Ahhhh, New York! Our town!
There are dozens of us here. Dozens.
Game 3: Maryland Terrapins  vs wisconsin badgers 
Maryland, 19-12 overall, 8-10 B1G, KenPom 45, RPI 64
wisconsin, 14-17 overall, 7-11 B1G, KenPom 80, RPI 122
Noon EST, BTN, MD -2
AKalysis, Maryland: A formerly promising season went off the rails when Justin Jackson played his last game in December due to a shoulder injury. Backcourt tandem Anthony Cowan Jr. and Kevin Huerter can match anyone in the conference, but the front line is super thin. The stat profile, however, suggests they could be a longshot at-large without winning the BTT - but would probably have to make the final to do it.
AKalysis, wisconsin: Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but this team’s season quickly went sideways after a rash of injuries. Kobe King and D’Mitrik Trice weren’t established as standouts when they went down, but without them wisky’s guard depth has been perilous. Ethan Happ has carried this team as far as he can, but without the support he had last year, that just hasn’t been very far. Fun fact: freshman combo guard Brad Davison has never played any sports other than basketball.
Beez: Made it! Fortunately, AK covered everything that needs covering, although it may help to add that Wisconsin’s offense, while terrible, actually rates out better than its defense. I’ve seen plenty of mediocre or bad Wisconsin offenses, but they always seemed paired with a still-good defense. This season has been decidedly not that. Actual Fun Fact: Happ led Wisconsin this year in points, rebounds, assists, blocks, and steals—the first B1G/B10 player to lead his team in all those categories since 1996.
AKprediction: Overall records notwithstanding, the more recent progress arrows would be up for wisco, down for Maryland. Let’s call it UW 65, UMD 58.
Beez-diction: In Monday’s potluck, I said Wisconsin will either (a) lose this game, or (b) make a semis run then get totally smoked. I have no faith in Wisconsin to give me one last burst of hope this year, so I’m going with (a). Maryland 62, Wisconsin 52.
Game 4: Iowa Hawkeyes  vs Michigan Wolverines 
Michigan, overall, 13-5 B1G, 16 KenPom, 23 RPI
Iowa, 14-18 overall, 5-14 B1G, KenPom 100, RPI 116
30 Minutes Following Game 3, BTN
Creighton: Ok so I predicted that Iowa would embarrass themselves yesterday, but Illinois managed to be a little extra-Illinoisey last night and well, the Hawkeyes didn’t lose (I’m not giving that game the dignity of calling it a win). My prediction for today? Double or nothing. Iowa loses by double digits.
I saw nothing in the Illinois game to give me any hope that Iowa could beat an above-average team. Michigan has already beaten the Hawks twice, and with relative ease. They know Iowa’s strengths (Bohannon shooting) and weaknesses (Bohannon dribbling) and I expect them to dismantle the Hawks quickly and efficiently. Good luck against Nebrasketball, Wolverines.
Hawkeyes: I’ll see you in October or November. Please spend the offseason trying to MacGyver together a new Peter Jok so we can be good again.
Iowa 69 (nice)
AKalysis, Michigan: It took some time to get the pieces meshed, but Michigan again has John Beilein’s system working smoothly. Mo Wagner and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman have taken the lead down the stretch, but this is a versatile team with a lot of guys who can hurt you. Depth up front is a concern, but name a team with capable frontcourt depth in this age of college hoops and you’ll be naming a title contender.
AKprediction: Hard to see Iowa, after playing an ahem physical game against Illinois, being able to dispatch a clicking and rested Michigan squad that had no problems handling them twice in the regular season. Meesh 83, Iowa 70
Game 5: Northwestern Wildcats  vs Penn State Nittany Lions 
Northwestern, overall, B1G, KenPom , RPI
Penn State, 19-2 overall, 9-9 B1G, 29 KenPom, 82 RPI
30 Minutes Following Game 4, BTN, PSU -5.5
MNW: Get me the fuck out of here. Please.
Northwestern stumbled down the stretch, losing their last 6 in conference play (with some siiiiiiick blown double-digit leads; maybe you’ve heard) to collapse to a 6-12 Big Ten record and a 10-seed. There’s no NIT, there’s no CBI, there’s just one more game and this nightmare is over. Penn State, with the length of Mike Watkins and Tony Carr, should dominate this game. Oh, and this:
Confirmed: Vic OUT for MSG but Bryant McIntosh (shoulder) says: I will play. https://t.co/i9W9SrXCwR— Teddy Greenstein (@TeddyGreenstein) February 27, 2018
So no Vic Law, and Chris Collins isn’t optimistic the ‘Cats will have Bryant McIntosh in what would likely be his last game as a Wildcat, after he left the game early against Iowa having re-aggravated his shoulder injury.
Play us out, Scottie Lindsey and Gavin Skelly. One last ride for the seniors.
Penn State by 20.
Aaron Yorke: Law’s absence should have a big impact, as he led the Wildcats with 18 points during their win over Penn State back on January 20. Penn State has not looked great without Watkins, closing out the regular season with three straight losses in games that it needed to make its NCAA Tournament case. However, Northwestern has dropped six straight since its upset of Michigan, including two losses to teams that played in Wednesday’s opening round.
The Nittany Lions are at their best when Tony Carr doesn’t have to do everything, so look for them to get Lamar Stevens the ball early. Stevens and Josh Reaves have helped pick up the slack on defense, as the former has five blocks and the latter has 10 steals over their last two games. I’ll say Penn State wins, 68-60.
AKprediction: If Penn State has Mike Watkins back, forget about it - they should win easily. Even without him I would favor the Nits, we’ll say 72-63.
Game 6: Rutgers Scarlet Knights  vs Indiana Hoosiers 
Rutgers, 14-18 overall, 4-15 B1G, KenPom 161, RPI 210
Indiana, 16-14 overall, 9-9 B1G, KenPom 73, RPI 111
30 Minutes Following Game 4, BTN
Game 2 winner team preview:
AKalysis, Indiana: The Archie Miller era in Bloomington got off to an inauspicious start with some embarrassing early-season losses. Like fellow league rookie Brad Underwood, he was handed a roster with severe size limitations. Still, this team wasn’t without firepower in Robert Johnson and Juwan Morgan, though their depth issues will likely end their conference tourney run well before the finals.
Candystripes: We play Rutgers tomorrow (I just learned from checking ESPN). It would be super sad if we lost that game, which we probably only have like a 35% likelihood of doing. I probably won’t be paying it any attention anyway. Hopefully Juwan Morgan doesn’t get hurt, because that would pretty much be the end of our season, regardless of how many games we might yet play.
AKprediction: None of the teams that played yesterday belong here. We may want to consider a cutoff line like we do in baseball as to who makes this tournament going forward. Indiana by 20.
Congregate in the gamethread below, no gamethreads, keep your profanity aimed at wisconsin, etc etc.