There you have it, folks. Your 2015 Big Ten Tournament bracket, in all its resplendent glory. Some early thoughts:
Best Draw, Double-Byes:
How can it not go to Wisconsin? I don't want to play an angry Iowa team if I'm Purdue (who only narrowly escaped the Aaron White-less Hawkeyes in West Lafayette). Two of the larger tests this year from the lower dregs of the B1G have come from Northwestern (a narrow win at home) and Indiana (a loss in Bloomington) for the Terrapins. Michigan State escape Ohio State narrowly at home, and a fiesty Minnesota team playing for its life (NIT or otherwise) wouldn't surprise me to see pull off the upset.
Worst Draw, Double-Byes:
I maintain Maryland, but I think Purdue is the more logical choice here. The Boilers have still won 9 of their last 12, but a date with Iowa looms large, and Purdue's wins in those nine? Ranked Iowa, Indiana (lol) and OSU, then Northwestern, Rutgers (2x), Nebraska, unranked Indiana, and Illinois. While the initial resurgence was positive, the Black and Old Gold, holding at an 11-seed in both Palm and Lunardi's rankings, need that first-round win to avoid--gulp--Dayton. Oh, and a date with Wisconsin next just is never fun.
Best Draw, Single-Byes:
Iowa. I know I just got done saying mean things about Purdue and now it should be self-evident, but the athleticism of the Hawkeyes should give the Huskers or Nittany Lions fits, and you know Iowa wants revenge on Purdue. But then again, we all remember what happened last year, right? If not Iowa? I'm actually going to say Northwestern. The 'Cats stumbled into a 10-seed, somehow, get to face an Indiana team with whom they match up favorably, and avoid teams with the combination of length and athleticism who give them fits. Now that I say that, Northwestern will lose by 30 and I will cry.
Worst Draw, Single-Byes:
Michigan/Illinois. Obviously horse-faced centers are obvious.
Best Draw, No-Byes:
Based on their past result (no guarantee of future performance, obviously) and maddeningly ability to play to the tempo and level of their opponent, if Minnesota gets out shooting hot, the Gophers could give OSU a hard time after they get by Rutgers (assuming--sorry Knightbro buddies). They have a win against Sparty, moreover, which could make for a fun 11-seed Cinderella run. Dare to dream in Minneapolis.
Worst Draw, No-Byes:
Falling all the way to #12, the Nebraska Cornhuskers. A promising optimism for the season has turned into locker room-lockouts, frustration for Terran Petteway, and the end of the honeymoon with Tim Miles and Big Ten officials (he was T'd last night). Now facing a feisty Penn State team with Iowa looming in the second round, could the Huskers crumple and fold, dying to live another season?
|Wisconsin||2, MW||2, MW|
|Maryland||3, East||3, East|
|Iowa||6, South||7, East|
|Michigan State||7, South||7, West|
|Ohio State||8, South||8, West|
|Purdue||11, East||11, West|
|Indiana||11, play-in||11, play-in|
Talk about the BTT bracket and NCAA bracketology here! We'll the BTT pick'em (with yours truly as reigning champion) up later today or early tomorrow.