While the regular season championship is probably worth more as far as deciding who is the best team in the conference, the Big Ten Tournament decides who gets an auto-bid and really crowns the champion in the eyes of the rest of the country. Sure, Liberty proved that winning a conference tournament from the last seed possible can be done, the B1G proves to be more difficult. (Sidenote, if you haven't entered the OTE BTT Pick Em, do so here. Also, tell all your friends) Here's a rundown of today's action:
11:00 AM Central Minnesota vs. Illinois BTN
You always gotta love the middle seeds. This, on paper, looks to be one of the closest matchups of day 1. These two teams split there season series, and since you rarely know which team shows up of either of these, it should be exciting. If either team gets any form of hot streak from beyond the arc, that should do enough to win.
25 Minutes After Game 1 Michigan vs. Penn State BTN
Yes, Penn State beat Michigan. No, Penn State will likely not beat Michigan today. Call it revenge, call it talent, call it whatever you want. This game should get put out of reach by a Michigan team that is still shellshocked by what exactly happened in Ann Arbor last Sunday. Also, I fully expect Trey Burke to go full Trey Burke in this tournament because that is exactly what PoY candidates should do.
5:30 PM Central Nebraska vs. Purdue ESPN2
The optimist in me is hoping for a Nebraska win because why not? However, Purdue has Nebraska figured out. While the last game was without Brandon Ubel for the Huskers, there really is no accounting for how quickly Purdue can get a lead on a team that is slow and plodding like Nebrasketball. With that said, I do not buy the hype of Purdue pulling off a darkhorse run. They just don't have the team for it yet. Give them time, though.
25 Minutes After Game 3 Iowa vs. Northwestern ESPN2
Iowa is a team fighting for an outside chance at the NCAA Tournament and with a miniature run, their resume would be extremely compelling. Northwestern is a team that would kindly ask that this season die a fiery death. While this is in Northwestern's backyard, all of us realize that this is no help to the Wildcats. Iowa will win this game and Northwestern fans will officially go on Carmody watch. Fun stuff.
So there you have it people. The Day 1 Action. I guess for all intent and purpose, feel free to discuss the day's happenings here. If it gets too crowded, we'll open up another thread. Enjoy this tournament! Should be one for the ages. Here are the links:
- The Champaign Room previews the Illini's chances in Chicago.
- The Crimson Quarry hopes that this year the Hoosiers reverse their BTT (mis)fortunes.
- BHGP looks at the possibility that Iowa could make the NCAA Tournament. (Also at BHGP, donate to a good cause if you can)
- MnB asks Wolverine fans to savor this season before going any further. This was a longer piece, but I really did enjoy it.
- Can the Gopher's make a run in the tournament? TDG looks to answer that question.
- TOC has BTT Bracket Odds, which is fun.
- Corn Nation really would like the Huskers to go for broke in Chicago.
- SOP says Northwestern is going to win the BTT and there's nothing any of us can do about it.
- LGHL looks to answer the question about winning your conference tournament and having success in the NCAA Tournament.
- BSD and Penn State are definitely feeling more and more confident about their basketball team every day. While no one expects a Penn State win, you just never know what happens next.
- H&R has a look at the long road ahead for the Boilers this week in Chicago. It's hard out there for the low seeds.
- B5Q did some bracket picks for the BTT and came up with Indiana over Ohio State. That's probably the most popular pick going in.