Wasn’t it the halfway point of conference play just yesterday? This month has flown by and the Big Ten Tournament will be here in just a couple weeks. The Michigan teams are dominating but Purdue is trying to sneak in there, while the rest of the conference is largely a mess.
Where are we now?
- Michigan State Spartans 23-5 (14-3) — Michigan State has largely controlled the conference for most of the season along with Michigan. Nick Ward is out with an arm fracture but that didn’t slow down Sparty as they rolled to a win in Ann Arbor this past weekend to lock up a double bye.
- Michigan Wolverines 24-4 (13-4) — Michigan sat atop the conference throughout the non-con but have taken four losses in conference play to put a chink in their armor. They’re still in control of their destiny for a double bye but they also are in the middle of the toughest stretch of their season.
- Purdue Boilermakers 20-7 (13-3) - Purdue has faced one of the easier conference schedules to date and it also looks easy to finish out regular season play. Carsen Edwards is in a funk lately and they’ll need to get him going before the tournament starts.
- Maryland Terrapins 21-7 (12-5) - With MSU’s win over Michigan, Maryland is officially eliminated from contention for the Big Ten regular season title. A double bye is still in play for Maryland and they control their own destiny if they win out.
- wisconsin Badgers 19-8 (11-6) - wisconsin has kept themselves around the Top 4 all conference play but teams sort of figured out Ethan Happ but that goes as far as keeping him to his average nightly. It would seem Happ’s free throw shooting is contagious after the loss to Indiana last night where the team missed 15 plus from the stripe.
- Iowa Hawkeyes 21-7 (10-7) - Iowa just lost a huge game to Ohio State that has all but eliminated them from double bye contention.
- Ohio State Buckeyes 17-10 (7-9) Boy did Ohio State fall off after starting the season well. They’ve managed to keep themselves in the middle of the pack but they’re struggling for their NCAA Tournament life. If Kaleb Wesson could stay out of foul trouble, they could be a force.
- Minnesota Golden Gophers 17-11 (7-10) I mean, that loss to rutger is likely the dagger through the heart of Minnesota’s NCAA chances barring a deep conference tournament run with wins over likely two of the Top six teams.
- Illinois Fighting Illini 10-17 (6-10) Illinois has been coming on as of late with a stellar February. Could they make some noise in the conference tournament?
- rutger Scarlet Knights 13-14 (6-11) Hey, you’re not a complete embarrassment this year! Progress!
- Nebraska Cornhuskers 15-13 (5-12) I don’t even know what happened here. Nebraska, after being ranked into January, is now going to be a Wednesday game in the conference tournament. No clue.
- Indiana Hoosiers 13-14 (4-12) Hey, you beat wisconsin for the 3rd time in the last 10+ years! Still fighting to avoid Wednesday, though.
- Penn State Nittany Lions 11-16 (5 -12) Just like Illinois, too little too late. Penn State started off conference play 0-11 before finally getting their first win. They play every game close and have finally started rattling off some wins. They could make an improbable run to Saturday the way they are currently playing.
- Northwestern Wildcats 12-15 (3-13) Yep.
- Michigan State has locked up a double bye. Purdue has essentially locked up a double bye barring playing like jNW for the next four games. Michigan has to play Maryland, Michigan State, and Nebraska to end the season. They should grab a double bye but this is not a gimme at all and they’ll need to finish at least 2-1 to grab it. Maryland, wisconsin, and Iowa are all battling for the last four seed while every other Big Ten team is eliminated from contention for it. Iowa essentially is but there is still technically a chance.
- My god, could someone outside of the Top 6 step up? No one, I mean no one, has locked up a single bye that isn’t in contention for the double bye. Teams 7-14 could all end up playing on Wednesday. Ohio State is likely in as a single bye but it’s not guaranteed.
Most likely outcome
I’ll keep this simple and go off of Kenpom projections to finish the season off unless something looks absolutely ridiculous. Remember: 1-4 double bye, 5-10 single bye, 11-14 no bye. 2019 game information can be found here.
- Michigan State — projected to win out
- Purdue — wins out, tiebreaker puts them in 2nd
- Maryland — projected to win out but the game against Michigan is a 50/50 game
- wisconsin — The loss last night to Indiana really hurt them. They still own the tiebreaker over Michigan but are now a game behind Maryland.
- Michigan — projected to go 1-2, placing them a game behind wisconsin
- Iowa — lost to OSU, projected to finish 1-2 to finish the season
- Ohio State — Big win against Iowa last night, projected to finish 1-2
- Illinois — projected to finish 8-12 in conference
- Minnesota — projected to finish 7-13 and lose out the rest of the season. A win over jNW doesn’t change their seed as they lose the tiebreaker to Illinois.
- Penn State — projected to finish 2-2 and tied with Nebraska in conference. They take the tiebreaker.
- Nebraska — Somehow stats project them beating Iowa to end the season.
- Rutgers — Kenpom thinks you lose out but Indiana is there for you to pick up a win.
- Indiana — I’m not fooled by last night’s win, that’s a large cliff you fell off of and there is no recovery plan for that.
- Northwestern — This should feel familiar.
I’m not really sold on Michigan falling to the five line. They’ll want revenge going to East Lansing after losing at home to MSU this past weekend and not only their BTT seeding will depend on it, their NCAA seeding will too. Kenpom projects Maryland to win against them but it’s a 50/50 game that is a one point victory. More realistically, Michigan ends up as the three seed after blowing its chances at locking up the top spot.
Games to watch out for
- 2/27: Illinois at Purdue: Purdue should win this game but the way that Edwards has played lately nothing is guaranteed, especially against an Illinois team that has looked much better in the second half of the season.
- 3/2: Michigan at Maryland: Needless to say, this is a huge game to decide the double byes. The game has been soldout for a week now so it should be loud in College Park.
- 3/7: wisconsin at Iowa: Iowa needs every single game at this point to keep its double bye hopes alive, bonus here that it would deal a death blow to wisconsin’s chances after they dropped a game to Indiana last night.
- 3/9: Michigan at Michigan State: Again, this will not only decide the double byes but also potentially the conference champion.
- If Minnesota wants a shot at the tourney, they absolutely cannot lose to jNW tomorrow and have to pull an upset against Purdue at home on March 5th or at Maryland on March 8th.
Which team will lock up the 4th double bye?
This poll is closed
Michigan falls off and drops out of the Top 4