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Big Ten Bracketology and BTT Projections, February 15

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A potential Rutgers first-round game where the first to 50 wins? YES PLEASE.

NCAA Basketball: Northwestern at Rutgers Catalina Fragoso-USA TODAY Sports

Basketball is dumb and depressing and I hate it.

Michigan Make-Up Games

With it likely that Michigan won’t be able to make up all their games in time for the Big Ten Tournament—never mind the grueling pace Nebraska is currently playing and the fact that this is all a mistake, whatever, it’s fine—the Wolverines’ lead will be tested down the stretch as every game takes on additional meaning.

As of today, here’s Michigan’s run-in:

  • 2/18: vs. Rutgers (8pm, FS1)
  • 2/21: at Ohio State (12pm, CBS)
  • 2/27: at Indiana (11am, FOX)
  • 3/4: vs. Iowa (TBD, ESPN family)
  • 3/7: at Michigan State (TBD, CBS)

I’m not sure how Nebraska plays this kind of a schedule:

  • 2/6: at Michigan State (L, 66-56)
  • 2/8: at Minnesota (L, 79-61)
  • 2/10: vs. wisconsin (L, 61-48)
  • 2/12: vs. Illinois (L, 77-72, OT)
  • 2/14: at Penn State (W, 62-61)
  • 2/17: at Maryland
  • 2/20: vs. Purdue

and Michigan just plays five games with no less than two days off in between any two contests—including a whole week between Ohio State and Indiana—but hey, it feels tacky to complain at this point.

Big Ten Tournament Projected Standings

With that funky scheduling and the likelihood that not every Big Ten team will finish the season with 20 games, it’s looking like win percentage will decide the conference seeding. (Or maybe I made that up, though I swore I read it somewhere.)

Here’s how that looks:

Since I last updated this, Iowa and Purdue have swapped spots, somehow, with Penn State rightly falling to Wednesday’s games after losing to Nebraska. Regardless of where they land, Maryland will need to win through to Friday and likely Saturday to make the NCAA Tournament, so maybe not Illinois in the quarterfinals, Terps.

Big Ten Bracketology

Of course, rumor has it some of those lucky teams get to go on and play in what I believe is called “bonus basketball” or something.

Most Iowa fans know the “bonus” as something other teams are TOTALLY ALWAYS IN BEFORE THEY ARE AND PAUL MULCAHY’S FACE LIGHTLY SCRATCHED LUKA GARZA’S ELBOW, REF, WHERE’S THE WHISTLE, but the rest of us just kind of cry and move on.

B1G Thoughts

  • Somehow, thanks to losses by Villanova, Michigan emerged on a higher seed line than they’d been. The only winning move, indeed...
  • But welcome to the 1-line, Ohio State! With the seeds beneath them running Villanova (2), Virginia (3), Texas Tech (4), and Clemson (5), that’s a defense-packed run to the Final Four, if OSU can get enough offense to make it.
  • I don’t know how Illinois has so quietly made its way to the top of the 2-seeds in Bracket Matrix, but here we are. Palm and the USA Today have them, though, more conservatively placed in #2 overall Baylor’s region.
  • Honestly, a 3-seed still feels high for Iowa Hawkeyes, but what do I know.
  • Perhaps the only team I trust to out-white wisconsin is a First Four Utah State club. Gimme Brock Miller nailing a three in Brad Davison’s face and then applying sunscreen at the under-4 timeout.
  • Purdue is a little tougher to nail down, ranging from “tricky mid-major” in Belmont Bruins to “scuffling P6” in Oregon Ducks. And yet they are doing this shit with freshmen. I hate everything.
  • Speaking of, they’re not in here but Northwestern is still 72nd in Kenpom, with the toughest (seriously, #1!) strength of schedule in the nation and ranking 350th in “Luck”—which really just means holy fuck did they ever shit the bed against Indiana.
  • Whether it’s against Loyola-Chicago Ramblers (AdjD #1) or San Diego State Aztecs (AdjD #20), holy hell would that first-round Rutgers Scarlet Knights (AdjD #13) game be unwatchable. First to 50 wins.
  • I personally think both Minnesota and Indiana are great First Four teams—the Gophers because they are a home team only, and the Hoosiers because honest to goodness how do you follow up sweeping Iowa with nearly getting swept by Northwestern?
  • Gotta get that B1G record topside in a hurry, Maryland. I’d put 8-12 as “best case” and probably say you can’t finish worse than 9-11 in conference.
  • big ol’ LOL at Michigan State being “On Life Support” according to the USA Today’s bracketologists, though I guess...

