The Big Ten has been the deepest league in college basketball this season. Four teams are currently ranked inside the top 10 of the polls. 2 teams are projected as one seeds, while 2 others are projected as two seeds. The weed Championship was handled controversy, as despite having a better record Illinois did not win the league regular-season title, while Michigan did based on win percentage. Ohio State and Iowa bring in two elite offenses, while Purdue continues to get better as the season goes along. Michigan State had risen from the dead to steal a bid. The most notable Tournament bid comes from Rutgers who clinched a Tournament bid this year for what should be a second straight year. All this is to say the Big Ten is awesome and if it’s anything like the regular season, the league Tournament should be fantastic.
12.Northwestern vs. 13.Minnesota
If you like uninspiring basketball, you will love this game. Northwestern has taken a step forward this year but they are still at least a year away from contending for a Tournament bid. Minnesota was great early on at the Barn, while Marcus Carr is a high-level scorer, but they fell off a 700-foot cliff late in the season. Give me Northwestern, I guess?
Prediction: Northwestern 73 Minnesota 68
11.Penn State vs. 14.Nebraska
Penn State wasn’t a bad basketball team in their first-year post-Chambers but they also didn’t win a lot of games. Nebraska was a bad basketball team that didn’t win a lot of games. The prediction favors the latter.
Prediction: Penn State 74 Nebraska 65
8.Maryland vs 9.Michigan State
Michigan State is red-hot coming into this game, winning 5 of their last 7 in order to secure an NCAA Tournament bid. Meanwhile, Maryland has put itself in a tough spot following back-to-back losses to Northwestern and Penn State, when all they had to do to clinch a bid was win one of those games. Aaron Henry and Aaron Wiggins are both great Junior wings that should make for a fun matchup. In the end, the month is March and you cannot bet against Tom Izzo in this month.
Prediction: Michigan State 72 Maryland 64
5.Ohio State vs. 12.Northwestern
These two have met twice previously, with each team winning a game, so this will break the series tie. Ohio State comes in as the better, more complete team. Duane Washington and EJ Liddell are elite scorers, while the Buckeyes have the depth to make a run in this league Tournament. Northwestern might make this close for a half but it will eventually get out of hand in favor of the Buckeyes.
Prediction: Ohio State 82 Northwestern 65
7.Rutgers vs. 10.Indiana
Rutgers is heading to the NCAA Tournament at long last, after not getting a bid last year due to Covid-19. The Scarlet Knights have been inconsistent throughout this year and a lot of their highs come off bringing energy. Meanwhile, Indiana feels like a basketball team that is ready to get their season over with. They have talent on the team but also they have no ability to shoot from the perimeter. The 7-10 game seems like it should be close but I don’t see that happening, give me Rutgers to win handily.
Prediction: Rutgers 74 Indiana 63
6.Wisconsin vs. 11.Penn State
Penn State is a good team but doesn’t do well to win games. Wisconsin is the worst good team imaginable, as despite still ranking high in a lot of analytical rankings, they are not playing well, to say the least. I guess I’ll go with Wisconsin to win a close one but I don’t think they’ll be a threat to do much else.
Prediction: Wisconsin 67 Penn State 63
1.Michigan vs. 9.Michigan State
The battle of the State of Michigan meets its third matchup of the season. Michigan won the Big Ten regular-season title by way of having the best win percentage in the league. Hunter Dickinson has been dominant inside, while Franz Wagner and Isaiah Livers make up a terrific shooting wing combo. Michigan State won the previous meeting but I think that’s a game that Michigan State wanted more, I’ll take Michigan to win a rematch.
Prediction: Michigan 74 Michigan State 66
4.Purdue vs. 5.Ohio State
This is an example of a game where two teams are going in different directions. Purdue is red-hot winning five straight games late in the season to move up in the standings. Ohio State is an elite offensive team that has the potential to outscore anyone. I’ll take Purdue in this game as they are playing very well, in part thanks to the emergence of their freshman class.
Prediction: Purdue 77 Ohio State 73
2.Illinois vs. 7.Rutgers
Illinois is the team with the best record in the Big Ten and they are coming into this Tournament angry. Ayo Dosumnu is the clutchest player in the sport because of his closing ability, while Kofi Cockburn is a monster inside. Add that to a great collection of guards and you have a legitimate Championship contender. Rutgers will be in the NCAA Tournament and is good enough to keep it interesting but I’ll take angry Illinois to win.
Prediction: Illinois 76 Rutgers 67
3.Iowa vs. 6.Wisconsin
Iowa is coming into this Big Ten Tournament quote banged up, Joe Wieskamp is questionable while Jack Nunge is out. That said, with National Player of the year front runner Luka Garza on the court and a good collection of guards alongside him, Iowa can score with the best of them. Wisconsin will look to get revenge for their most recent loss but at the end of the day, you can’t trust the Badgers. Give me Iowa in a relatively low-scoring affair.
Prediction: Iowa 73 Wisconsin 67
1.Michigan vs. 4.Purdue
This is a game between a red-hot Purdue team that has found their mojo and the Big Ten Champion Wolverines. The matchup will be between Trevion Williams and Hunter Dickinson, which will likely determine the outcome of this game. This will also be the first game were not having a healthy Eli Brooks could be an issue. Give me the Boilermakers in somewhat of an upset.
Prediction: Purdue 68 Michigan 63
2.Illinois vs 3.Iowa
This has been one of the more entertaining rivalries in the Big Ten as the debate between Ayo Dosumnu and Luka Garza for Player of the year is heating up, with this game being an opportunity for Ayo Dosumnu to somewhat catch up. Inside, Kofi vs Luka will be an elite-scoring big man duel. Expect this game to be high-scoring and entertaining. In the end, you can’t go against Illinois if the game is close, we’ve seen this story so many times.
Prediction: Illinois 84 Iowa 80
2.Illinois vs. 4.Purdue
This is a matchup between the two teams playing the best basketball in the league right now, expect this to be fun. Trevion Williams and Zach Edey should be able to take care of Kofi Cockburn inside, but the key for Purdue to have a chance will be stopping Ayo Dosumnu from having a big game. I think this game will be relatively close but I look for Ayo Dosumnu to have a signature moment in this game in route to an Illini victory.
Prediction: Illinois 75 Purdue 72