Tipping off last night in Indianapolis at Bankers Life Fieldhouse? Why, it’s the Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament! Sorry we’re a little behind here.
Here’s your brief overview of what’s at stake:
Big Ten Women’s Basketball Bracketology
All rankings here courtesy of Kind of...but not really taking the time to look up the current ESPN bracketology for NCAAW:
Maryland Terrapins (21-2, NET 5): 2, River Walk Region (Texas A&M as #1), vs. High Point
Indiana Hoosiers (18-4, NET 9): 3, Mercado Region (UConn/Baylor), vs. Wright State [NET 9]
Michigan Wolverines (14-4, NET 18): 5, River Walk Region (Texas A&M/Maryland), vs. Bucknell
Rutgers Scarlet Knights (14-3, NET 11): 5, Hemisfair Region (South Carolina/N.C. State), vs. Stephen F. Austin
Northwestern Wildcats (13-7, NET 32): 7, Alamo Region (Stanford/Louisville), vs. Washington State
Iowa Hawkeyes (15-8, NET 26): 7, Hemisfair Region (South Carolina/N.C. State), vs. South Dakota [NET 26]
Michigan State Spartans (13-7, NET 41): 10, Mercado Region (UConn/Baylor), Virginia Tech [NET 41]
I do not know enough about the Nebraska Cornhuskers (11-11, NET 77) to tell you if a couple wins in the conference tourney would get them there. It’s looking like no.
Big Ten Tournament Preview
As usual, it’s looking like everything is Maryland’s to lose again—this is their sixth #1 seed in seven years, and they’ve been filling it up to the point that Five Thirty-Eight has taken notice.
Beneath them, though, you have the Indiana Hoosiers renaissance, with the Hoosier women led by a talented trio anchored in the middle by sophomore Mackenzie Holmes. The Hoosiers dropped their only meeting with Maryland and took a loss from tough but postseason-ineligible Ohio State (hence why there are only 13 teams in this bracket).
After that we get a pair of undertested but no-joke squads rounding out the double-byes—Rutgers (9-3) and Michigan (9-4) easily distanced themselves from Northwestern and Iowa as the #3 and #4 seed. Knights senior guard Arella Guirantes has size to get into the lane and find her shot, with guard Diamond Johnson a threat on the kick-out from deep.
As for #5 seed Northwestern? Well...uh...the ‘Cats can defend. We’ll give them that. Joe McKeown’s “Blizzard” defense—so named for the Dairy Queen treat his players at George Washington would get after a good performance—is a junk matchup zone that relies on complicated switching and disruptions to passing lanes. It’s pretty wild—give it a watch. But if star guard Lindsey Pulliam isn’t getting her shots to fall? Northwestern’s in trouble on offense—turnovers and missed shots have plagued NU. Check out NU legacy Veronica Burton, though, both nabbing steals and dishing out assists like no one’s business.
For the 6-seed Iowa Hawkeyes, you’ll want to give a good, long at Caitlin Clark. The Big Ten Freshman of the Year—and I assume she’s got other accolades Iowa fans will be along to tell you about—nabbed what felt like every other player of the week award throughout the season, dropping 27.4 ppg and showing no fear either on the drive or when taking a three from the toothbird logo. She’s joined by the presence of Monika Czinano on the inside—shut down one of those two and you can probably take the Hawks...but good luck slowing down Clark.
It’s All-B1G guard Nia Clouden and a supporting cast for the 7-seed Michigan State Spartans, who are dominant on the glass (+3.2 rebounding margin each game) and force nearly 18 turnovers a contest, including 9 steals per game.
#8 Nebraska already handled #9 Minnesota today, so that’s enough thinking about the Gophers and the uneven tenure of Lindsay Whalen to date.
Here’s your full schedule! You can see the Open Threads posted daily for live conversation about the tournament.
- wisconsin def. Illinois [ed. note: aged well, dumbass]
- Nebraska def. Minnesota
- Northwestern def. wisconsin
- Michigan State def. Penn State
- Iowa def. Purdue
- Maryland def. Nebraska
- Northwestern def. Michigan (no way the Wolverines beat the ‘Cats three times in a season, riiiiiiight?)
- Indiana def. Michigan State
- Rutgers def. Iowa
- Maryland def. Northwestern
- Indiana def. Rutgers
- Maryland def. Indiana
Looks like the Terps are good for something in the Big Ten, after all.
Who wins the Big Ten WBB Tournament?
This poll is closed
Literally anyone else