The Big Ten Basketball weekend slate this weekend has a ton of implications for the conference tournament and regular season title odds. With the top bunch all finally playing each other, the top 4 should become more clear. Plus, we finally have not one, but two chaos teams! Hop on over here if you want to see what everyone is looking like for the Big Dance. Here is where the Big Ten stands for regular season conference title shots and double bye shots, then let’s get into it:
#16 Penn State at #18 Iowa || 12:00pm ET || BTN
We have our first chaos team! As you can see above, the end of this regular season has almost zero implications for Iowa winning the regular season title but they can drive the dagger right through the heart of Penn State’s chances this weekend. Both teams have legitimate double bye chances but Iowa can do the lord’s work and push Penn State right out of that discussion with a win this weekend. I will have my handy Fran angry face meter ready to reference while watching this one. I don’t think Iowa has anyone that can slow down Lamar Stevens but on the flip side I’m not sure that anyone on Penn State is going to effectively slow down Luka Garza either. Both teams are virtual locks for the NCAA tournament and a win here would bolster seeding discussions.
#24 Michigan State at #9 Maryland || 8:00pm ET || ESPN
Maryland hosts Michigan State and ESPN GameDay for the first time in 15 years or so. Maryland has already locked up the first double bye of the conference tournament and both teams have locked up NCAA Tournament bids. Maryland is trying to play their way onto the 1 line for both the NCAA Tournament and to stay there for the Big Ten Tournament. A win tomorrow locks up a share of regular season title for Maryland and would likely propel them to the top 2 seed/last 1 seed discussion.
For Michigan State? A win in this game is sorely needed. Not only would it help them with seeding in the tournament but they desperately need to win out if they want one of the double bye’s or a shot at getting a share of the regular season title. A loss here would put them on the outside looking in for a double bye unless chaos occurs in every game this weekend for the bunched up teams at 11-6 in conference play, a scenario I haven’t seen since Maryland joined the Big Ten.
The big matchups are the same as they were two weeks ago: Anthony Cowan vs. Cassius Winston and Jalen Smith vs. Xavier Tillman. Or, rather, who on either team is going to produce outside of those four players is the better question.
Indiana at Illinois || 2pm ET || BTN
This game is massive for both Indiana and Illinois. Illinois needs to keep winning to keep themselves in the Top 4 discussion as well as for NCAA seeding purposes. Indiana is officially out of the running for a double bye but need every win they can get to stay on the right side of the bubble. They need every win they can get and currently are not a consensus team in the bracket — left out of two that MNW is tracking and firmly on the bubble in a couple others.
#19 Michigan at #23 Ohio State || 4pm ET || CBS
Man, this game should be fun. Naturally, both teams hate each other but this is also an elimination game for the double bye. Both teams have outside shots at grabbing one but a loss today will eliminate them from contention. OSU will rely on Kaleb Wesson early and often while Michigan will look to get Isaiah Livers going and avenge the three point loss this season as well as somehow making Wisconsin look like an offensive juggernaut earlier in the week.
Northwestern at Nebraska || 4:15pm ET || BTN
Preview of the 13/14 game in the Big Ten Tournament right here. My guess is Northwestern pulls this one out, going off of nothing but a guess since both teams play other teams hard for a half and then seem to give up in the second. Someone has to win.
Minnesota at Wisconsin || 6:30pm ET || BTN
Rivalry game aside, this game has a lot going for both teams. Minnesota desperately needs to win to keep themselves in the discussion for the bubble while Wisconsin needs to keep winning to claim a double bye. A loss by Wisconsin right now would be disastrous for their chances at a double bye in the tournament.
Which team will have no bye in the Big Ten Tournament? Top two vote getters
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