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Big Ten Basketball Bracketology Update

Who’s in?  Who’s out?  Who’s asking?

NCAA Basketball: Michigan State at Illinois
Lurking for a better seed
Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports

As we near the midpoint of the B1G Basketball Season, thoughts begin to turn to March and the joy that is March Madness. Selection Sunday is just a few weeks away and Bracketology ‘Experts’ are honing their craft and lobbing opinions at us like a kid lobbing mashed potatoes in a food fight. Given the conference’s lackluster non-conference performance, there’s plenty of debate as to how many B1G teams will get in. Well, let’s try to make some sense of all this racket and see where it gets us.


Purdue Boilermakers

Bracket Matrix Seed Projection: 1 | Range: 1-2 | Boilerman’s feel: 2 | RPI: 10

Purdue is certainly made its case thus far. Since that lovely near-disaster of a trip to the Bahamas which netted them two okay losses and a good win over Arizona, the Boilers have been on a roll. While I would love nothing more than to see Purdue with a 1 by their name come March, I’m just not feeling it at this point. If they get through their next stretch unscathed, then I’d put them on the top line but given how the committee has treated Purdue in the past, I’m going to drop them a seed line for now.

Michigan State Spartans

Bracket Matrix Seed Projection: 3 | Range: 1-6 | Boilerman’s feel: 3 | RPI: 29

Here’s where bracketology gets to be fun. Depending upon the method and/or feel, the projections don’t know what to do with Michigan State. Frankly, I’m not surprised. Part of the problem is Sparty’s recent run. They’ve not looked fantastic on the road. Last night against Illinois they had 25(!) turnovers but shot 68% and won by 13. They have some good neutral court wins which gives them a decent case at a low number.

Ohio State Buckeyes

Bracket Matrix Seed Projection: 4 | Range: 3-8 | Boilerman’s feel: 5 | RPI: 15

The Buckeyes have become quite the turnaround story this year. What Holtmann has done is nothing short of impressive. They’ve racked up some good wins. Their main problem right now is the lack of a signature road win. All of their road wins are against opponents with RPI’s above 100. I have a feeling this is hurting them in many projections and thus the large range. They’re definitely in at this point, the question becomes, where?

Side note: Yes, the definition of “good” has been tweaked by the committee into differing levels depending upon where the game was played. I’ve not applied any method to determine who has more “good” wins. Also, the committee has finally started to diminish the impact of the RPI, however, if you look at how they define the “level” of wins, you’ll find they’re still using…the RPI.

Michigan Wolverines

Bracket Matrix Seed Projection: 8 | Range: 4-10 | Boilerman’s feel: 7 | RPI: 39

Michigan has been fairly steady this season and they’re currently showing as a comfortable lock in the field (in 88 of 88 projections). The range again gets a bit crazy. They definite have two very good road wins in Texas and Michigan State. Where they start to get docked is that blowout at Nebraska and a very meh result against LSU. Definitely no issues with them getting into the field, but there’s not a ton of consensus on where they belong. There’s plenty of opportunity heading into the homestretch to get some more “good” wins including Thursday night at Purdue.

Gettin’ Sudsy (and not in a good way)

Maryland Terrapins

Bracket Matrix Seed Projection: Next 4 Out | Range: 9-NR | Boilerman’s feel: First 4 | RPI: 52

Oh, Maryland. You’re in a bit of trouble in two fronts. First, these projections were all made prior to your loss at Indiana. Second, a road record of 1-5 and your best two wins are an early season win over Butler and most recently…Minnesota. The next two of Sparty and Purdue are going to be their best chances at some “good” wins until Michigan comes calling in February.

Nebraska Cornhuskers

Bracket Matrix Seed Projection: Out | Range: 11 | Boilerman’s feel: Out | RPI: 64

Scrappy Nebraska gets a mention because exactly one projection has put them in the field. What really damns Nebraska is their schedule. Unless Maryland improves their profile, there’s simply no chances for Nebrasketball to pick up any good wins down the stretch. They’re best win was the 20-point home win over Michigan. There’s just nothing on their profile that’s going to move the needle at this point. They need to be flawless from here on out and pick up a couple of BTT wins on top of it.

So, you’re telling me, there’s a chance

Indiana Hoosiers

Bracket Matrix Seed Projection: Out | Range: NR | Boilerman’s feel: Out | RPI: 84

Indiana gets a mention. Why? Well, they have the most opportunity to improve in the second half of the season. They have plenty of blows against them including that lovely loss to IPFW. However, they also have a shot as they play Purdue, Michigan State, and Ohio State twice. If they can manage a couple of wins in there and keep anymore bad losses off the resume, they have a shot at getting in the conversation. I’m not saying it’s going to happen, but there’s a gleam. (That said, I hope they get blown the hell out by Purdue, because reasons.)