After a conference regular season when favorite after favorite went down, the Big Ten Tournament should be a blast. First, Michigan State and Purdue were co-favorites. Then it was Iowa. Then Maryland. Then eventual Big Ten regular season champion Indiana. Those five teams make up the top five seeds in the tournament, and they all have multiple wins over other teams in that group.
This should be good.
This year's tournament also has some potentially very exciting matchups. Indiana and Purdue, which played just once this season, could meet in the semifinals in the ultra-neutral site location of Indianapolis. Iowa-Purdue, Maryland-Michigan State, Indiana-Iowa, Wisconsin-Maryland and Wisconsin-Michigan State are all potential matchups by the semifinals.
There's also a lot of postseason intrigue in the tournament. Michigan might need to beat Northwestern in the first game on Thursday to make the NCAA Tournament, and the Wildcats have already taken the Wolverines to the wire in Ann Arbor this year. Northwestern might need a win against Michigan — and maybe one more — to make the NIT.
Every Big Ten team qualifies for the Big Ten Tournament, but now that the conference has expanded to 14 teams, it's a five-day event. The bottom four seeds play each other on Wednesday (No. 14 Rutgers vs. No. 11 Nebraska and No. 13 Minnesota vs. No. 12 Illinois). Those winners go on to face No. 6 Wisconsin and No. 5 Iowa, respectively, on Thursday. No. 8 Michigan plays No. 9 Northwestern, and No. 7 Ohio State plays No. 10 Penn State on Thursday, as well. No. 1 Indiana, No. 2 Michigan State, No. 3 Maryland and No. 4 Purdue get double byes.
2. Michigan State
7. Ohio State
10. Penn State
Schedule and Results (all times Eastern)
Wednesday, March 9 (First Round)
Game 1: No. 12 Illinois 85, No. 13 Minnesota 52
Game 2: No. 11 Nebraska 89, No. 14 Rutgers 33
Thursday, March 10 (Second Round)
Game 3: No. 8 Michigan 72, vs. No. 9 Northwestern 70
Game 4: No. 12 Illinois 68, No. 5 Iowa 66
Game 5: No. 7 Ohio State 79, No. 10 Penn State 75
Game 6: No. 11 Nebraska 70, No. 6 Wisconsin 58
Friday, March 11 (Quarterfinals)
Game 7: No. 8 Michigan 72, No. 1 Indiana 69
Game 8: No. 4 Purdue 89, No. 12 Illinois 58
Game 9: No. 2 Michigan State 81, No. 7 Ohio State 54
Game 10: No. 3 Maryland 97, No. 11 Nebraska 86
Saturday, March 12 (Semifinals)
Game 11: No. 4 Purdue 76, No. 8 Michigan 59
Game 12: No. 2 Michigan State 64, No. 3 Maryland 61
Sunday, March 13 (Championship)
Game 13: No. 2 Michigan State vs. No. 4 Purdue (3 p.m., CBS)
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March Madness: Wiscon's 2nd Round buzzer beater
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