Now that we’ve seen recaps and Big Ten Tournament seeding scenarios are on the way, it’s time to talk about the Big Kahuna: The NCAA Tournament. Two of our three preferred predictors—Jerry Palm of CBS and Chris Dobbertean of the Mothership—have updated theirs this morning, and Joe Lunardi is current as of last night.
Wins over consensus "IN" teams Michigan State and wisconsin have made bracket pundits take notice of the Fighting Illini and Hawkeyes...but do either of those make the dance?
|Ratings/Bracketology (3/3)||BM Avg.||Jerry Palm (3/3)||SBNation (3/3)||Joe Lunardi (3/2)|
|Michigan||27||27||48||8.93||9||E||Oklahoma State||8||S||Arkansas||9||MW||South Carolina|
|Michigan St||50||39||46||9.20||9||S||South Carolina||10||MW||Dayton||9||E||Miami|
|Northwestern||36||37||45||9.25||8||W||USC||8||MW||Virginia Tech||9||W||Virginia Tech|
|Illinois||66||64||55||11.20||11*||W||Wake Forest||12*||W||Rhode Island||-||-||Next Four Out|
- Could Purdue slip out of the Top 16 if they don’t win the Big Ten Tournament? I keep going back and forth. The conference is down enough that a loss of any kind might give bracket-makers the excuse to slide the Boilers into the 5-slot.
- Or...perhaps it’s Minnesota taking the top seed of the conference? The Gophers have already shown us they have the goods to beat the Boilermakers, and their strong inside play should propel them to the BTT semis if not the finals.
- A loss to Minnesota and an early exit from the BTT aren’t out of the cards for the badgers—while I’m not with Stew in thinking that they’d miss the Dance, both Palm and SBNation seem to think they’re not far from the wrong side of an 8-9 matchup.
- Speaking of 8-9 matchups, welcome to Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, and Northwestern! Could the Big Ten put a team in each one of those matchups? And if they did, which do you think would be most likely to pull off two straight wins?
- Illinois is listed IN in 41 of the 123 brackets tracked on Bracket Matrix. A win over rutger and one, maybe two wins in the Big Ten Tournament, and they’re dancing?
- Meanwhile, both Ohio State and Iowa have gotten mentions from bracketologists as "also considered" or on the "next four out" lines. Closing the season on wins versus Indiana and Penn State, respectively, could make a semifinals run in the BTT a ticket-puncher to Dayton.
- Penn State looks unlikely to get to .500 to make it to the NIT. Unless they really want to pay up for the privilege of playing in the CBI or the Vegas 16/8/sadness, I think this will be it for the Nittany Lions.
- With another loss, could Ohio State fall to the wrong side of a host bid in the NIT? I don’t see the Buckeyes’ attendance really being enough to attract the NIT, and a loss would allow the committee to slip them from a 2 to a 5.
- Indiana-Valpo as a 4-5 is a really intriguing local matchup. I like when the committee finds ways to do that, and the Crusaders potentially getting an upset at Assembly would be enjoyable.
- I can’t think of a much more deserving player than Peter Jok to get one final home send-off from the Carver-Hawkeye faithful. Perhaps Iowa gets a look at a 3-4 seed with a win over Penn State. Maybe a home date with someone like Colorado State or Texas A&M/Tech?
|NIT Projections||D-Ratings (3/2)||NYC Buckets (3/2)|
|Illinois||1||Arkansas State||In NCAA Tournament|
|Ohio State||2||Tennessee||2||New Mexico State|
Be sure to vote in the poll and let us know what you think of the bracketologists' seeding job. Could the Big Ten get 8-9 teams in the Dance? Does Penn State shell out for some postseason play for their youngsters? I don't think that'd be the worst idea.
Look forward to BTT scenarios, and thanks for reading OTE Bracketology!