Big Ten Tournament 2021: Quarterfinal Schedule, Live Stream, Bracket Predictions

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IMarch 12, 2021

Big Ten Tournament 2021: Quarterfinal Schedule, Live Stream, Bracket Predictions

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    After a few days off following the end of the regular season, the top four teams in the Big Ten will be back in action Friday. They'll each be playing in a quarterfinal matchup in the conference tournament, which is taking place at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

    Michigan (No. 1 seed), Illinois (No. 2), Iowa (No. 3) and Purdue (No. 4) will all be looking to avoid being knocked off by a lower-seeded team and advance to Saturday's semifinals. The winners of those games will then play in the championship game on Sunday.

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    So far, there haven't been any big upsets through the first two rounds of the Big Ten tournament. Ohio State (No. 5 seed), Wisconsin (No. 6), Rutgers (No. 7) and Maryland (No. 8) were all victorious in quarterfinal contests on Thursday.

    Will there be any surprises in store on Friday? Here's a look at the quarterfinals schedule, along with predictions for each game.

Quarterfinals Schedule

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    Friday, March 12

    No. 1 Michigan vs. No. 8 Maryland, 11:30 a.m. ET, Big Ten Network

    No. 4 Purdue vs. No. 5 Ohio State, 2 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network

    No. 2 Illinois vs. No. 7 Rutgers, 6:30 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network

    No. 3 Iowa vs. No. 6 Wisconsin, 9 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network

    Games can be streamed live on Big Ten Network+.

Michigan over Maryland

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    Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

    Michigan could have been playing in-state rival Michigan State for the third time in nine days in Friday's quarterfinals. However, Maryland prevented that from happening, as it took down the Spartans 68-57 in the second round on Thursday and will now look to upset the Wolverines.

    That's going to be a tough task, though. Michigan may have lost two of its final three regular-season games, but it went 14-3 in Big Ten play to win the regular-season conference championship. The Wolverines beat the Terrapins twice—84-73 on the road on Dec. 31 and 87-63 at home on Jan. 19.

    After a few days to move past its tough end to the regular season, Michigan should be poised to get back on track. The Wolverines are a strong offensive team, ranking second in the Big Ten in field-goal percentage (48.8) and three-point percentage (38.6), and their efficient shooting will be too much for the Terps to match.

    Prediction: Michigan 80, Maryland 66

Ohio State over Purdue

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Ohio State may not have received a double bye as the No. 5 seed, but that may have actually been a good thing. The Buckeyes ended the regular season on a four-game losing streak, and after that difficult stretch, it may have been beneficial for them to open the Big Ten tournament against a weaker opponent.

    On Thursday, Ohio State held on for a 79-75 win over Minnesota. Now, it will hope to take down Purdue, which already owns a pair of victories over the Buckeyes this season (67-60 at home on Dec. 16 and 67-65 on the road on Jan. 19).

    Looking to avenge that pair of losses, Ohio State will try to carry over the momentum from its quarterfinal win, in which it shot 50 percent from the field. And while the Boilermakers will be a tough opponent for them once again, the Buckeyes will come out on top this time because of a strong offensive showing.

    Prediction: Ohio State 77, Purdue 70

Illinois over Rutgers

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    Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

    Illinois went on a roll during the second half of the regular season, winning 11 of its final 12 games and taking down many of the Big Ten's best teams along the way. Now, can the Fighting Illini keep that momentum going into the conference tournament?

    Rutgers opened the tourney with a strong defensive showing, beating Indiana 61-50 in the second round on Thursday. The Scarlet Knights were also one of the four Big Ten teams to defeat Illinois this season.

    A lot has changed since the Dec. 20 defeat, though, and Illinois is a much better team than it was early in the season. Expect a big night from junior guard Ayo Dosunmu to power the Fighting Illini into the semifinals, as they begin their quest to win the conference tournament title for the first time since 2005.

    Prediction: Illinois 82, Rutgers 70

Iowa over Wisconsin

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    Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

    Luka Garza was one of the best players in college basketball during the 2019-20 season, but he didn't get a chance to lead Iowa into the postseason when March Madness was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. This year, he'll have the opportunity.

    The Hawkeyes won seven of their final eight regular-season games, and with Garza leading the way, they're poised to have a strong showing this March. On Friday, Garza, who is averaging a Big Ten-best 23.8 points per game, will look to lead Iowa past Wisconsin, which is coming off a 75-74 victory over Penn State in the second round.

    The Hawkeyes have already beaten the Badgers twice this season, including in the regular-season finale this past Sunday. Garza is likely going to get off to a strong start in his first game of the tourney, and that will again be too much for Wisconsin to overcome.

    Prediction: Iowa 75, Wisconsin 64