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Big Ten Bracketology: Pre-Big Ten Tournament Edition

Can Iowa sneak in? Is Illinois’ fate sealed? How high can Purdue or Minnesota climb?

NCAA Basketball: Purdue at Northwestern Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

Bracketology! We head to the bottom of the ninth with several of your favorite clubs anything but resting comfortably.

Illinois and Iowa step into the box for their last ups, with both needing to put at least two wins across the plate to force extras. Iowa’s got two pitchers they know they can hit, and while the Illini could get to the setup man, Aroldis Chapman is waiting in the bullpen.

What to make of Michigan State, meanwhile? It’s not a desperate situation in East Lansing, but the Eddie Guardado High Wire Act that Tom Izzo and Co. are pulling leaves little room for error. They’ve got to get out of the inning unscathed.

...yes, I did go to part of the Dairy Queen Classic at U.S. Bank Stadium last weekend, how can you tell?

As we move into the Big Ten Tournament, here’s where the experts have your favorite Big Ten teams in the NCAA Tournament and NIT scenarios:


Ratings/Bracketology (3/3) Jerry Palm (3/6) Joe Lunardi (3/6) SBNation (3/6)
Team KP Sag. RPI # Reg. Opponent # Reg. Opponent # Reg. Opponent
Purdue 13 11 20 4 S Akron 4 MW Akron 4 MW Bucknell
Minnesota 33 31 17 5 MW Nevada 6 S Syracuse 5 W UNC-Wilmington
wisconsin 22 19 40 6 MW Wake Forest/Kansas State 6 E Middle Tennessee State 7 S Wake Forest
Maryland 38 38 25 6 E Xavier 7 E Seton Hall 6 E Seton Hall
Michigan 25 27 49 9 MW Dayton 9 E Miami 8 S Wichita State
Northwestern 35 39 47 8 E Oklahoma State 9 W Virginia Tech 9 W Oklahoma State
Michigan St 50 42 48 10 MW Virginia Tech 10 S Creighton 9 E Miami
Illinois 68 67 57 - - First Out - - Third Out - - First Out
Iowa 65 63 71 - - - - - Fourth Out - - Third Out
Indiana 46 32 78
Ohio State 70 60 74
Nebraska 105 89 88
Penn State 82 77 93
rutger 129 120 167

  • This is an impressive high-wire act John Groce is pulling. I don't know how Illinoi managed to avoid falling into the shark tank, but there you have it. Still above Iowa in every projections.
  • I want to be more irritated that Michigan slots in above Northwestern, but I am still so disoriented as to why there are suddenly 64 teams in the NIT that I don't quite know what to do.
  • Boy, with a couple projected 10-seeds, things are starting to look dicey for Sparty. Do we think it's possible that (1) they lose to Nebrasketball or Penn State, and (2) that the bubble firms up just enough? I'd put it at about 10%.
  • I will be tempted to take whichever of Maryland, wisconsin, and Minnesota settles themselves into a 6-seed. I will also be very comfortable taking any of them to get bounced as a 5- or 6-seed. Go figure, right?
  • Purdue gets to the finals, they're a 4-seed. Win it, they're a three. Lose to Michigan or Illinois, I can see 5, and lose to the 4/5/12/13 team, they're sweating on Selection Sunday.


NIT Projections D-Ratings (3/5) NYC Buckets (3/5, 8p)
Team # Opponent # Opponent
Illinois 2 Colorado 1 Oakland
Iowa 3 Valparaiso 2 Valparaiso
Indiana 2 Boise State 4 Colorado State
Ohio State 3 Central Florida 4 TCU

  • Disappointing to see we've already lost our dream Indiana-Valpo matchup. Here's hoping it finds its way back into our hearts!
  • Oh man, if there's an 8-over-1 upset I'm taking, it's Oakland to beat Illinois.
  • There's nothing funny about this Ohio State team. It's just kind of there.

Do you see the Hawkeyes sneaking in? The Illini righting the ship? The Spartans crashing out? Let us know in the comments! We’ll attempt to update this as we move through the Big Ten Tournament.