Apologies for the lateness of bracketology and previews. This one’s my bad, y’all.
As we head into the homestretch of Big Ten play, it seems the Big Ten has five rather consensus-y teams and two (Michigan State and Northwestern) playing their ways off and onto the bubble, respectively.
|Ratings/Bracketology (2/28)||BM Avg.||Joe Lunardi (2/27)||Jerry Palm (2/28)||SBNation (2/28)|
|Purdue||12||11||20||4.21||4||W||East Tennessee State||4||MW||Monmouth||5||E||Syracuse/Vanderbilt|
|Michigan St||50||36||40||9.26||9||MW||Wichita State||9||E||Miami||9||E||Miami|
Per Bracket Matrix’s NIT Project, we’ve got:
Indiana: 3 seed, vs. Texas A&M
Illinois: 4 seed, vs. College of Charleston
Iowa: 7 seed, at Houston
Maryland (22-7, 10-6) at rutger (13-16, 2-14)
5:30pm || BTN || MD -6.5
This is a game that will happen. No one west of the Appalachians will care. Hell, no one east of US-13 will care, either.
Indiana (16-13, 6-10) at #16 Purdue (23-6, 12-4)
6pm || ESPN2 || Purdue -11.5
What a line.
I’m personally intrigued to watch the battle inside between Thomas Bryant and the various MonStars suiting up for Matt Painter, but Indiana will need to get good guard play to spoil it for Purdue at Mackey. Coach like your job depends on it, Tommy.
Ohio State (16-13, 6-10) at Penn State (14-15, 6-10)
7:30pm || BTN || PSU -1.5
With winnable games against Ohio State and @Iowa, Penn State could play its way onto the NIT bubble with a couple wins. Then again, Ohio State could do the same thing. Consider this an NIT elimination game, if you want. I don’t think OSU would go to the CBI, but I can’t say the same for the Nittany Lions’ crew of talented freshmen.
Michigan (19-10, 9-7) at Northwestern (20-9, 9-7)
6pm || BTN
The free-fallin’ ‘Cats need a win desperately. That’s about all I’ve got here. Michigan can shoot the ball and Moritz Wagner will test Northwestern’s inside presence on the offensive end of the court. Welsh-Ryan will be rocking to try and will the team past an epic choke-job and into the Dance.
Shame it’s not The Year.
Michigan State (18-11, 10-6) at Illinois (17-12, 7-9)
8pm || BTN
Has his team playing themselves firmly into the NIT saved Illinois’ John Groce from the ax? It doesn’t look good yet, but it’s anyone’s guess which Michigan State will show up Wednesday night.
Thump: Illinois played the best two consecutive games of the season. at a glance, they would appear to be hitting their stride. which is why i fully expect the spartans to come to champaign and run them out of the gym before the under-16.
I just don't know if i'm ever going to trust this team to win any game. If they beat MSU, rutgers is pretty much all that stands between them and an improbable tourney run. that just SCREAMS "down by ten before the first timeout".
Nebraska (12-16, 6-10) at Minnesota (22-7, 10-6)
6pm || ESPN
BigRedTwice: Nebraska has had a rough few games offensively, and Minnesota has been resurgent, so...yeah. There really is no reason why Minnesota shouldn't win this game (it's in Minnesota, to boot). Still, Nebraska has surprised several superior teams this season, so the Gophers best not get too comfortable.
As for me, I'd be happy to see the Huskers get back to keeping things close, an improvement in shooting, and, dare I dream, perhaps not allowing opponents to drain threes at will.
Iowa (16-13, 8-8) at #22 wisconsin (22-7, 11-5)
8pm || ESPN
I’ve got to give Fran McCaffery a ton of credit for having this team all but NIT-bound and looking for a winning record in the conference. The Hawkeyes have continued to ride Peter Jok, yes, but stellar play out of Tyler Cook and Jordan Bohannon has given Iowa the firepower to play teams inside and out.
Meanwhile, wisconsin is stumbling badly to the finish, in danger of sinking out of the Top 25, having lost 4 of its last 5. The badgers’ defense has eroded over that time, and Nigel Hayes has seen his draft stock plummet due to poor shooting, both from the field and at the line.
Stew: Iowa just blew the doors of Maryland on their own floor. Add in that wisconsin isn't playing their best right now, and Iowa is completely capable of making a game out of this at the clearance rack.
At the same time, the two times I conference play that Iowa was blown out was at Purdue and at jNW, though I don't think wisconsin is capable of blowing teams out right now. Also, fuck wisconsin.
Anyways, talk about ‘em here! Who finishes with a higher seed in the NCAA Tournament: Minnesota, or wisconsin? How will Northwestern choke this one away? How many Big Ten teams make the NIT, and do any opt for the CBI?