ICYMI, Part I
Let's get back to those questions!
3) We have had a lot of players put up some big games over the season. Who do you think puts together the best stretch run and lands tournament MVP?
MNWildcat: I think Stauskas will do enough in 3 games, even if Michigan doesn't win the tournament.
Green Akers: Well, if I'm sticking by my prediction of OSU winning the BTT, they'll probably need Ross to score about 100 points in 4 games to make it happen, so I'll go with him. For the record, I still think OSU's ultimate fate is a Sweet 16 exit like it usually is, but the BTT has been their best stage recently.
Candystripes for Breakfast: If he plays up for every game, and the Spartans make the final, Gary Harris should be the MVP. Otherwise, Delany will force that honor upon Aaron Craft, and the internet will explode from the sheer rage that ensues.
babaoreally: Aaron Craft, just for fun. If the Buckeyes make a long run, he will win the award whether he deserves it or not.
GoAUpher: Well, since I've already announced my bias for Michigan I'll stick with the obvious choice in Stauskas.
Aaron Yorke: LaQuinton Ross has been on a roll lately, and he should have a chip on his shoulder after being relegated to Honorable Mention in the Big Ten awards. The name of the game in Columbus is defense, but someone need to put the ball in the basket, and Ross is great at doing just that. He'll need to play very well if the Buckeyes are to go on the run that I think they will.
Jasper Scherer: If the Spartans do in fact win the tourney, it would have to be Adreian Payne. Michigan State will need him to come up big in order to advance past their tougher competition, and if he's up for the challenge, he'll certainly garner the MVP honors.
4) What teams have the most to gain from the BTT? Also, how many teams do you think make a postseason tournament? Also, #Nebrasketball: Catch the fever... (Note: not a question, but rather a philosophy).
Graham: Nebraska is in the NCAA Tourney...but a win wouldn't hurt their seed at all. Same with Minnesota.
MNWildcat: Minnesota. They're looking rather consensus-y as a Last Four Out kind of team. They need to re-throttle Penn State, and hope they can catch some lightning against Wisconsin. Everyone else, I feel, is really just playing to maybe move up one line with a run, but likely just needs to win anywhere from a game (Nebraska, to not have a play-in) or so to hold their line. Iowa could also gain a lot winning two, possibly moving onto a 7-line if they can get past MSU. This, of course, means I think 6 teams are going, with Minnesota as the bubbliest of bubble teams.
Green Akers: Michigan State. Izzo's said it himself; this team still needs more time with all its players back to figure out what the hell they're doing, and those last few precious grains before it's Win Or Baseball Season are spilling through the hourglass. God, do I not want it to be baseball season yet. In terms of determining where they go, any of the bottom half of the conference would have to win the BTT to get into the Big Dance. Barring that happening, we've got 6 NCAA bids, and probably 3, maybe 4 NIT bids if Penn State gets to the BTT final.
Bonus observation: Lunardi's latest bracket has Michigan playing Western Michigan in the first round, a 2 vs 15 matchup. I'm trying to contemplate the LOLs I would get out of it if Big Blue lost to Row The Boat U, and...I just can't even.
Candystripes for Breakfast: Teams with the most to gain: Everyone team from Iowa on down through the seeds. It's all a matter of how deep they go into the weekend. Conversely, there are only two teams with much to lose: Michigan and Wisconsin, because not winning the tournament knocks either of them out of a potential #1 seed. As far as who plays the postseason, barring miracle runs to the title, I see Michigan, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Nebrasketball, Ohio State, and Iowa in the NCAAs, Minnesota and Indiana in the NIT, and maybe Illinois in the CBI or CIT.
babaoreally: Nebraska and Minnesota have the most the gain. Six teams make the NCAAs, three in the NIT.
GoAUpher: Minnesota, without question. They're the team that are closest to being in the Dance and the BTT is crucial to them making the NCAA Tourney. If we're talking momentum with a fanbase or recruits I suppose you could also say Nebraska, as a BTT final or title would be a great feather in the cap for Miles and his program.
Aaron Yorke: Nebraska is great! They don't have much to gain, because they should already be a lock for the NCAA Tournament. So is Iowa, despite a late-season slump. The teams who are the most desperate are Indiana, Illinois, and Minnesota. All of those teams will be fighting to stay out of the NIT. I think six teams (the top six seeds in the tournament) qualify for the big dance.
Jasper Scherer: Nebraska is one of the clear choices here, especially when considering what a solid run in the BTT tournament would mean for the program. Some extra food for thought: The team with the most to lose would be Michigan; the No. 1 seed has won the tourney in five of the past seven years. As if that's not enough, with this year's unpredictable nature, the pressure on the top seed is definitely turned up a notch.
Jesse: Okay, real answers now. I think that the obvious choice here is Minnesota as they are as bubbly as a team can get, but I'm also going to point out the Wisconsin/Michigan issues with outside chance at a 1 seed. I mean, I doubt either do, but stranger things have happened and a dominating performance in the tournament could help. I see 6 B1G teams in the NCAA tournament with 3 NIT teams.
So there you have it! It's tournament time. Consider this the early games open thread. Normal rules apply. Be nice, no racist/homophobic/sexist/terrible comments, don't be too much of a jackass, no porn, no illegal threads. If things get too long, let someone know and we'll try to keep an eye on overflow threads.
Game 1: #8 Indiana vs. #9 Illinois, Noon (BTN)
Game 2: #5 Ohio State vs. #12 Purdue, 25 minutes after (BTN)
Game 3: #7 Minnesota vs. #10 Penn State, 6:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
Game 4: #6 Iowa vs. #11 Northwestern, 25 minutes after (ESPN2)
What OTE Readers Chose:
Enjoy, good luck, and thanks for choosing the games! -MNW