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Big Ten Bracketology: Each Team’s Case for a 1-Seed

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We look at the NIT, the NCAA Tournament bubble, and the conference championships on tap for tonight.

NCAA Basketball: Illinois at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Well, it’s that time again: with the Big Ten Tournament on the horizon and the Horizon League Tournament looming big tonight, we need another confusing round of Big Ten Bracketology.

And, thankfully, nothing happened this weekend that would throw something like, say, Michigan as a 1-seed into question!

The Case for a 1-Seed

In light of those upsets, REFS, and general shenanigans, I wanted to give our various Michigan, Illinois, and Iowa contributors the chance to make their case for why their team deserves a 1-seed in the NCAA Tournament. As of publishing, Illinois’s and Iowa’s representatives have responded:

Illinois Fighting Illini

He was a high school quarterback: Illinois basketball successfully navigated a gauntlet of ranked teams on the road the last week to earn a # 1 seed to the big dance. They started by going to the Kohl Center and pulling off the victory even though Greg Gard had unlocked the cheat code on D’mitrik Trice. He scored 19 points in the final three minutes including banking in a three pointer with a hand in his face, but it wasn’t enough as Illinois went a perfect 10/10 on free throws to seal the victory. Next up, they travelled to Ann Arbor and clowned the michigan wolverines. Walkon Zach Griffith scored as many points as Hanz and Franz Wagner in what was a historic beatdown of a # 2 ranked team on their homecourt.

Did I mention that they did all this without their surefire first team All American Ayo Dosunmu? I didn’t? Well, they did all that without Ayo, who had to sit out after being punched in the face in a totally clean play, according to spineless Kevin Warren, against the Michigan State Spartans, who seem to be taking their mascot’s inspiration to heart lately. Thanks for turning back the clock to the 1990s, Tom. Nebraska football has been hoping for that for a while now. Next up was OSU and with Ayo back, they went to Columbus and avenged an earlier loss to the Buckeyes.

Those three wins give Illinois the most road wins (9) of any P5 team in the nation, the most Quad1 wins (also 9) of any team in the nation, and demonstrated a resilience that they lacked earlier in the season. They are ranked # 4 in the NET rankings, # 3 in the both polls, ahead of michigan. It would be hard to justify placing a team who picks and chooses which games they play and recently was on the receiving end of an embarrassing beatdown ahead of Illinois. iowa and michigan, the other contenders from the B1G for a top spot, each have 6 road wins and 7 Quad1 wins. Six and seven are both less than nine. Even Bo Boroski could figure that out without going to the monitor.

Voters for both AP and the coaches poll both recognize that Illinois is a better team than michigan and iowa. Illinois beat iowa and michigan head to head, has three more road wins, and two more Quad1 wins. That’s pretty compelling reasons for Illinois to not only be a # 1 seed, but the top overall # 1 seed from the Big Ten.

Iowa Hawkeyes

Stewmonkey13: Honestly, it still feels weird for Iowa to be fairly safe in a 2 seed. But it appears like Iowa may be next up as a possible 1 seed, and that blows my mind. I guess the case is that Iowa has Luka Garza, the best player in the game. [ed. note: citation needed]

Iowa’s defense has also improved dramatically in the last 6ish weeks, around top 25 in that time, jumping up their season ranking from about 130 to about 60. I think Iowa might have to win the tourney to get there, though. And they definitely have to make the final game.

That’s going to be difficult considering the competition and how Wieskamp‘a injury turns out.

Big Ten Bracketology

Table’s arranged in order of Big Ten Tournament seeding.

  • I’ve seen enough from Michigan in the last week that they’re not the Big Ten’s #1 overall seed in my book—that would be the Illinois Fighting Illini, who should be the #1 seed in Region 3.
  • The bracketologists—at least Lunardi and Dobbertean—have at least corrected the wrong of having the Iowa Hawkeyes below Ohio State in the pecking order. Let’s check out the regions they’d face, just for giggles:
Palm’s seeding: OSU as the third 2-seed, Iowa as the fourth 2-seed
CBS Sports
Lunardi’s seeding: Iowa as the third 2-seed, Ohio State as the fourth 2-seed
ESPN

Of those, sign me up...probably for Arkansas, in the Palm estimation? The only difference in 3-seeds is Palm’s substitution of Houston for West Virginia, and I’d probably want to avoid both Villanova (the shooting ability could be rough on Iowa) and Texas (that fucking press) out of those seeds.

  • Purdue as a solid, well-deserved 4...it’s just a shame they’ll get shunted into the Gonzaga or Baylor bracket because of the two Big Ten 1-seeds occupying the spots where the best 4-seeds should go.
  • Why wouldn’t you rank Rutgers above wisconsin right now?
  • Yes, here is the gratification some Michigan State fans really apparently crave: The approval of some loudmouth on the internet with about 30 people clicking on his articles. They deserve to be in the NCAA Tournament. Now go sit in the corner and take a long, hard look at yourselves.
  • I honestly don’t consider Maryland to be NCAA Tournament-worthy. Maryland fans, if that assessment truly rankles you, go back up to the Michigan State bullet point, read it, and take a long walk off any one of your many short piers.
  • Preferably on the Eastern Shore. I hear it’s lovely over there.

