game 9: No. 2 Purdue vs. Game 5 winner (7 p.m., BTN)
Game 10: No. 3 Michigan vs. Game 6 winner (9:30 p.m., BTN)                   

Saturday, March 16


Game 11: Friday afternoon winners (1 p.m. ET, CBS)
Game 12: Friday evening winners (3:30 p.m., CBS)           

Sunday, March 17


Game 13: Saturday winners (3:30 p.m ET, CBS)

The tournament gets underway Wednesday with a double-header featuring 12th-seeded Rutgers meeting 13th-seeded Nebraska at 6:30 p.m. ET, while 11th-seeded Illinois will face 14th-seeded Northwestern about 20 minutes after the first game concludes.

Rutgers will try to advance to the second round behind guard Geo Baker, who is second on the team in scoring with an average of 12.3 points and 4.1 assists per game.

Nebraska will try to counter the Scarlet Knights behind the scoring of guard Jesse Palmer, who is averaging 19.1 points per game.

Northwestern earned its first NCAA tournament slot two years ago, but the Wildcats have fallen on hard times since. They finished the regular season with a 13-18 record, and 11 losses in their last 12 games. Leading scorer Vic Law was carried off the court in the regular-season finale with a leg injury.

Illinois was 11-20 during the season, and if the Illini are going to do any kind of damage in the tournament, guard Ayo Dosunmu should lead the way. He averaged 14.1 points per game during the regular season.

The top-seeded Spartans are led by guard Cassius Winston, who is averaging 19 points and 7.6 assists per game. He can get hot with his shooting and carry the team, and he is connecting on 47.1 percent of his shots from the field.

Michigan State is also getting a solid contribution from Nick Ward, who is averaging 15.1 point and 6.7 rebounds per game. He suffered a fractured left hand and missed the last five games of the regular season, but he could be back here.

Purdue closed the season with six wins in its last seven games, and they are dependent on big gun Carsen Edwards for offense. The guard is averaging 23.4 points per game, and he is often at his most dangerous when the Boilermakers need him in the late stages of the second half.

Michigan split its last four games of the year, and both of those losses came against Michigan State. If the Wolverines are going to win the conference tournament, they are most likely going to have to overcome both the Boilermakers and the Spartans. 

Forward Ignas Brazdeikis is averaging 15 points and 5.3 rebounds per game, while Jordan Poole and Charles Matthews are averaging 13 and 12.8 points per game, respectively.



Look for Ohio State to reverse its recent form and defeat Indiana in the crucial second-round game. While that victory should help them get into the postseason, it seems unlikely that Ohio State will get by Michigan State in the quarterfinal round.

Look for Michigan State and fourth-seeded Wisconsin should meet in one semifinal, and expect the Spartans to register their second victory of the year over the Badgers.

Michigan handled Purdue easily in a 76-57 victory early in the season. While this game will be more challenging, expect the Wolverines to win and advance to the championship game.

The Wolverines will hang in with the Spartans well into the second half, but Winston will make the key plays down the stretch the Spartans will be the Big Ten conference tournament champions.

All Big Ten tournament games can be live streamed at BTN2go.com