Poll

How many Big Ten teams make the NCAA Tournament?

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    7. No Minnesota or Indiana, and fuhgeddabout Maryland.
    (12 votes)
  • 13%
    8. Minnesota makes it.
    (33 votes)
  • 8%
    8. Indiana makes it.
    (22 votes)
  • 36%
    9. Indiana and Minnesota, welcome to Dayton!
    (90 votes)
  • 22%
    10. Gophers and Hoosiers bolster their resume, Terps sneak a few wins.
    (54 votes)
  • 5%
    11. ZOMBIE IZZO WANT BRAAAAAAAINS
    (14 votes)
  • 8%
    12. Northwestern wins the Big Ten Tournament, MNW is fired for tweeting a picture of his balls off the official OTE account.
    (20 votes)
245 votes total Vote Now

There’s Another Tournament!

  • No NIT updates, yet, but friend Joe Stunardi has given you a rundown of all the weekend’s action and its effects on the NIT. Hint: Good for Penn State, plus some Drake Bulldogs Loyola-Chicago Ramblers thoughts.

On a related note, I’m rooting for the CBI or CIT (really, you can pick which) to be hosted in Greater Sioux Falls. Here are your venues:

  • Sioux Falls: Sanford Pentagon
  • Sioux Falls: Sanford PREMIER Center
  • Brookings: Frost Arena (South Dakota State)
  • Vermillion: Sanford Coyote Sports Center
  • Vermillion: DAKOTADOME
  • Mitchell: CORN PALACE

That’s a 32-team tournament, easy. Since the NIT abrogated its duty to the Midwest in favor of some “historical” bullshit in New York City or whatever, it’s on the CBI and/or CIT to right this wrong.


Sports on Today

Maybe some Big Ten recaps or previews at some point, but probably not. This season has me pretty broken and it’s -15 here and I just want to drink bourbon and sleep.

College Basketball

Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks at New Orleans Privateers

1pm | Showcase | SFA -10.5 | O/U 152

Murray State Racers at SIU Edwardsville Cougars

4pm | ESPN+ | Murray -11.5 | O/U 138

Hampton Pirates at Longwood Lancers

5pm | ESPN+ | Longwood -4 | O/U 138.5

USC Upstate Spartans at Presbyterian Blue Hose

5pm | ESPN+ | USCU -1 | O/U 134

#9 Virginia Cavaliers at #17 Florida State Seminoles

6pm | ESPN | FSU -1.5 | O/U 128

East Tennessee State Buccaneers at Chattanooga Mocs

6pm | ESPN+ | UTC -1.5 | O/U 132.5

Eastern Kentucky Colonels at Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles

6pm | ESPN+ | EKU -7.5 | O/U 151.5

Washington Huskies at Washington State Cougars

7pm | Pac-12 | Wazzu -7.5 | O/U 142.5

Big Ten Hockey

Arizona State Sun Devils at Michigan State [4pm, BTN+]

Soccer

{EPL} West Ham United vs. Sheffield United [12pm, NBCSN]
{Bundesliga} Bayern Munich vs. Arminia Bielefeld [1:30pm, ESPN+]
{Serie A} Hellas Verona vs. Parma [1:45pm, ESPN+]
{EPL} Chelsea vs. Newcastle United [2pm, NBCSN]
{La Liga} Cadiz vs. Atletico Madrid [2pm, beIN]
{Liga MX} Pachuca vs. Atlas [9pm, TUDN]


Here’s a thread for whatever random shit you come up with.