Poll

Who should get a 1-seed from the Big Ten TODAY?

This poll is closed

  • 16%
    Illinois only
    (32 votes)
  • 68%
    Illinois and Michigan
    (136 votes)
  • 16%
    Illinois and Iowa
    (32 votes)
200 votes total Vote Now

NIT Bracketology

Thanks here, as always, to Joe Stunardi of The Barking Crow:

  • While there would have to be A LOT of upsets to make this happen, imagine the collective erection at ESPN if Michigan State missed the NCAA Tournament and drew 16th-seeded Duke in the first round of the NIT?
  • Come to think of it, this is where Maryland belongs anyway...maybe—out of principle for ESPN—bump Duke to an 8-seed, drop the Terps to a 9-seed, and see the Old Line State just collectively implode? Yeah, that’s the shit right there.
  • I can’t see Indiana wanting anything to do with the NIT—as a four-year-old joke will tell us, they’re above such things—in a year that Archie Miller is surely going to parachute to the Boston College job or something.
  • Speaking of, odds that Little Richard bounces Minnesota for New Mexico New Mexico or South Florida, as the rumors have it?

MNW’s Hot Bracketology Take #1

If Penn State had a winning overall record (they’re 10-13, 7-12 B1G), they’d be a First Four team with a Kenpom of 34, Sagarin of 42, and NET of 40. As such, they should absolutely take that NIT berth.

MNW’s Hot Bracketology Take #2

We’re playing Onlys and Justs here, of course: Find a way to avoid epically choking against both Indiana (blew 54-47 lead by not scoring over last 2:14 of regulation) and at Penn State (led by 4 with 4:24 to play, opted not to score for next 3:48), and Northwestern is in the NIT.


Bubble Watch and Conference Tournaments, March 8

Are you a nervous fan of a bubble team? Well, given what we learned above, you’re probably not a fan of a Big Ten team, then. [cough]loserofmichiganstatemarylandshouldbeinthefirstfour[/cough]

But if you’ve stumbled upon this place by accident or my otherworldly SEO abilities, (1) Big Tech is manipulating you, maaaaaan, and (2) here’s what to watch in the world of college hoops for Monday, March 8:

Upsets on the Horizon?

Horizon League Semifinals

Farmers Coliseum, Indianapolis, IN

[8] Milwaukee Panthers vs. [1] Cleveland State Vikings

5:30pm | ESPNU | Cleveland St. -3.5 | O/U 141.5

Are you a Northwestern fan who wants to see your future coach?

Are you a Minnesota fan who wants to see your future coach?

THERE’S SOMETHING IN THIS GAME FOR YOU!

[4] Northern Kentucky Norse vs. [3] Oakland Golden Grizzlies

8:30pm | ESPN2 | NKU -1.5 | O/U 148

All I can say is it should be fast and maybe fun.

Shootout in Sioux Falls

Summit League Semifinals

Sanford Pentagon Center, Sioux Falls, SD

[4] Oral Bob’s House of Learnin’ vs. [1] South Dakota State Jackrabbits

5:45pm | ESPN+ | SDSU -5 | O/U 162

[3] North Dakota State Bizon vs. [2] South Dakota Coyotes

8:45pm | ESPN+ | NDSU -3 | O/U 138

Bad teams, playing bad basketball...but at a rather quick pace?

If you want true rooting interests here, the ‘Yotes remain an esteemed member of the Never Made the Tournament Club. Thus: Go ‘Yotes.

Better Know a Future 14-Seed

Sun Belt Tournament Final

Pensacola Bay Center, Pensacola, FL

[E4] Appalachian St. Mountaineers vs. [E1] Georgia State Panthers

6pm | ESPN2 | GASt -7 | O/U 136

You sunk my battleship!

Better Know a Future 13-Seed

SoCon Tournament Final

Harrah’s Cherokee Center, Asheville, NC

[7] Mercer Bears vs. [1] UNC Greensboro Spartans

6pm | ESPN | UNCG -5 | O/U 136.5

If you’re a Purdue fan looking to talk yourself into a crippling first round loss, look no further! Here’s the game to watch.

“Just How Badly Will Gonzaga Beat Us?”

West Coast Conference Tournament Semifinals

Orleans Center, Las Vegas, NV

[4] Saint Mary’s Gaels vs. [1] Gonzaga Bulldogs

8pm | ESPN | Zaga -18 | O/U 141

[3] Pepperdine Waves vs. [2] BYU Cougars

11pm | ESPN2 | BYU -8.5 | O/U 147.5

The Gaels gave the Zags their second-closest shave of the year...a 14-point Gonzaga victory at Saint Mary’s. But if you’re a Rutgers fan wondering what a matchup with BYU would look like...stay up ‘til midnight ET and find out!


Here’s your bracketology, schedule, open thread, whatever else for Monday. I am off to accomplish the stuff for which I actually went to the office on Spring Break. Hooray.