Big Ten Tournament 2021: Round 2 Schedule, Live-Stream Info, Bracket PredictionsMarch 11, 2021
Big Ten Tournament 2021: Round 2 Schedule, Live-Stream Info, Bracket Predictions
Several of the top men's college basketball teams in the country are in the Big Ten, including No. 3 Illinois, No. 4 Michigan and No. 5 Iowa. So the conference tournament should provide plenty of exciting action. But which team will rise to the top and win the tourney title?
The Big Ten tournament got underway Wednesday at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. No. 11-seeded Penn State defeated No. 14-seeded Nebraska, while No. 13-seeded Minnesota beat No. 12-seeded Northwestern.
There will be four second-round matchups Thursday, but none will feature the four top teams in the conference. Michigan, Illinois, Iowa and Purdue all received double byes and won't join in on the action until the quarterfinals Friday.
Thursday's contests should be competitive, and there may even be a few upsets in store. Here's a look at the second-round schedule, followed by predictions for all four games.
Round 2 Schedule
Thursday, March 11
No. 8 Maryland vs. No. 9 Michigan State, 11:30 a.m. ET, Big Ten Network
No. 5 Ohio State vs. No. 13 Minnesota, 25 minutes after previous game, Big Ten Network
No. 7 Rutgers vs. No. 10 Indiana, 6:30 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network
No. 6 Wisconsin vs. No. 11 Penn State, 25 minutes after previous game, Big Ten Network
Games can be streamed live on Big Ten Network+.
Michigan State over Maryland
In the lone regular-season meeting between these teams, Maryland rolled to a 73-55 home win over Michigan State. However, that was also the Terrapins' last victory, as they ended the regular season with back-to-back losses to Northwestern and Penn State.
The Spartans, meanwhile, may have moved past their midseason struggles. They closed out the regular season with five wins in seven games, which included a 70-64 upset victory over Michigan in their finale. And now that it's tournament time, you can never count out coach Tom Izzo, who has enjoyed tremendous postseason success during his 26-year tenure leading Michigan State.
Expect the Spartans to win the battle on the boards (they ranked fifth in the Big Ten with 37.6 rebounds per game while the Terps ranked 13th with 33.5), which will help their offense perform better than it did in their previous matchup against Maryland. Michigan State will pull away late and advance to the quarterfinals.
Prediction: Michigan State 73, Maryland 60
Ohio State over Minnesota
Ohio State is the No. 9 team in the country, yet it's playing in the second round because of the Big Ten's strength. It's also because the Buckeyes had a tough end to the regular season, losing four straight games to Michigan, Michigan State, Iowa and Illinois.
That was a difficult stretch for Ohio State, but it's likely turned the page since its last game Saturday. It will look to bounce back against Minnesota, which snapped a seven-game losing streak with its first-round win over Northwestern.
The Buckeyes may have a tough time in the later rounds, but this should be an opportunity for them to re-establish a little momentum. They will use their strong free-throw shooting (their 77 percent shooting at the line is the best in the Big Ten) to easily put away Minnesota, avenging their Jan. 3 loss to the Golden Gophers.
Prediction: Ohio State 81, Minnesota 63
Indiana over Rutgers
Indiana sophomore forward Trayce Jackson-Davis has been one of the best players in the conference this season. He ranked fourth with 19.1 points per game and also averaged 9.0 rebounds per contest, leading to him being named to the All-Big Ten first team.
Jackson-Davis and the Hoosiers didn't have a great end to the regular season, though, losing their last five games and six of their last seven. That included a 74-63 loss at Rutgers on Feb. 24. But they will have an opportunity to avenge that defeat to the Scarlet Knights in Thursday's second-round matchup.
Rutgers' play has been inconsistent in the second half of the season, and with the stakes raised, it could have trouble stopping Jackson-Davis. This should be a close game, but Indiana will pull it out late.
Prediction: Indiana 76, Rutgers 71
Wisconsin over Penn State
Wisconsin struggled during the final stretch of the regular season, losing six of its last eight games. However, each of those defeats came against a ranked team, so the Badgers were facing some tough competition over that span.
Meanwhile, Penn State has been playing well in recent weeks. The Nittany Lions have won four of their past five games and are on their first three-game winning streak of the season after beating Nebraska in the first round Wednesday.
Still, Wisconsin is the better team in this matchup. The Badgers lead the Big Ten with only 64 points allowed per game, and they will rely on their defense to get past the Nittany Lions and into the quarterfinals.
Prediction: Wisconsin 70, Penn State 56