Supposedly the best conference in college basketball this season gets its conference tournament started Thursday as the Big Ten, with four teams ranked in the AP Top 10, congregates at the United Center in Chicago.
With Indiana at No. 3, Michigan at No. 6, Michigan State at No. 8 and Ohio State at No. 10 in this week's poll, those teams will be playing not only for conference pride and bragging rights, but maybe for a top seed in the upcoming NCAA tournament, depending upon developments elsewhere.
In early Big Ten tournament betting, sportsbooks are listing top-seeded Indiana, which has never won the conference tournament, as a +125 favorite to cut down the nets Sunday afternoon.
Second-seeded Ohio State, which has won three of the last six Big Ten tournaments, third-seeded and defending tournament champion Michigan State and fifth-seeded Michigan, which won the first Big Ten tournament 15 years ago but hasn't won it since, are all getting +250 to win it this weekend.
Fourth-seeded Wisconsin, which last won the tournament five seasons ago, is getting +800. And eighth-seeded Illinois, which last won the tournament eight seasons ago, is listed at +1800.
Rounding out the college basketball odds board are Iowa, Minnesota and Purdue at +2500; Nebraska and Northwestern at +10000; and Penn State at +12500.
First-round action begins with four games Thursday matching the Illini against the Gophers; the Wolverines against the Nittany Lions; the Boilermakers against the Cornhuskers; and the Hawkeyes against the Wildcats.
Thursday's winners then advance to take on the Hoosiers, Buckeyes, Spartans and Badgers in Friday's quarterfinals.
Friday's winners then meet in Saturday's semifinals, and the Big Ten tournament championship game will be played Sunday afternoon (3:30 pm ET, CBS).
Last year top-seeded Michigan State beat Ohio State to win its first Big Ten tournament title in 11 seasons. Watch for Big Ten odds at SBNation.